Credit card or lightly loaded touring generally refer to a type of touring where the cyclist carries minimal gear on the bike. Usually the gear consists of some clothing and repair tools. At the end of each day the cyclist finds a motel or other lodging. Meals are consumed in restaurants, sub shops and deli's along the way.
Of course the name "credit card touring" comes from the implied use of credit cards to cover the lodging and meals.
Back in the Olden Days, touring cyclsts used to struggle along on overloaded bikes, schlepping tents, cookstoves, fuel, pots and pans, ground cloths, stinky sleeping bags, mosquito netting, spare clothing, toilet paper and a ton of other junk.
The overloaded bikes weighed a ton, and needed eensy-weensy chainrings and huge rear sprockets to enable them to crawl laboriously up even the smallest hill.
That was all before the greatest cycling invention ever: Credit Card Touring! The credit card tourist doesn't need to tote any of that junk!
Just bring along your trusty credit card, and buy whatever you need, whenever you want it! Now you can ride that cool Trek Madone you just got from El Camino Bike Shop, carrying nothing but the essentials!
At the end of a hard day in the saddle, you can stop at a luxury hotel to recharge your batteries. You'll also be able to recharge your iPhone & GPS. Try doing that on a wooded campsite!
Bring as little as possible. Here is the minimum:
On the Road: Bike / Helmet / Bike Shoes / 2 sets Bike Clothes
Off the Bike: Tshirt / Shorts / Flip flops / Jacket (works both on and off the bike)
Everything else: Credit Card
Plan: Ride, Eat, Drink, Sleep, Repeat