How Should I Take My Travel Money Abroad?
If you’ve saved up enough money to travel with, the next thing to work out is how you’re going to spend it! There are a number of ways to carry your money abroad, whether it be cash or card, but each method has its positives and negatives.
Check out our advice on how to take your travel money abroad:
We recommend that you have a little of the local currency with you when you travel. However, some countries have regulations about carrying local currency in and out of the country, so please check each destination's rules before you travel. In many countries, it is also helpful to have a few US Dollars with you too. Be sure to keep your cash secure and hidden.
The easiest way to take your travel money abroad is with a debit card. However, this can be expensive. You should find out how much your bank charges to make overseas withdrawals through an ATM. Banks often charge 2% to use a cash machine abroad so it's worth looking around for banks which don't charge a fee. Remember to contact your bank before you leave to inform them of your travel plans. If you don't, your bank may block your credit or debit card as they may be concerned that your cards are being used fraudulently overseas.
Another way to take your travel money abroad is with a credit card. A credit card is handy to have in case of emergency or to pay for any large, unforeseen expenses like an urgent flight home. Sometimes it's necessary to have a credit card for things like hiring a car or making hotel/hostel reservations. To avoid paying high interest charges on your credit card, it's wise to set up a direct debit from your bank account before you leave the UK. This will ensure that you pay your balance in full each month so you avoid paying any interest.
Overseas Bank Account
If you are going to be in one country for a long time, or if you are planning to work while you are over there, you might consider setting up an overseas bank account to take your travel money abroad. This will avoid the international charges of using your UK bank account abroad. If you set up an overseas bank account, using a service such as Transferwise is a great and safe way to avoid hidden charges when transferring your hard-earned savings from your UK account to your international account.
Pre-paid Travel Card
One of the safest ways to take your travel money abroad is to get a pre-paid travel card. A prepaid travel card works by allowing you to buy an amount of foreign currency and using it as and when you need it, like a pay-as-you-go mobile phone. Find out more about pre-paid travel cards here.