Travel Money: What Are Your Options?


Anyone who’s been on a holiday abroad will have faced the all-familiar dilemma of how much money to exchange, where to find the best rate, where to keep it in your hand luggage and how much of it to leave in the hotel safe each day.

It’s always a good idea to take some travel money in the local currency, so you can pay for taxis, food and tips. However, this guide will show you some of the alternative options for paying whilst you’re abroad, so that you don’t have to be constantly worried about carrying large amounts of cash around with you.

  1. Using Your Cards Abroad

Many people decide to use their credit cards or debit cards abroad because they’re the simple option – they’re accepted all around the world and they’re more convenient than carrying cash.

However, you need to remember that you could get charged for using your card abroad. A fee will be added to any money you decide to withdraw from an ATM and some credit cards add a fee on anything you buy, as well as an interest charge.

Despite this, using a credit or debit card is still the most convenient way to pay abroad and importantly, you’ll also be protected against fraud. Take a look at this Money Saving Expert guide on how to find the best card to use abroad.

  1. Pre-Paid Cards

The premise of a pre-paid card is simple – you top up the card before you go on holiday and then use it when you need to! It’s a much safer alternative to carrying cash around as:

  • It isn’t linked to your bank account so you can only lose what’s on the card
  • You can pre-load the card with different currencies if you’re travelling across different countries
  • It’s perfect if you’re on a budget as you can’t spend more than what’s on the card
  • If you don’t spend all your money, you can use most pre-paid cards in the UK

Just make sure you’re careful with exchange rates as providers tend to use their own rates and take a percentage as an ‘exchange fee’.

  1. Virtual Payments

Those who travel for business can make safe and secure transactions using virtual payments. A unique, single-use credit card number is generated for a set number of purchases (with the ability to set spending limits) so that transactions can be made abroad without having to use personal credit cards.

They can be used in hundreds of countries, too – for example, virtual payments with AirPlus International are accepted by 32.6 million merchants in over 240 countries. It’s a simple and convenient way of managing the money that you spend abroad without carrying around cash or incurring personal credit card charges.

When planning your next trip abroad, make sure you protect your money and eliminate the stress of carrying cash around by choosing one of our alternative methods to spend your money abroad.