Something we get asked about a lot is how we access our money when travelling, both on shorter trips and when we were out of the country for 17 months. But before we get started, it’s important to state that our recommendations are purely for UK residents since that’s where we have our banking experience. We have no affiliation with any of the cards we mention here, we just really love them.

 

Long gone are the days of travellers cheques, and accessing your cash abroad is certainly much easier than it used to be. There are ATMs absolutely everywhere now so you very rarely have to worry about not being able to access your funds.

 

But there are still pitfalls… and if you’re not careful you can get stung by;

  • Terrible exchange rates
  • Overseas use charges
  • Interest on credit card usage

You have to pick and choose which cards to use wisely and the majority of standard debit and credit cards on the UK high street are not cut out for overseas use.

 

Take a look at the terms and conditions of most standard debit cards and you’ll see that overseas use can result in some nasty charges.

 

Great deals in the UK banking market aren’t as common as they used to be, but we’re pretty happy with our own simple banking strategy for travel and are keen to share it with you to prove that it shouldn’t cost the earth to access your own cash.

 

 

For Credit Transactions

Halifax Clarity

Halifax Logo

We’ve been using the Halifax Clarity card for travel since 2010 and it’s still our number 1 go-to.

It’s a MasterCard which has a great exchange rate and we’ve not had any issues with it being accepted in over 20 countries.

 

What we love:

  • No annual fees
  • No charges for international use
  • No interest charges provided you pay it off in full every month

 

What we don’t love:

  • It does charge for cash withdrawals, which led us to look for an alternative

 

 

For Cash Withdrawals

Barclaycard Platinum Travel

Barclaycard Logo

Until this year we had access to a specialist current account that didn’t charge for overseas transactions, but unfortunately the Building Society in question ceased trading it in August.

So our Barclaycard Platinum Travel card is a fairly recent acquisition.

It’s a Visa so the exchange rates aren’t quite as good as MasterCard, but it is great having both options in case one isn’t accepted somewhere.

 

What we love:

  • No annual fees
  • No charges for transactions or cash withdrawals in any overseas country until 31st August 2022
  • No interest charges provided you pay it off in full every month

 

What we don’t love:

  • Nothing yet!

 

The Barclaycard does charge for cash withdrawals in Pounds so never use it when at home.

*Note* You must pay off your card balance IN FULL every month to avoid interest charges. NEVER allow a balance to accumulate.

 

 

What About Cash?

Euros MasterCard

 

Carrying large amounts of cash around anywhere is just asking for trouble. So please think twice before exchanging a load of holiday money before you leave on your trip.

 

Having said that, our number one tip for emergency cashflow is to keep around $100-200 USD as an ‘oh crap’ fund.

 

Separate it amongst various areas in your luggage and hide it in safe places.

If you do happen to lose your wallet or have it stolen, then you know you’ve got a backup plan to see you through the first couple of days.

 

 

Tips for Smart Money Management Abroad

 

    • If you ever get asked if you’d like to pay in your own currency (this tends to happen in European countries) say no! It will always work out cheaper if you pay in the currency of whatever country you are in.

 

    • Have the emergency cancellation phone numbers for each of your cards saved somewhere safe so you can quickly and easily put a stop on any stolen/lost cards.

 

    • Make sure you tell the card companies about your travel plans. Ours both let you do this from online banking so I just add a trip in whenever we book it.

     

    • Divide up your cash and cards so you never carry everything in one place. Our policy has always been to take out whatever we need for that particular day.

 

 

How do you access your money when travelling? Any more tips for us?

 

Don’t forget to pin me!

Our top tips for getting the best exchange rates and safely managing your money when travelling.

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