What's the best way to carry your travel money?

Travel money used to involve changing currencies at your bank before you left home, or buying traveller's cheques. However, nowadays there are so many other options - with plastic often offering the best rates. Travel money cards have really taken off over the past five years, plus almost all credit and debit cards will work abroad.

So what is the best way to carry your travel money? Here we run down some of the main options.


In many destinations, cash is king. And if you're travelling off the beaten track, it's often the only way to go. For travel in multiple countries, it's handy to carry US dollars as you'll usually find that they're easiest to change. Even if you're travelling to a popular destination, it's usually a good idea to have a small stash of emergency cash and enough to get you from the airport to your hotel.

Traveller's cheques

Traveller's cheques are secure, but often very inconvenient. If they are lost or stolen, they're easy to cancel and replace. However, it can be difficult to find somewhere that will cash them - and tracking down a bank or hotel that will can eat into precious holiday time!

Debit and credit cards

Visa and Mastercards are almost universally accepted, and in most holiday destinations you'll have no problems fining an ATM or a retailer that accepts them. Bring one of each to be on the safe side. Before you go, remember to let your bank or card provider know that you will be abroad - otherwise they may put on security block on the card when they see the unusual activity. Also check out the fees and charges involved with international transactions.

Travel money cards

Travel money cards are one of the most convenient, and increasingly cost effective, ways of carrying your money abroad. You top the card up (which means that if the card is stolen, you won't have to worry about criminals accessing your bank details) and can withdraw from ATMs or make transactions with retailers. Many don't charge any fees for international transactions and offer competitive exchange rates. Look for Visa or Mastercard travel cards - they're more widely accepted.

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