How to Organise Your Travel Money Before Travelling Overseas

Rates and Fees verified correct on October 26th, 2016

Apply these secret techniques to organise your travel money like a pro. money-travel-cards

Besides vaccinations and passport applications, before you go overseas you should also make sure you still have access to money while away. It is an exciting time and there is a lot to do such as arranging flights and accommodation. No matter how you intend to manage these types of necessities you will always need to access your money. Being in a foreign country without access to funds can be quite a harassing time, one you want to avoid at all costs.

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Different currencies can be a hurdle

You might well have done all your homework and are satisfied your credit card provider, or bank, has the facilities to do a lot of the hard work for you, as far as currency exchange is involved, but there are many little currency exchanges that take place between you as a traveller and the locals in any country you are passing through, that are not worth your while involving your bank or credit card provider with. For example, you may be visiting Europe, a group of modern societies. You might feel you will be safe in such a place as far as currency matters are concerned. This is not necessarily so as not all European countries use the Euro. The Euro will be useless to you in Croatia and Switzerland and although you will be able to buy things with the Euro in the Republic of Ireland, when you cross the border into Northern Ireland you'll need to do business with the British pound. Having a supply of US dollars can get you out of trouble in some jurisdictions, such as Vietnam, but generally if you want to simply buy a coffee, or a sandwich for lunch, you will need the local currency to be able to make a seamless exchange. Another thing to keep in mind is that credit cards are not always accepted or where they are, such as in China, a heavy levy can be imposed. The answer is to plan ahead and have some of the local currency in your possession whenever you cross a border.

The best way to protect yourself from being ripped off is to find out the exchange rate between the Australian currency and the country you are visiting at the time. Do a few simple sums and carry out a few mental conversions until you get the hang of it, at least until you have some idea of what is going on. There are many aids available online to help you here, even a pocket calculator. Once you master the different exchange rates you will find yourself in a position where you will better appreciate the value of another countries currency and the more protection you will give yourself against some cunning street hawker taking you down.

Travel money card comparison

Rates last updated October 26th, 2016
Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Reload Fee Initial Load Fee
Flight Centre Key to the World Currency Card
Flight Centre Key to the World Currency Card
AUD, USD, SGD, NZD, JPY, THB, GBP, EUR, HKD, CAD USD 2.50, EUR 2.50, GBP 2.00, NZD 3.50, THB 80.00, CAD 3.50, HKD 18.00, JPY 260.00, SGD 3.50, AUD 3.50 1.1% of the total amount $0 Go to site More
Travelex Travel Card
Travelex Travel Card
AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD Travelex does not charge an ATM withdrawal fee when you use your Travelex Multi-currency Cash Passport to withdraw currencies that are loaded on the card at overseas ATMs where MasterCard is accepted. The greater of 1.1% of the initial load / reload amount or AU$15.00 $0 Go to site More

Organising funds for your next trip? Don’t forget to ensure the right cover for your travel funds is in place with travel insurance

Finding the right travel insurance policy is an essential step for all travellers to take when preparing for their next journey. Now that you know how to prepare your finances before you head overseas, it is worth knowing what cover travel insurance provides to ensure that any monetary loss you suffer is covered.

Travel insurance features to protect your money while travelling

  • Credit card fraud and replacement cover: In the event that your credit card is lost or stolen while you are travelling, this option will cover the cost of replacing your card and funds that are lost through fraudulent acts
  • Theft of cash: Provides cover for theft of cash from your person, cash, currency notes, postal orders and money orders
  • Travellers cheques: Covers the cost for loss of travellers cheques and other important documents including passport and visa documents

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Accessing money while overseas

Accessing money as you travel is much easier today than it once was. There was a time when the first thing you would do would be to go to American Express and buy a heap of traveller’s cheques. Some countries even today will still only accept cash in their own currency. Before leaving you will need to find out which countries you will be visiting use credit cards and how widely spread is their ATM distribution. On top of all this there is always the cost involved when you exchange one currency for another. There are five ways you’ll be able to access money while away from Australia and it is advisable to always have at least two of these options available for you to fall back on when required. These five options are:

  1. Cash in the currency of the country you are visiting is always the most convenient way of paying your way around. You'll find you will be able to buy any country's cash currency before leaving Australia, although you might have to wait a day or two in some cases. Buy pre-buying cash at least you'll know how much you can spend and it will help you stay in budget but it can leave you vulnerable to being robbed. For this reason it is best to leave any cash at minimum amounts and choose another source for any major purchases such as airline flights or accommodation.
  2. Debit Cards let you use Your own Money. The biggest advantage with using your debit card while away is that you will always be using your own money and you can't get carried away and overspend. Debit cards will be widely accepted but only if they are linked to either Visa or Mastercard. When using your debit card in another currency you will have to make sure you are aware of the exchange rate or you could end up paying a lot more that you anticipate. Debit cards linked to Visa or Mastercard will give you the same access to money while you are away as do credit cards, the only difference being,  you will be using your own money.
  3. Credit cards have become the most common way of accessing money while overseas. This has come about because you don't have to spend any time making arrangements with your bank before leaving. Many of the top credit cards will also include travel insurance for you and your family, if any family members are travelling with you. Most  cards will charge you extra for making a cash advance so you may have to limit this as much as you can. You will also be charged interest on the amount you withdraw as soon as the transaction is made. You can avoid a lot of these extra charges by putting enough of your own money in the account before leaving so you never actually draw on credit. By doing this you will only use credit if an emergency arose. You will be also able to place money in your credit card account from anywhere in the world to keep the account in positive territory.
  4. Many travellers use travel cards because they lock in a certain country's exchange rate. When you load you travel card with your choice of currencies it will be done with the exchange rate of that particular day. This means you won't be subjected to fluctuations in the exchange rate as you travel around the world. Once your card is loaded with the currency, or currencies, of your choice you will be able to access the currency of the country you are in without having to worry about the exchange rate at that specific time. A travel card will work in the same ATM's as do your debit or credit cards. Travel cards also have the further protection in not being linked to any of your bank accounts. If they become lost or stolen all you stand to lose will be the amount of money you had previously loaded onto the card although this would be hard for a thief to unlock as it is PIN and chip protected. You are also issued with a back up card at the time of purchase.
  5. Traveller’s cheques are also a good way of carrying money overseas as far as security is concerned. Before you can cash in a traveller’s cheque anywhere in the world you will need to prove your identification. They will also be replaced if they are stolen, or you happen to lose them. You will still be subjected to the different countries exchange rates and there is a fee involved when you purchase them as well as when you are cashing them in.

Before leaving it is always a wise move to notify your bank of where you will be travelling and when. This will prevent any alert being activated and your account being temporarily suspended while the bank investigates the situation following your debit or credit card being used in a foreign country. If you have a smartphone, or taking a notebook with you, make sure you access your account regularly so that you keep on budget as you will find many temptations will await you that have the potential of throwing the best plans way out of kilter. Always keep your motor car licence in your wallet or purse as identification and whatever you do don't forget your PIN numbers.

If you generally keep your common sense about you and remain wary you will be assured of a good time and reduce the risk of returning home broke.

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