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Travel Card or Cash - What’s Better When Travelling Abroad?

Organised your flights and accommodation but still unsure what to do about your much-needed spending money? We’ve outlined the pros and cons of travelling with a travel card or cash to help you decide when heading off on your next overseas trip.

The Best Way to Take Money Overseas

With the number of Australian residents travelling abroad at its highest level yet*, there are many of us who will have to decide the best way to take money overseas. If you have a trip coming up, and like the 9.9 million* Australians last year, have to make a choice, read through our pros and cons of taking a travel card vs cash along with you.

Travel Cards


  1. Planning a backpacking trip around Europe? Unlike standard credit cards, travel cards can be loaded with multiple currencies – making them particularly useful if travelling to different destinations in one trip (our Travelex Money Card allows you to load up to 10 currencies at a time!)
  2. You won’t have to worry about carrying all your cash with you, or having it stolen. If your travel card is lost or stolen, 24/7 assistance is provided to ensure your card is replaced quickly, and you have access to emergency funds.
  3. If you choose to take a Travel Money card instead of your bank cards (and your wallet ends up getting lost or stolen overseas), at least you won’t have the hassle of applying for new bank cards when you get home.
  4. Many travel cards can be ordered online – making it easier to organise your travel money at any time of the day or night.
  5. It’s easier to keep track of your spending with the ability to view your travel card balance and transactions online or via text message.
  6. A travel card allows you take advantage of a great exchange rate at any time, and protects you against rate fluctuations - making it easier for you to budget for your trip knowing exactly how much foreign currency you have to spend.


  1. There are fees involved in getting a travel card (although these can often be less than using a credit or debit card overseas, so make sure you look into all fees before making a decision).
  2. It may not be the best option if you need additional funds in a hurry as it can take a few days for new funds to appear on your card if you’ve had to top it up.
  3. Not all overseas businesses will take travel cards – if you are wanting to buy that fresh pineapple on the beach in Bali or Thailand you’re going to need some cash!



  1. Cash is the universal form of currency; accepted worldwide by almost everyone abroad (depending on the type of currency). During your travels you may come across businesses that don’t offer card facilities and you may have to go elsewhere or miss out on a much-wanted purchase. This makes cash the preferred method of payment for places like local markets, street vendors, and when giving tips.
  2. You can also order currency online and pick it up when you’re ready! This allows you buy foreign currency straight from your computer or mobile device. With Travelex you can even collect your ordered currency at thousands of pick up locations.
  3. If you buy your foreign cash online from Travelex, we even have a Home Delivery service which is currently not available for purchases on our Travelex Money Card. This means you can order and receive your currency without having to leave the comfort of your own home!
  4. There are no additional fees with cash, making it a cost-effective way to take money abroad.


  1. Carrying around a large amount of cash when travelling is generally unsafe; and can cause you unnecessary stress if there is nowhere safe to store it.
  2. If you do happen to be a victim of cash theft while overseas, unlike a travel card, your money may not be fully protected. While some insurance providers offer insurance on theft of cash, there is often a limit to how much cash they will reimburse you – not to mention the excess you may have to pay on your claim.
  3. With cash it’s harder to keep track of your spending and how much money you have left, making it more difficult to budget correctly or know whether you need additional funds.

*Source: Tourism Research Australia: Outbound Tourism Statistics and Australia Post: How Australia Travel (3.5 million Australian residents in 2002 – 9.9m in 2016)

Get Your Money Ready for Your Next Trip

Get Your Money Ready for Your Next Trip

With pros and cons for both options, why not take a travel card and cash overseas to give you the best of both worlds when travelling. Enjoy the benefits and peace of mind that come with a travel card, while still having some foreign currency to spend if needed!

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