How to take money overseas

Read our guide to travelling with money – we’ll help you find the right balance between getting a good deal, keeping your cash safe and making life a little easier.

Travelling with your money

Not sure of the best way to make the most of your money overseas? This guide should help you make your mind up, so you can start thinking about all the fun things you’ll spend it on.

Travelling with cash

Even if you plan to use cards or travellers cheques, you’ll need some notes and coins while you’re away. Cash is essential for things like tipping, taxis, markets and smaller shops and restaurants that don’t accept cards.

You could get cash when you get there, but there’s always the chance you won’t see an ATM or currency exchange right away. That’s why we recommend you get it before you go. You won’t have to sort cash out when you should be starting your holiday, and you won’t be at the mercy of exchange rates and charges.

We advise ensuring that you have travel insurance to cover you if the worst happens and your cash is lost or stolen. But it’s also a good idea to combine cash with another way of taking your money overseas, such as our Cash Passport.

You can order your foreign currency from us – you’ll get our best rates when you do it online – and pick it up in store when you’re ready. We’ve got over 45 currencies to choose from, and you can order three to 21 days in advance.

Travelling with cash

Travelling with credit and debit cards

Using your credit and debit cards when you travel can be a convenient way to spend. However, many cards have fees associated with spending overseas so you could end up with unexpected charges for using your card overseas – whether you’re paying with it or withdrawing cash from an ATM.

Whilst it’s more secure than cash, it's worth bearing in mind that if your card was stolen fraudsters will be able to use it until you cancel it.

An alternative to credit and debit cards are prepaid currency cards. They have all of the convenience of using your debit and credit card but they are safer as they're not linked to your bank account.

Get your Multi-currency Cash Passport

Travelling with pre-paid cards

Pre-paid cards are safer than both cash and cards when you’re taking money overseas – and just as convenient. You can use them just like a debit or credit card – to pay directly in shops or restaurants or get cash out.

You won’t overspend or get into debt because your pre-paid card will only let you spend what you’ve loaded onto it. With Travelex, you can lock in the exchange rate when you buy or reload your card, so you won’t lose out if the rate takes a dip. Best of all, your travel money’s paid for before you’ve even started spending – perfect if you’re on a budget.

Travelling with Travellers Cheques

Travellers Cheques might not be as popular as they used to be, but they’re still a good way to take money overseas. They’re easy to use – just sign your Travellers Cheque in front of the person you’re paying. They’re safe – American Express Travellers Cheques can be replaced almost anywhere, usually within 24 hours. They’re accepted at thousands of places around the world – either as payment or in exchange for local currency. And they don’t expire – all you have to do is sign them so you're protected if they get lost or stolen.

On the other hand, exchange rates aren’t always as good for Travellers Cheques, you’ll pay a fee when you convert them into local currency, and they’re not as widely accepted as they once were.

You can buy American Express® Travellers Cheques at Travelex stores.

Find a Travelex store

Which option’s right for you?

It all comes down to personal choice, but we recommend a combination of cash and card – ideally a pre-paid one like the Travelex Multi-currency Cash Passport. That way you’re ready for anything – places where using a card isn’t an option, getting cash out when you need more, and paying by card. You won’t get hit with annoying card fees, your money’s protected if your card gets lost or stolen, and you’ve paid for your travel money before you even start spending it.

Order your currency now