Travel Money

Travel money next on your holiday check list? Oiyo has the info you need to get the most out of your money, including which cards to use and how to maximise your currency.

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Travel Money Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

Travel Money Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

Knowing your options

You’re jetting off on the holiday of a lifetime soon and you’ve been wondering what you’re going to do about travel money during your trip. You’re visiting multiple different countries and are going to need multiple currencies, but you don’t want to keep paying ATM fees every time you withdraw cash. It’s expensive and time-consuming! Not to mention, you have no idea where the closest ATM is going to be.

So, what do you do? How do you organise your travel money?

You’ve had travel money cards recommended to you, but what are they exactly and how do they work? Are they even worth it? If this situation sounds familiar to you and you’re looking to get as much information as possible about your travel money options, read on. Oiyo is here to give you the low down on everything travel money.

What is the best way to organise your travel money?

The best way to organise your travel money will all depend on how you like to organise your money in general. Some people like to take a certain amount of cash out and that’s their spending money for the week or in this case, the trip. For some, having the physical cash makes it easier to keep an eye on how much they’re spending and keeps them accountable in their money habits.

Other people are much fonder of just throwing everything on the card and dealing with the consequences later. This is undoubtedly more convenient in terms of not having to carry around and count physical cash, especially if you’re dealing with several different currencies during your travels, however, it can be remarkably easy to lose track of your spending or not realise when you’ve gone over budget. Not to mention the fact that many cards will charge you foreign transaction fees every time you make a purchase or withdraw money at an ATM if you’re in a foreign country. These fees, along with currency conversion fees can add up fast and really take a chunk out of your spending money.

But, what if we were to tell you that there’s a sweet spot when it comes to travel money and how best to organise it? A way to organise your currencies before-hand but not have to worry about the physical cash? This sweet spot is travel money cards!

What are travel money cards?

Travel money cards are debit cards designed specifically with the purpose of travel in mind. Usually, you can load multiple currencies on to one card so that you aren't having to pay exchange fees whenever you make a purchase.

A travel money card works just like a normal debit or credit card but you’ll pre-load a certain amount of each currency onto the card so that when you use the card in that destination, you’ll pay in the local currency and you’ll get to avoid the currency conversion fees that can add up. With some cool features like being able to use your card at an ATM, SMS alerts for low balances, being able to earn rewards points, and same-day reloading, travel money cards are a fantastic option for the smart and savvy traveller.

Where do I get a travel money card?

It’s not just your traditional lenders like banks that are offering travel money cards. With the market expanding and travellers’ cheques becoming all but obsolete, travel money cards are becoming more and more common. With this in mind, companies such as Australia Post, Qantas and Virgin Australia have come out with their own travel money cards as well.

Now that there are so many choices on the market, you have the option of shopping around for the right travel money card before committing.

What are some of the advantages of travel money cards?

You can lock in a great exchange rate

One of the best perks of a travel money card is the fact that you get to lock in a specific exchange rate when you load money onto your card. This is fantastic as it gives you the opportunity to lock in a favourable exchange rate before you travel so you get the most out of your money. It also means that you won’t be paying currency conversion fees every time you use your card. If you’re smart about when you load currency onto your travel card you can secure yourself a really great exchange rate and can really make your money go further, which is great for your upcoming trip.

Safer than physical cash

It’s undeniable that having your travel money on a card is definitely a safer way to travel and keep your cash safe. Walking around with a wad of cash in your hands tends to make you a target for the less than reputable members of society. Having most of your money on a card will ensure that it’s easier to keep safe and easy to freeze if your card does go missing.

 Just make sure that you are always vigilant about your wallet or bag when you’re travelling and be sure to keep some back-up cash somewhere else on your person or luggage, just in case.

You can withdraw cash from your card

If you’re overseas and you’ve found an amazing market or shop that doesn’t accept card payments, you can take some cash out at a local ATM, minus the foreign transaction and currency conversion fees! This gives you the freedom to have your money safe on a travel card, but be able to use cash whenever you want to as well. This gives you the flexibility to really have control over your money and know that you have the best of both worlds.

Things to think about when picking a card

Depending on what company you go to, every different travel money card provider is going to have different features to their cards. It’s important to shop around a bit and find the card that is right for you and has as many of the features that you’re looking for as possible.

Multiple currencies

If you’re planning on doing a fair bit of travelling and will be visiting a number of different countries on your trip, it will be worthwhile picking a card that lets you load up to a dozen currencies onto it so that you’re well prepared ahead of time.

ATM withdrawals

Make sure the card that you choose can be used at ATM’s with no withdrawal fee. Some cards will still charge a small fee, so if avoiding these charges is important to you, make sure you check this feature first.

Same-day reloading options

Sometimes we can go a little over budget in our spending. It’s easy to do. You’re in an exciting new country where you want to try the restaurants, café’s, attractions, not to mention all of the souvenirs you’ve been planning on picking up as well! You’ll want to make sure that any card that you do choose has same-day reloading available so that you can top up your travel money card and get back to enjoying your holiday, all with little to no fuss

No reloading fees

It’s also a good idea to double-check that your card doesn’t charge you a reloading fee. These fees can sometimes be substantial; as much as 1.1% of the total amount being added to your card, so it’s definitely a fee that you will want to avoid if at all possible.

Emergency funds access

If the worst were to happen and you lost your card or stolen somehow while travelling, a great feature to have is the “emergency fund access”. This feature allows you to transfer funds off the lost card back into your bank account so that you have access to your money and aren’t left high and dry.

This is why it’s also important to keep a spare backup debit or credit card available when you travel (somewhere different to your travel money card) so that you have access to some emergency money if you really need it.

Online mobile banking

This one is super important. Having access to the online features of your card while you’re travelling could save you so much time and worry. From handy features like being able to reload your card on the go to being able to track your spending while on holiday, to being able to freeze your card on the spot if something happens and it goes missing. This is probably one of the most important features you’ll want to make sure your travel money card has!

Reward points

We know that for some people, earning rewards points on their everyday spending is super important. And this is no different when it comes to their spending while on holiday. If this feature is important to you there are several cards that do offer a rewards program (Qantas and Virgin Australia). If you’re keen to earn some more frequent flyer points (who wouldn’t be?!) then these are great options for you.

Emergency card replacement

All travel money card providers offer replacement cards if yours does go missing. Just keep in mind that some providers offer this option for free, while others will charge a small fee for your replacement card.

These are just some of the features that are available on your travel money cards. Take some time to research and shop around to find the card that is the best fit for you and your travel plans.

Are travel money cards worth it?

If you’re looking for an alternative way to keep your money safe while you’re travelling, travel money cards may be worth it. They have a number of great features and benefits that your average debit or credit card don’t offer and are specifically designed with the traveller in mind. If you’re not comfortable with the prospect of carrying a bunch of cash around with you while you’re travelling and don’t want to spend a lot of money on foreign ATM or currency conversion fees, then travel money cards are worth the effort and time of attaining.

Looking at travel money cards?

Check out our top picks for 2020!

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The low down on your travel money options

You’ve got a few options available to you when it comes to your travel money and how you’re going to organise it. You can go the old fashioned route and carry cash around with you. While it is undeniably convenient as cash is accepted basically everywhere and it’s easy to keep account of your spending, you do run the risk of running out or having your money lost or stolen.

Credit or debit cards are a great option if you don’t mind paying ATM fees, foreign transaction fees or currency conversion fees every time you use your card overseas. This may not seem like a lot of money, however, these fees can add up fast and take a good chunk out of your holiday travel money.

Travel money cards are a great alternative for those who want the safety and security of a debit card, with the convenience of being able to pull some cash out whenever it’s needed. You’ll be able to avoid many of the fees that a typical debit/credit card will be charged and have the convenience of multiple currencies at your fingertips. There’s a reason that travel money cards are becoming the predominant way to manage your finances while you travel.

However you decide to manage your finances while you’re on holiday, do your research first and you’ll be sure to have a great time with well-organised money!

Oiyo is a consolidated online resource, we are not financial advisors. We work with a range of industry professionals and compliance check our articles to ensure factual accuracy. However, we do not provide professional financial advice. Consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the information and ideas presented in this article relate to your unique circumstances.