Accessing your money when travelling

By You and Money

Different countries have different ways of doing things and overseas banking systems can vary. The safest way is to make sure you have a range of options for accessing your money.

Internet banking

  • Set up internet banking (if you haven’t already), so that you can manage your banking wherever you are.
  • Check your account regularly for any fraudulent transactions and report them immediately.
  • Access the internet through reputable organisations (such as major hotel chains) whenever you can.
  • Don’t reveal your password or login details to anyone.

Debit card

  • Debit cards are accepted at millions of ATMs worldwide, allowing you to withdraw local currency.
  • It’s a great option because you’re accessing your own money and not relying on credit (which you have to pay back).
  • Remember that whenever you use your debit card overseas, you’ll incur foreign exchange commission and transaction fees that will be taken out of the same account.

Credit card

Credit cards can be very handy when you’re travelling. Worldwide acceptance makes them very convenient, but they require discipline. If you’re not very disciplined, it’s probably best to think of your credit card as being there for emergency use only (for example, to cover a large medical bill or if you run out of cash).

Prepaid cash card

A prepaid cash card can be ‘charged up’ with foreign currency before you travel, so you can lock in your exchange rate. These cards:

  • are widely accepted and available in a number of popular international currencies (although the number and type of currencies vary by provider)
  • are PIN protected and secure because they’re not linked to a bank account
  • allow you to re-load funds at any time, even online.

Be aware that commissions on prepaid cards can be higher than those on debit cards.

Foreign cash

It’s a good idea to have some local cash when you first arrive in a foreign country. You might need a taxi or food, and banks aren’t always open. Keep some cash for just before you leave too, as you may probably need to pay departure tax.

Foreign cash can be ordered through most financial services providers online, over the phone or at a branch. These funds are usually available within 48 hours.

Foreign currency can also be purchased at foreign exchange outlets. Make sure you look for the best rate and find out if they charge a service fee.

Travellers cheques

Travellers cheques are a safe and easy way to protect your spending money while you travel. They are available in a number of major currencies, are widely accepted and can usually be replaced within 24 hours if they’re lost or stolen.

Helpful travel sites

Some useful general travel sites include:

www.lonelyplanet.com
www.smarttraveller.gov.au

Travel sites that can give you deals on flights and accommodation include:

www.bestflights.com.au
www.wotif.com.au
www.lastminute.com.au
www.expedia.com.au

You can review travel ratings for accommodation, holiday packages, restaurants and more at:

www.traveladvisor.com

Have trouble deciding what you need or what to take on your trip? Check out these sites to help you get packing down to an art:

www.upl.codeq.info/
www.travellerspoint.com/packing-list.cfm
www.keepandshare.com/doc/149437/travel-packing-checklist

Share your travel experiences

If you’ve visited any great overseas locations that you’d recommend or have any great travel tips – we’d love to hear from you.

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