Let’s start with the old school method: traveller’s cheques. Traveller’s cheques may be the safest way to take money overseas, but also the most cumbersome. Each time you want to cash a cheque you need to visit a bank branch and present photo identification. Not to mention there is usually an initial charge just to purchase the cheques at the outset, and imagine having to walk around with a wad of these things! Plus, they aren’t universally accepted and, at the end of the day, you are still burdening yourself with physical money.
A convenient way of taking money overseas that has become really popular in recent years is the prepaid travel money card aka ‘cash passport’. With one of these, you can pre-load different currencies onto the one card and the whole process can pretty much be managed online. Of course, there are a few fees to be aware of, including for purchase, reload and a margin when you exchange unused money after you return from your trip and want to close the card.
While your regular debit or credit card is great for everyday use at home, think twice before taking it overseas. It’s all too easy to withdraw and swipe just as frequently as you do at home, without even realising that overseas there are ATM fees, not just currency conversion fees! Also, if you unknowingly go over your limit, you’ll be hit with a cash advance charge.
Lastly, there’s cold, hard cash which you either exchange before you depart, or first thing when you arrive at your destination, and whenever you need thereafter. Local exchange rates tend to be more favourable and it’s extremely convenient to get instant access to the local currency almost anywhere. Plus, who doesn’t accept cash? Travelling with cash is not the most secure thing to do but this option definitely entails the less fees.