Spending money abroad

Traveling overseas is fun, but navigating the complexities of foreign currency and payment methods can often feel daunting. From exchange rates to transaction fees, there are numerous factors to consider when managing your finances abroad. To help you make informed decisions we've compiled this guide to spending money while traveling.

When it comes to spending money abroad, choosing the right payment methods can minimise costs and maximise convenience. But there are some additional tips to bear in mind; using a credit card for major purchases provides added section 75 protection , while carrying a modest amount of cash ensures readiness for small transactions such as buying gifts at a market and unexpected expenses.

Gone are the days of relying solely on travellers' checks or exchanging currency at traditional bureaus. Today, travellers have a myriad of options for managing their finances abroad, including cash, credit cards, debit cards, and prepaid cards. By leveraging a combination of these methods, travellers can tailor their approach to suit their individual needs and preferences.

Options for spending money abroad:


While cash is ideal for certain transactions, such as tipping and bargaining at local markets, it comes with risks. Carrying large amounts of cash increases the likelihood of loss or theft, compromising your financial security. Additionally, consumer group Which advise that “Exchange rates at airport bureaux de change are notoriously bad compared with the high street or online bureaux, where you’ll usually find a better deal”.

Credit cards:

Credit cards provide flexibility and are particularly advantageous for major purchases with section 75 purchase protection. Moneysavingexpert advises that: “Most credit and debit cards let you spend abroad, but will charge you for the privilege. Although your card provider gets near-perfect rates, it usually adds a foreign transaction fees”.

They also advise that several credit cards are specifically designed for international travel, offering perks such as no foreign transaction fees or cashback rewards.

Debit cards:

While debit cards offer convenience and accessibility the Guardian advise that “Using a typical credit or debit card to withdraw cash on an overseas break could mean paying costly and unnecessary fees. But shop around before you go and you could avoid paying over the odds”.

Pre-paid bank cards:

Pre-paid bank cards allow you to preload funds in multiple currencies or sterling. With features like budgeting tools and real-time spending notifications, digital banking cards provide convenience and control over your finances while traveling. Money.co.uk advises “Prepaid travel cards are easier to get than travel credit cards, offer more security than cash, and can offer great exchange rates”.

Travel insurance

Our Gold, Platinum and Cruise policies provide personal money cover subject to policy limits and an excess will be charged. We also provide cover for cancellation and emergency medical expenses abroad.

We are experts in cover for pre-existing medical conditions. Don’t let your age or medical conditions hold you back. For travel insurance you’re good to go!