Travel Money Guide

You may be wondering in a world that is becoming increasingly digitised; Why do I need travel money when I could use my currency card or debit card in other countries?  

In many countries around the world, day to day spending can be more cash-based than it is in the UK.  There are many occasions where you would generally use your card in the UK, where abroad, it may not be accepted or come with extra charges.

For bigger holiday costs and purchases or for things like accommodation, car hire and big excursions cards are often encouraged or the only option to pay. But for smaller purchases, cards may not be accepted.  Take into consideration that often bus, taxis, small bars and cafes, markets and small food stores will only accept cash. This will depend from country to country.

Being dependent on using your credit, debit or currency card will often totally reshape your holiday experience.  Going to bigger more commercial places that will accept your card, may restrict you from feeling the essence of a country. Sometimes the biggest memories that you take home from a holiday are the smaller things; the salty sweetness of fresh cut coconut on the beach in Montego Bay, or the warmth of hot toasted chestnuts from a vendor at a Christmas market in Prague these memories are priceless!

Why not just use my bank card to withdraw money from an ATM?

There is the option to withdraw local currency out at an ATM abroad, which may be convenient, but you are at the mercy of the banks and will often be charged higher rates, banking fees/transaction charges and ATM owners often add on their own fee in addition to what your bank may charge.  

Ordering your travel money ahead of time also has these benefits:

  • You save money – by being able to choose the best rates and get the best deal on your holiday money, and because you know exactly what you’re being charged, you won’t be caught out by extra fees that eat into your holiday money.
  • It’s stress-free – You can order your travel money online and get it delivered straight to your door.
  • You’re prepared – when you arrive in a country there’s no need to hunt down the local bank or add unnecessary stress, leaving you free to enjoy your holiday from the first minute!

We aren’t saying travel money can buy happiness, but….Whether it’s treating yourself to a cool glass of something and watching the sun go down on your favourite holiday beach, or a leisurely coffee whilst people-watching in a historical town square, cash is quite often the only way to pay!


Jason is the founder of Compare Travel Cash, and has worked in the financial industry for the majority of his career.