Once upon a time, international travel meant organising traveller cheques (checks) and significant wads of local currency!
These days, I travel with the following:
- a VISA card which I will predominantly use for over the counter transactions
- a MasterCard from another bank which does not charge me fees for overseas ATM withdrawals (I will still have to pay any local transaction fees)
- a Travel Money Card which has six different currencies on it which is my back up card and not in my wallet
- $50 cash in each local currency which I buy fee free from a travel exchange service using one of my memberships before leaving home
I also have an account which is not accessible via a card. In this account, I have a reserve fund which I can transfer electronically to any of the previously listed cards.
I try to put everything onto my card while travelling. It is easier and gives me a good record of where I have spent money.
Having cash when landing can be useful because I have found that getting out of the airport or train station may require me to have cash immediately. Some currencies are not easily available outside their country. In those cases, at the mercy of the money exchanger, I change a small amount at the airport as rates can be more unfavourable.
I miss the “good old days” of finding the American Express of Thomas Cook office to cash my travellers cheque but the convenience of the modern world is way easier.
How do you organise your money when you travel?