Travel Money- Ins and Outs

One of the things we wanted to know before we set off on our big travel adventure was, whats the best way to pay for overseas purchases.
Did we use credit cards, debit cards, cash. What accounts are best etc.

After reading other blogs and doing a mountain of research ourselves this is what we came up with and the set up we are using until it no longer works for us.

Remember this is what works best for us and may not necessarily be the best way for you but its a start if you are UK based.

We’re trying to achieve very small or no excess charges on using cards abroad or the charges can mount up and if you’re on a budget then every penny counts.

Credit Cards?

We use a credit card for our bigger purchases while abroad like air tickets, some accommodation and anything else we purchase online.

Be careful when choosing a credit card as most will have charges for use outside of the UK or Europe.
We use the Nationwide Select credit card as it has no fees and has no charges on purchases worldwide.
Remember this is for purchases only, we don’t use it for getting money out of ATM machines because that would be treated as a cash advance and have interest charges added to it.

We have the Select card set up so that it gets payed off in full every month so that we can enjoy the interest free period of up to a month and then know we are not being charged as long as it gets paid off.
Before we left the UK we set up the automatic payment of this card balance so we don’t have to remember to manually do it each month.

We also looked at having the Halifax Clarity credit card as it also has no charges for use abroad but it worked our better for us to go with Nationwide and you’ll see why in a moment. But the Clarity card is a good choice too.

Debit Cards

We use a debit card for making cash withdrawals at ATM machines. Again we chose one that had no fees attached to it for use abroad.
We chose the Nationwide Flex Plus account. Ahh now you see why we chose the Nationwide credit card too.
The Flex Plus account comes with a Debit card for use abroad but it does have a £10 a month fee on the account. There are no transaction charges as long as you just use it to withdraw funds at the ATM.
Remember this is our way to withdraw cash. We don’t use it for purchases as this would involve charges.
Are you keeping up with this?

Even with the £10 fee it still works out to be the best debit card out there for us.

And thats about it.
We have a set up that works pretty much automatically with other accounts feeding the above accounts.
We made sure that everything is accessible with online banking so that wherever we are in the world we know exactly where we are financially and also make contingencies if we cant get online for a while to move monies around etc.

We literally spent hours and hours in banks working out the best system for us and to be honest we got sick of how long it took but it was worth it when we see how well it all runs.

One other thing we would mention is the Santander 123 account.
In an age when getting interest on your savings is near impossible the 123 account is a good choice.
Basically you can get up to 3% interest on your savings if you meet the criteria of the account and that is to have two direct debits set up on it and to have £500 going into the account from an external account.
It does have a monthly fee of £5 but again its worth it to get the 3%.