Essential travel money plastic to pack for your holiday abroad

So you’ve got your holiday countdown app ready and you’re eagerly awaiting the day you jet off to your destination abroad.

But as with most things in life, there’s a list of things to sort out before you even get to packing your brightest bikini or ski gear in your suitcase. One of those is to make sure you’ve picked a good way to spend while you’re there. And whether that’s opting for a travel credit, debit or prepaid travel card it could be the difference between coming home with your budget intact or racking up unnecessary fees.

To narrow down your options and make sure you’re carrying the right piece of plastic to suit your holiday, we’ve selected our top travel money essentials.

Travel Credit Cards

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Last updated 14 July 2024 Important disclosures
American Express - Explorer® Credit Card
  • 50,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points when you spend $3,000 within 3 months
  • $400 Travel Credit annually
  • Travel insurance cover (conditions apply)

The American Express Explorer card is kind of a big deal. When you apply online, get approved and spend $3,000 in the first 3 months, you’ll get 50,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points. Which means you could potentially have enough points to fund your first rewards escape. But this does come at a price, keep an eye out on the $395 annual fee which more than covers the premium benefits. And this balances out when you get a $400 travel credit each year to use towards a flight, hotel, experience or car hire and if you want to book somewhere online for family and friends, you can do that too! Other perks include access to the American Express Lounge at Sydney Airport twice a year and if you pay for your travel with your Amex Explorer credit card you’ll access complimentary travel insurance cover including medical emergency, cancellation, baggage and inconvenience insurance for you and your family. With all this plus more, you can tell why this card won two 2018 Mozo Experts Choice Awards in the categories of Velocity Frequent Flyer Premium Credit Card and Premium Rewards Credit Card.

28 Degrees - Platinum Mastercard
  • $0 international transaction fees
  • $0 currency conversion fees
  • Free global Wi-Fi at more than 1 million hotspots around the world
Find out more

The 28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard’s attractive travel features, make it a great companion to bring on your next holiday abroad, so long as you pay your balance in full each month. This is why it was awarded multiple 2018 Mozo Experts Choice Awards, including for Best Value No Annual Fee Platinum Credit Card. One of its most distinctive strengths to savvy travellers is that it has no currency conversion fees, which means you don’t pay extra on top of the foreign exchange rate either, which could save you a tonne over a lengthy holiday. Plus, it has no overseas transaction fees, so spend away at your favourite international retailer online or in-store and don’t pay anything extra on top.

Travel Debit Cards

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Last updated 14 July 2024 Important disclosures
HSBC - Everyday Global Account
  • Link up to 10 currencies to your Visa debit card
  • No ATM or transaction fees anywhere in the world (conditions apply)
  • Lock in an exchange rate ahead of time or convert Aussie dollars when you spend

The HSBC Everyday Global debit card really caters for the globetrotting traveller. With the easy option to keep up to 10 currencies at the ready, you can pay like a local wherever you go or even use the card at home. This is just one of the reasons it received a 2018 Mozo Experts Choice Travel Money Award for Innovation, not to mention a separate award in the Best Value Debit Card category. And we haven’t even mentioned the fact there are no overseas ATM fees (conditions apply) or transaction fees, plus you can exchange currency online and access real-time exchange rates. Just keep in mind that there is a $1,000 daily ATM withdrawal limit, though you can request for this to be bumped up to $2,000 if you’re planning on spending up a storm.

ING - Orange Everyday
  • $0 ATM withdrawal fees overseas or in Australia (conditions apply)
  • $0 international transaction fee (conditions apply)
  • $0 minimum opening deposit and no monthly account fee

The ING Orange Everyday debit card was the winner of a 2018 Mozo Experts Choice Award for Best Value Debit Card. We could leave it at that, or we could tell you why it’s one of our favourites: it’s big on convenience and small on fees and charges. With the Everyday Orange debit card, you can use any ATM in Australia or overseas for free (if you deposit $1,000 in your ING account during the month, and also make 5 purchases using your ING debit or credit card in the month). As long as you meet those conditions, you can also spend on your card while overseas without paying an international transaction fee.

Prepaid Travel Cards

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Last updated 14 July 2024 Important disclosures
Cash Passport - Platinum Prepaid Currency Mastercard
  • $0 transaction fees for purchases or withdrawals overseas
  • Load up to 10 currencies on the one card
  • Access to Mastercard’s global network of ATMs and retailers
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If convenience is at the front of your mind when it comes to travel cards, then the Australia Post Cash Passport prepaid card might be perfect for your next holiday abroad. Helping you manage your travel budget effectively, AusPost Cash Passport allows you to lock in your exchange rate so you’ll know exactly where your holiday money is being spent. Plus, with the Cash Passport travellers have access to Mastercard’s huge network of 2 million ATMs and 35.9 million retailers worldwide, so there are plenty of options to spend your funds. And if something goes wrong overseas AusPost can get you both a back-up travel card and 24/7 global emergency assistance at no additional cost. Just make sure you use this card in countries where you’ve got the currency preloaded on the card. Otherwise, you’ll be hit with a 5.95% cross currency conversion fee.

ANZ - Travel Card
  • Commission-free spending while you're overseas
  • Great for travelling in Asia
  • Can load it with up to 10 major currencies
Find out more

With the ANZ Travel Card, you can select the currencies you want to spend overseas and lock in the exchange rate before you go. It’s a great card for savvy travellers who are visiting several countries. Particularly if you’re off on an adventure around Asia, as it comes with a good range of Asian currencies including Singapore and Hong Kong Dollars, but just remember if you're spending in a currency not pre-loaded to your card, you may wind up paying 4% extra in fees. When using the card, purchases are free but ATM withdrawals are charged depending on which country you are in. No wonder it won the best value prepaid travel card in the 2018 Mozo Experts Choice Travel Money awards.

With all these in mind, make sure you tick off another thing on your list of things to do before your holiday and read up on our travel insurance reviews or compare today's top travel insurance deals.

If you’d like to see more spending options check out our full range of travel credit cards, travel debit cards or prepaid travel cards.

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Credit Card Awards

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