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Best travel money options

Your one-stop guide to travel money

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With so many options, finding the right travel money to take with you on vacation can be difficult. We explore the benefits and features of travel money cards, with comparisons between the different types. Here are a few to get you started:

Travel credit cards are just like any other credit card but they come with extra perks such as reward points, complimentary travel insurance and zero fees on foreign transactions.

Here’s a quick look at some of the travel credit cards with various features that you might come across in your search for the card that fits your needs.

Hilton Honors American Express Card. This travel card boasts perks such as:

  • Complimentary travel insurance
  • $0 annual fee (see rates & fees)
  • 80,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • 7x points on Hilton hotel and resort purchases and 5x points at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations. Plus earn 3x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees

A credit score of 670 or higher is recommended when applying for this card.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card. This simple card is a heavy contender when it comes to travel-friendly credit cards because it:

  • Waives both the foreign transaction and annual fee
  • Earns 1.5 points for every dollar spent
  • 0% intro APR for the first year
  • Spend $1,000 in the first 90 days and you’ll be awarded 25,000 bonus points

A credit score of 670 to 850 is recommended when applying for this card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. This popular card is a must-consider for travelers because:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 2x points on dining and travel, 5x points on Lyft rides and 1x points on everything else
  • Points can transfer to airline and hotel programs
  • Travel insurance
  • Purchase protection

A good to excellent credit score of 670 to 850 is recommended when applying for this card.

This card can be preloaded ahead of traveling, which can be ideal when organizing your travel budget.

Travelex Money Card. One of the only available prepaid travel money cards on the market, the Travelex Money Card is worth a look because of its convenient perks:

  • Load up to six foreign currencies
  • No foreign transaction fees if you pay in local currency
  • No international or domestic ATM fees
  • No bank withdrawal fees
  • Load up to $10,000 and spend up to $5,000 per day

To get a Travelex Money Card, the only requirement is that you’re at least 18 years old (or younger in some states).

Our pick for a prepaid travel card
Travelex Money Card

Compare travel credit cards

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Foreign transaction fee Welcome offer Rewards Filter values
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
None
80,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, a value of up to $1,000 through Chase Ultimate Rewards
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
Earn a huge signup bonus worth $$1,000 with this popular travel card. Combine with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards for even greater value.
American Express® Gold Card
None
35,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on directly-booked flights; 4x at restaurants; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points)
Earn up to 4x points on select purchases, a bevy of travel perks, and a welcome offer worth up to $350 with this upper-mid tier travel card. Rates & fees
Petal® Visa® Credit Card
None
N/A
Up to 10% cash back from select merchants, on other purchases earn 1% back, 1.25% after six on-time payments and 1.5% after 12 on-time payments
Build your credit with rewards and no fees: Apply if you're new to credit or have a fair to good score of 600 or higher. See if you prequalify with no impact to your score.
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
None
N/A
4% at gas stations on up to $7,000 annually (then 1%), 3% at restaurants and on travel, 2% at Costco and 1% on all other purchases
An impressive cashback card that offers up to 4% back on everyday purchases like gas, travel and dining all for the cost of a Costco membership.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
None
50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
10x points on Lyft rides, 3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit and 1x points on all other purchases
Get a generous $300 in annual travel credits, 3x points on travel and dining, and a 50% bonus on point redemptions with Chase's premier card.
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Compare travel credit cards

How to select the right combination of travel money options

There’s no such thing as the one perfect travel money card. The ideal option will depend on your financial situation, spending habits and vacation plans.

For example, if you travel frequently, a travel-friendly debit or credit card could be a good way to spend and earn rewards. If you’re a student traveler, a prepaid travel money card could be a better way to access your own funds across multiple currencies.

While one travel money option may be preferable over another, you should have a backup in case of an emergency — cash is always reliable. Consider your financial situation and how you’d like to use your money when you’re on vacation to determine which combination of travel money possibilities is right for you.
Guide to traveling with money overseas

Mistakes to avoid

  • Relying on one option. It’s better to not rely on just one option — who knows what could happen. A backup debit or credit card could be a trip saver if your prepaid card or cash is misplaced or stolen.
  • Reloading time. If you’re using a prepaid travel money card and need to load funds on the card, keep in mind that it could take a few business days to process.
  • Fees. Make sure you’re aware of all the fees involved, including interest charges, international ATM fees and foreign transaction fees so you don’t come home to a surprisingly large bill.
  • Accepted currencies and worldwide access. Check ahead of time whether the countries you are planning to visit will accept your card as an acceptable form of payment. It’s also important to confirm whether the local currency is supported by your card.
  • Restrictions. Check with your card provider before traveling to see if there are any current restrictions on using your card in the destination you’ll be heading to.

Your card of choice comes down to what you feel would work best for you when traveling. Comparing your options will ensure that you know what’s available on the market and which is the right choice for you. Happy traveling!

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