Travel Money: Cash, Cheque or Card?

You’re finally going on that travel holiday you’ve always dreamed of. But with the tickets booked and the itinerary planned, it’s time to give serious thought to the practical details – for example, how will you be carrying your travel money?

Is Cash Still King?

The cash option often seems to come out tops as it is convenient to use and is accepted everywhere. (Provided you’re carrying the correct currency of course). However, it’s also the easiest to lose or have stolen.

Cash is definitely worthwhile if you are getting a good exchange rate; it’s something you can shop around for and one might argue that whatever format you decide to use to carry the bulk of your travel cash, you should give serious thought to carrying a small emergency cash reserve as well – perhaps hidden away on your person.

Carrying cash is undoubtedly a risk but with some careful thought and proper precautions it needn’t be totally disregarded as an option.

Pros: Convenient; can be cost-effective; widely accepted
Cons: Very Risky

Travellers’ Cheques: Still a Viable Option?

You can’t really pick up a restaurant bill with a travellers’ cheque, nor can you use it to pay your cab driver.

You will need to convert your cheques to cash periodically during your travels and it’s worth remembering that you will be charged commissions each time you make an exchange. Also, once you’ve converted a cheque to useable cash you’ve got the very same situation you would have had with cash in the first place, except it might have cost you a bit more to get there.

On the plus side, while there is a fair amount of risk carrying travellers’ cheques, if you are organised and photocopy your cheques or make a note of the cheque number (as long as you don’t lose that too) you can travel with relative peace of mind.

Pros: Safer than cash
Cons: Inconvenient, can be expensive

Travel Money Cards: The Power of Pre-paid Plastic

A relative newcomer to the travel money market, prepaid travel money cards offer major advantages over their predecessors in terms of cost-saving and convenience for travellers.

Pre-loaded with your destination’s currency, it works exactly like a local debit card. So no more bother with having exchange travellers’ cheques or the dangers of carrying around large wads of cash.

With a reputable provider, you should have around-the-clock support services. This means you can cancel the card and possibly get refunded on your losses if you were to lose your card while travelling.

You can also load your card with your choice of currency when rates are most favourable and since you are using it as an ATM card there are no big commissions to worry about. This makes a travel money card a rather cost-effective option.

Pros: Safe, convenient, cost-effective
Cons: less convenient than cash


1st Contact Forex offers both conventional travel cash and a pre-paid travel money card. Either option will allow you take advantage of our great rates.

Why use the 1st Contact Travel Money Card?

The 1st Contact Travel Money Card is a MasterCard debit card, but because it’s pre-loaded with your destination’s currency – at great exchange rates – you can pay like a local and save money for more important things, like savouring the local cuisine or enjoying the sights.

  • Excellent exchange rates, guaranteed
  • No fees for paying at shops or restaurants while abroad
  • No commission charges on transactions
  • Standard low charge for ATM withdrawals

To get your Travel Money Card or view our great exchange rates, visit or call 0808 141 2309 to find out more.

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