How to Access Money Overseas: What you Need to Do Before you Board the Plane

How to access money overseas

One of the questions I am most commonly asked by readers is for advice on money matters relating to travel. After the past few years of being on the road I’ve seen many changes in all aspects of travel, but perhaps none more so than foreign currency, travel money cards and credit cards for overseas travellers.

For this blog post I have collaborated with Australia Post to bring it to the attention of my Australian readers of just how easy it is to arrange your travel finances before you go, and just how much money you can save by organising your finances in advance.

Here’s exactly how to arrange your finances before you travel in the easiest possible way (for my Australian readers):

My Travel Essentials

Getting foreign cash before you go 

Before embarking on my first solo adventure overseas I did a lot of research into foreign currency exchange to discover how I could cut down fees and charges when exchanging money.

Most of the big name currency exchangers were charging unreasonable fees three years ago and I recently learned in the Sydney airport that this is still the case (having discovered at the last minute that I needed $50 USD for a landing visa in Tanzania – copping an incredible $12 AUD currency exchange fee for that mistake!)

For that first trip overseas by myself I knew I would feel much more organised and less overwhelmed if I had at least a small amount of foreign currency for the countries I was visiting.

Australia Post Travel Essentials offer currency exchange services with great rates and a $0 commission if you order online or at one of 3,200 participating Post Offices. Yep, no nasty fees! They cover all of the most popular destinations for Australians which makes pre-travel planning a whole lot easier.

How to access your money overseas

Travel money cards vs. Credit cards?

Another question I am asked is whether to load your money on to a travel money card or whether to use a credit card overseas and, if so, which one?

This is another area of travel that has changed over the years and at times can be quite frustrating when you discover your once “no fees” credit card has all of a sudden changed its policy!

For years I was using a “no fees” credit card which did just that, so when I discovered I was in fact being charged fees to withdraw money I started to look at my alternative options.

How to access Money overseas

Pre-arranging a multi-currency travel card

Australia Post offers the “Multi-currency Cash Passport” which allows you to load a different currency to your card and as such avoid currency conversion fees. But better (and what caught my eye) is that they do not charge fees for withdrawals or transactions – and to my knowledge there are no longer any credit cards offering those benefits in Australia.

The Multi-currency Cash Passport and foreign exchange services, along with a range of other travel essentials are located at the Australia Post Travel Essentials site. This also includes travel insurance, pre-paid sim cards to use your mobile overseas and mail hold services. All in all, they’ve made an effort to cover everything you need to arrange before you embark on a trip!

Although this post was in collaboration with Australia Post to highlight their “Travel Essentials” site, all opinions are entirely my own and based on my experiences.


My Holiday Flashback Competition with Australia Post

To celebrate the launch of Australia Post’s Travel Essentials, they’re giving away $5,000 every week for 8 weeks and a trip away in the ‘My Holiday Flashback’ competition.

To enter, just visit this site and upload a photo of your favourite travel moment and a story about why that is your favourite travel story!

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  • info@safargostar.com'
    May 17, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    Great Post.
    Really Helpful for us.
    thank you

  • malou@maloupeters.nl'
    April 28, 2016 at 2:02 am

    Very handy article

  • jorgedavalos@yahoo.com'
    Jorge Davalos
    April 27, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    So you recommend to get some Euros before I travel to europe or to charge all my expenses in my Amex card please lectura me Thank you in advance

  • alinaratti@gmail.com'
    April 27, 2016 at 2:28 am

    Hi Brooke! Do you have any recommendations on what is the best credit card for earing airline miles? I’d like to invest in a good credit card that allows me to earn and use points or rewards for airline travel, but I’m not sure what the best option is. Thanks!

  • Karoltf@hotmail.com'
    April 26, 2016 at 11:54 am

    Great info. Where did get the zipper wallet? It looks perfect for travel.

  • helencernoch@yahoo.com.au'
    April 25, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Yes, I was going to say the same thing Will.

  • pottiez.marie@gmail.com'
    Miles of Happiness - Marie
    April 25, 2016 at 10:09 am

    Or “the things I always forgot to do before going on a trip”

  • bec.humm@hotmail.com'
    April 25, 2016 at 8:38 am

    Hmmm could that be the 28 degrees MasterCard? Haha I always used it to withdraw cash overseas until they changed it

  • jessicagotz@msn.com'
    April 25, 2016 at 5:47 am

    OMG I love your blog! Thanks so much for the post Brooke. I have just given up everything to go and travel New Zealand and write music as I am going and people like you inspire me to be brave. Bless you!

  • Anne@traveltheglobe4less.com'
    April 25, 2016 at 4:00 am

    I always wing it and rely on withdrawing money when I get there but I have been caught out a few times, like in Brazil where our debit cards just didn’t seem to work or in Honduras when we needed $20 exit fee and had no money. We almost missed our flight and would have done were it not for our taxi driver helping us to bypass the long queue in the bank.

  • camilleslifediary@hotmail.fr'
    April 25, 2016 at 2:29 am

    Great post

  • jay_heed@hotmail.com'
    Jabeen Waheed
    April 25, 2016 at 1:00 am

    Ahh this is so informative! I always get so frazzled when it comes to money overseas!
    Jabeen 🙂

  • conor.rees15@hotmail.com'
    conor rees
    April 24, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    Great article. I’m bookmarking this and I’ll check this article again a few weeks before I travel.

  • williamhead258@hotmail.com'
    April 24, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Citibank doesn’t charge international transfer or withdrawal fees on their linked Visa Debit Cards:)

  • diabiancalao@gmail.com'
    Dia Bianca Lao
    April 24, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Wow! I didn’t realize Australian post offers other travel services besides currency exchange. Good to know!