Thinking of Travelling Abroad? Don’t Step Out Without Reading About Travel Cards First!

Travelling has become easier but more expensive with fluctuating currency rates and extra charges on international transactions. This is where travel cards come into the picture. They make international travel affordable and hassle-free. As you plan your next vacation, here is everything you should know about travel cards before leaving.

What are Travel Cards?

Travel cards are versatile financial tools, serving as credit or prepaid cards tailored for travel expenditures. These cards prove invaluable for individuals exploring international destinations, offering strategic benefits to optimise their spending. 

Notably, they assist in avoiding common fees associated with international transactions, such as foreign transaction fees, cross-currency conversion fees, and ATM withdrawal charges abroad.

Managing expenses efficiently is crucial for those planning a journey from India to the UK. This includes considering a UK tourist visa from India, an essential aspect of international travel preparation. In this context, travel cards become even more relevant, providing a convenient and cost-effective means of managing finances during the trip.

Types of Travel Cards

There are two major types of travel cards:

1. General Travel Cards

Banks and financial service providers like ICICI, HDFC, and Axis Bank sponsor these cards. Most of them are on Visa or Mastercard networks.

Benefits include:

  • Low foreign transaction fee 
  • Lost card replacement
  • Travel and shopping protections
  • Bonus reward points  

2. Co-branded Travel Credit Cards

As the name suggests, these cards are sponsored jointly by banks and travel service providers like airlines, hotel chains, travel agencies, etc.

Benefits are more generous compared to general travel cards: 

  • High rewards rate and points on travel spending
  • Complimentary lounge access
  • Free hotel night stays and other exclusive travel privileges

Advantages of Using a Travel Card

Here are some ways travel cards make overseas trips more convenient and affordable:

Save on Foreign Transaction Fees

All international purchases involve foreign transaction fees ranging from approx. 3% to 5%. With a travel card, these fees become zero or minimal (around 1%).

Better Exchange Rates

Your normal debit or credit card will charge cross-currency conversion based on the higher bank exchange rate. Travel cards offer lower foreign exchange rates, saving you substantially when making purchases internationally.

Cash Withdrawals Without Hassles 

Withdrawing cash abroad with regular cards invites cross-currency, ATM access, and withdrawal fees. Travel cards make cash withdrawals cheaper with lower ATM charges or generous ATM withdrawal limits. This allows you to get foreign currency in cash per local requirements easily.

Insurance and Other Protections  

Premium travel credit cards offer robust insurance coverage, protecting against common travel woes like flight delays, baggage loss, and rental car damage. This comprehensive protection is particularly valuable for international journeys, including those requiring travel insurance to UK. Travellers can enjoy peace of mind and financial security throughout their adventures with these cards.

Choosing the Best Travel Card 

With many options, selecting the most suitable travel card can get overwhelming. Follow these tips:

  • Estimate your upcoming overseas expenses – flights, hotels, shopping, sightseeing, etc.
  • See which category occupies a bigger share. This will help you pick a tailor-made travel card.  
  • Check foreign transaction fees on every prospective card and go for the lowest.
  • See what extra protections and insurance each card offers. Pick one that provides maximum coverage.

Summing it Up

While travel cards involve some paperwork and eligibility criteria, the benefits through savings, rewards, and convenience are well worth it. Whether you are globetrotting occasionally or frequently, avoid unnecessarily paying excess charges to banks by getting a tailored travel card.

So, which destinations are calling you? With your ideal travel card now by your side, you are all set to take off! Bon Voyage!