What card setup is good for using when travelling overseas?

Heading to Europe for 5 months next year and as I start making hotel and car rental bookings in the next month or so I will need to decide which credit card to use for those bookings and then take on the trip with me.

I would love to know what combination/system of cards people are taking overseas atm. A mix of international transaction fee-free cc’s, debit cards, travel cards?

  • I hear a lot about the Wise travel card, but also wonder what the benefit of a travel card is if I’m not earning reward points for what will be thousands of dollars in spend?
  • which international fee-free credit cards are people enjoying?
  • what considerations are you making as you decide which cards to have in your wallet overseas?

Thanks in advance!

I haven’t used travel cards in a loooonngg time. This is usually because their exchange rate between currencies is a bit lower than the standard VISA/Mastercard rate even if they boast no FOREX or card fees.

I haven’t looked too closely at Wise because I’ve been quite satisfied with my current set-up. Without giving specific recommendations on cards, the biggest thing you should look at for travel is 0% foreign transaction fees. After that, you can have a look at what rate they use to convert foreign currency to the home currency (AUD), the annual fee, and also if they earn you points/rewards. I suggest having both a debit and credit card that has these qualities, because debit cards are useful to take cash out which is still pretty important though a lot of Europe, and credit cards for things like hotel deposits.

Lastly, you can never have too many cards - especially the debit ones. You never know for whatever reason, your VISA card could be declined at the ATM but the Mastercard doesn’t. So, just to play it safe, I recommend having one or two backups for withdrawals.


Great to hear your thoughts @djtech thank you!

I’ll go ahead and look for a good 0% foreign transaction fee card to keep in my wallet, and supplement it with a helpful debit card. That will be a good start and I’ll work from there.

Always appreciate your time!

1 Like

For a card that does not have any foreign currency conversion fee, I use the Macquarie Bank Debit card.
Luckily on my last trip, I had 2 such cards as one had a number of fraudalent transactions. Thankfully all of those were reversed but it took 3 months for that to occur. In the meantime, I stopped using that card and started using the other Macquarie debit card.
One advantage of the debit card was that the maximum amount scammed was the balance in that card. After that incident, I periodically transferred amounts to the linked account as I spent it (minimising the risk).
If anyone has a suggestion of a zero conversion fee credit card which earns frequent flyer points, please let me know!

Coles Rewards Mastercard. (Earns FlyBuys points which can be converted to Velocity).