Why Cash is a Must on Vacation

calendar iconAug 17, 2022

It’s well known that cash can help people budget at home, but carrying local currency can also help save time, money and embarrassment when vacationing.

After two years of travel restrictions, many people are keen to travel. 80 percent of American adults are planning to travel this summer, including 45 percent who intend to travel more than once. In the UK, Google searches for ‘best place to buy euros’ have grown 750 percent to their highest level since April 2020.

Editor-in-Chief of travel money website Quotegoat.com, Michael Foote, suggests researching a travel destination in advance to determine the right amount of cash to take, pointing out countries such as Japan and Indonesia are strongly cash-based. Simon Phillips, Managing Director of travel money specialists No1 Currency, urges people to be aware that even if they seldom use cash at home, it is advisable to have it abroad.

Cash is still king in many countries… In popular European destinations like Spain, Italy, Germany and France, retailers and restaurants still handle far more transactions in cash than they do by card.
"Simon Phillips, Managing Director, No1 Currency

Travel expert Charles Stewart, Managing Director at eurochange, strongly recommends carrying a good amount of cash regardless of whether one is vacationing abroad or at home. His first tip, when converting local currency into foreign currency, is to shop around for the best exchange rate before travelling. People who change money at airports are likely to get less favourable rates than those who plan ahead.

Next, Stewart points out the cost of exchange fees when using a credit or debit card abroad, which can add a few percent to each transaction. These can also apply to withdrawing cash overseas, so once again it’s beneficial to change money ahead of travel.

Tipping culture varies greatly between countries, so it’s useful to research a destination in advance, and have sufficient cash to cover a bill and a tip to avoid an awkward situation. Stewart observes that, in many countries, small businesses and taxis do not have cashless payment facilities, so whatever a person’s usual payment preference, it’s a good idea to have notes and coins on hand.

Finally, the physical nature of cash is as useful abroad as it is at home. Having a set amount of currency to last the duration of a stay can help avoid overspending, since it’s quick and easy to see how much has been spent and how much remains. As with home budgeting, envelopes can be used to divide the total amount by week or by day, making it easy to keep track of spending with minimal effort.

Last Updated: Aug 16, 2022