Traveling is a fun way to connect with people from all around the world, learn about new cultures, and explore new areas. While there are countless destinations to visit and ways to travel, every traveler has one thing in common. Traveling costs money and travelers have to figure out the best way to pay. 

The number of payment options has grown in recent years. Where cash and traveler’s checks were once the go-to payment options, tourists can now choose from plastic cards, payment apps, and even cryptocurrency. Before heading off on your next adventure, be sure to research all of the available payment methods and choose the best one that fits your travel style and needs.

Credit and Debit Cards

Credit and debit cards are easy to use and widely accepted. Visa, one of the most popular plastic card providers is accepted in over 200 countries worldwide. Many people use plastic cards day-to-day so traveling with them is a no-brainer. In addition, using plastic cards while traveling lets tourists avoid carrying large sums of cash which can be dangerous if it gets lost or stolen for any reason. 

Debit and credit cards are ideal for big purchases while traveling. In fact, travelers can even use their plastic cards before heading off on a trip to secure their reservations. Many hotels, car rentals, and airlines accept both debit and credit cards and it’s easy to pay using the card holders’ information over the phone or online. In addition, some hotels require a deposit or card on file, so having a credit or debit card for this purpose is ideal when traveling. 

Mobile Payment Apps 

Mobile payment apps are growing in popularity and are making traveling easier than ever before. In fact, it’s estimated that more than 2 billion people now use mobile payment apps globally. Payment apps simply link a user’s credit or debit card details with their phone or smartwatch so that they can make contactless payments. Let’s explore a few of the best mobile payment apps to use when traveling. 

Cash App

Cash App is popular with users and travelers because it’s simple, easy to use, and extremely convenient. Cash App allows its 51 million users to transfer money directly from user to user and also offers a Cash Card debit card as well. It can be used online or in-person and is especially popular with travelers due to its instant transfer feature, which is great for unexpected costs when traveling that need to be paid quickly. 

Because Cash App is known to be a quick payment type, it’s ideal for paying friends and family via peer-to-peer transfers. If a friend covers the cost of a meal while traveling, you can quickly repay them what you owe using CashApp. Another popular use of Cash App is for online gaming and betting. Many travelers enjoy wagering online as part of their holiday to relax and unwind, and a growing number of online casinos are starting to accept mobile payment methods, like cash app. Sergio Zammit explains that Cash App allows players to transfer funds quickly, enhancing their overall gaming experience. Cash App also comes in handy when traveling to cover transportation expenses because it’s quick and easy to use, making it great for purchasing public transportation tickets before hopping on a local bus. 


Over 400 million people use PayPal worldwide, making it one of the most popular mobile payment apps available today. PayPal is known for its user-friendly interface and for being extremely secure. It allows users to send funds to friends and family but also gives the option to send or receive money with buyer and seller protection, which adds an additional layer of financial protection for users and travelers. 

When traveling, PayPal is ideal for a few different purchases. The popular accommodation booking site, Airbnb, accepts PayPal, and many tourists enjoy using the mobile payment app to secure their unique Airbnb accommodation. In addition, many tour operators accept PayPal. However, not all do, so travelers should research first to see if the tours they’re most interested in joining can be paid with PayPal. If it’s not clear, don’t hesitate to reach out to the tour company directly and ask. In addition, PayPal is often used by travelers while shopping. Many retailers now accept PayPal, making international transfers easy and hassle-free. 


Venmo is another popular payment app among travelers. It’s mostly known for its social payment features and peer-to-peer transfers. With 76 million users, it’s not as popular as big-name apps like PayPal, however, it’s a popular option, especially for users in the United States. 

Venmo can be used in similar ways to other payment apps, however, it is most commonly used to split bills and to pay friends and family via small transfer amounts. For example, if you share dinner with a friend who pays the bill, you can easily Venmo your friend some cash to cover your portion of the bill. Similarly, If a family member booked your hotel, and you’d like to chip in, you can Venmo them the nightly rate to cover your stay. Venmo is not only a payment app but also features different social aspects where users can view their transfers and other users’ transfers, making it a fun way to connect and travel together. 


Revolut is an interesting and relatively new payment app that helps solve currency exchange problems for travelers. Revolut allows users to hold multi-currency accounts and offers extremely competitive exchange rates at the same time. By doing this, the app lets users avoid the typically high fees that banks charge for currency conversion. Beyond currency exchange, the app also features some unique perks like offering travel insurance and airport lounge access to users.

Because Revolut lets users hold various currencies, it’s best used for purchases in foreign countries. Users with a multi-currency account can make purchases in a foreign country using the local country currency while eating out at restaurants or shopping in markets. This tool lets users get the best exchange rates and bypass exchange hassles while traveling. 


Cryptocurrency is a relatively new payment type that is quickly growing in popularity. Crypto is ideal for tourists who are seeking alternative payment methods and who are willing to research and find companies that accept crypto before traveling. Using crypto while traveling offers some unique advantages including reduced transaction fees, faster cross-border transfers, and increased privacy and security. 

While crypto is still relatively new and not all businesses accept crypto, some within the hospitality and tourism sector are leading by example. Many hotels have started to accept cryptocurrency as payment, allowing travelers to book their accommodation with virtual currency. For example, the booking site Travala lets travelers choose from over 2 million hotels around the world and pay with Bitcoin or other crypto coins. Similarly, the booking site Alternative Airlines allows globe trotters to choose from over 650 airlines and pay using cryptocurrency. 


Travelers should always carry some cash with them, no matter their destination. While other payment methods have become more popular, cash remains a smart form of payment that is accepted in most places. Travelers visiting more remote areas should consider carrying larger amounts of cash, especially if ATMs or banks are few and far between. 

Cash is ideal for tipping, so consider carrying small bills. In addition, cash is a great way to purchase small handicrafts from local markets or buy snacks and treats from local vendors during your trip. Cash can be useful in emergency situations, however, travelers should try to avoid carrying too much cash at once for safety reasons. 

Travel-Specific Cards

Prepaid travel cards and multi-currency cards are designed specifically for travel, and usually for international travel. These cards are ideal for travelers who want to be able to load money onto pre-paid cards, lock in exchange rates, and avoid transaction fees. As an extra bonus, some travel cards offer perks like travel insurance and emergency assistance, making them ideal for cautious travelers who want to play it safe. Some travelers choose to carry a prepaid travel card as an emergency backup and only use it if and when needed. 

Prepaid and multi-currency cards are ideal when dining out and purchasing souvenirs from gift shops to take home. In addition, they can be used for booking tours in foreign currency or paying entry fees to museums. While prepaid cards offer a number of perks and are safe payment options for travelers, it’s worth noting that they can come with reloading fees and inactivity fees as well, which travelers should be mindful of. 

Choosing the Best Payment Method

Choosing the best payment method depends on several factors and personal preferences. Travelers should consider their destination, how much they plan to spend, and their security preferences before choosing a payment method. In addition, some payment methods may incur higher fees than others, especially when traveling internationally. Fees could be incurred from things like swiping plastic cards, withdrawing cash from ATMs, or reloading prepaid cards. Travelers should research fees before purchasing to ensure there are no surprises. 

While travelers commonly rely on their preferred payment method in most situations, it’s important to remember to diversify methods. It’s wise to have a preferred method, a bit of cash on hand as a backup method, along with a plastic card or a payment app available if other forms of payment fail or are not accepted. 

Published by HOLR Magazine.

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