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The Most Important Cards for Travellers

Posted: 3rd July 2015 08:53

Whilst packing your suitcase is hopefully high up on your pre-travel priority list, repacking the contents of your wallet may not have occurred to you.  Aside from cash, there are a few essential cards for you to pack into your travel wallet.


From getting on the plane to buying a drink when you get there identification is something you simply cannot travel without.  Your passport is the most obvious form of ID, but losing it or having it stolen is a risk not worth contemplating.  So lock your passport away in a safe or locker and use a driving licence instead.  A driving licence is somewhat less valuable but can still be used to prove who you are, your age and country of residence.  You may find you need ID to buy alcohol, rent a car, or for any medical needs.   

Health Insurance Card

To guard yourself from the ‘what if’s of travel, a Health Insurance Card is another wallet must.  If you’re from an EU member state and you’re travelling to another member state, you can apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).  This card is free of cost, but could entitle you to reduced rates for health care whilst you’re abroad.  It may have initially missed a spot on your to do list, but being without one could cost you dearly if the unexpected happens when you’re away from home.  Make sure you research what the EHIC entitles you to in your travel destination.

Travel Money Card

It may be worth opening a new bank account for extended periods of time away, but another great option is a travel money card.  You top the card up with money, and then use it just like a debit card in a multitude of countries and locations world-wide.  A travel money card is safer than taking your debit or credit card out with you, and allows you to set a budget for your trip, or load it up for emergency funds.  There is a plethora of these types of cards available from places such as the Post Office, Ukash and Thomson.  Shop around for the best deal and watch out for any fees for some transactions.

Discount Cards

Deserving a place in your travel wallet are discount cards.  There are a range of discount cards you can use on your travels; one of these is the International Student identity Card (ISIC).  This card is available for students from the age of 12 until the end of full time education, including gap years.  If you’re not still in full time education, the International Youth Travel Card (IYTC) is available for anyone under the age of 31.  These cards offer discounts on a range of things from travel and accommodation to shopping and attractions.  Other potential discount cards include the Youth Hostel Association Card, offering discounts at various attractions and retail outlets.

Pre-paid Phone Cards

Whilst a new SIM card or a cheap phone might be the best way to make calls in your destination, it may be costly to call home.  A pre-paid phone card works on a pay as you go basis and enables you to call home at a cheaper rate.  This card isn’t just for you to use, but also for loved ones to contact you though.  The pre-paid phone cards can be purchased in various amounts and can be used in a range of countries.  You can find a range of cards and deals from companies such as NobelCom, the Post Office and 02.

Transport Cards

For travelling back home or making the most of being in a new location transport cards are an ideal way to make the most of being away from home.  InterRail or Eurail passes are a great option for travelling by train between a large number of European countries.  You can also buy passes for a single country, allowing you to completely explore your new location or uncover a new one.  If you prefer travelling by coach Eurolines offer great coach passes too. You can also find various deals and discounts online on these and other transport cards making travelling even more affordable. 

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