Do multi-currency prepaid cards make sense if you want to travel during your gap year?

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Taking gap years abroad are becoming more popular with cheaper flights and more places to explore than ever before. As a student with many friends considering going on gap years or looking to travel after their course finishes, I wanted to see what was the best way to carry currency around.

Multi-currency prepaid cards are cards that enable owners to withdraw cash overseas just like you would be able to back in the owner’s’ country of origin. These cards are loaded before you travel and can be added to if you run out of sufficient funds for the rest of the trip.

Benefits to these prepaid cards include being able to withdraw cash or use the cards at your disposal without having to worry about losing cash. Most card providers set their own currency rates for the different currencies which can work as an advantage or disadvantage. But this card option is definitely something to think about if you are travelling to multiple locations.

One disadvantage however is these cards may prove to be a nuisance if you’re travelling in a country with a lack of ATM’s nearby. Using these cards may be beneficial if you are going somewhere with lots of guaranteed places that take card or cash machines nearby to withdraw funds.


Student specific travel insurance?

There are some student specified travel insurance providers online that do offer deals specifically for backpacking students taking a break away from their families. These offers differ depending on for how long students travel for and the distance they travel around the world. For example travelling around the world will be more expensive than going to a select few destinations for a limited period of time. Students should take a look at the activities the policies cover; especially if you are planning an adventurous thrill-seeking trip.

Once again it all depends on different factors as to how much cash and excess these policies cover. Typical offers from different round-the-world excursions will result in £500-£1000 maximum covered if lost or stolen. Some companies will offer more cover but will charge higher rates for taking out their insurance in the meantime.


Do insurance providers trust students?

This tells me that the industry is unprepared to risk students carrying around high amounts of currency with them and that students may be expected to lose money if they are on a long excursion around the world.

This is where looking into a prepaid card might be beneficial if you decide to take a long vacation away from the home. Without losing or risking having currency stolen abroad, cards can be replaced if stolen and they can also protect cash and save it from being lost.

If there is multiple ATM’s available round wherever you are travelling too it is definitely an alternative to carrying large amounts of cash or activating cards than can be expensive.

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Posted by Matthew Weston


Matt is a Freelance Writer and Travel Blogger. He also creates editorial and video content for UNILAD. Previously worked for the International Business Times and the BBC's Newsnight.

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