Payment methods when Travelling

Good things to know when preparing for your flight: Payment methods when Travelling

Payment methods when Travelling

Payment Methods when Travelling

Booking travel is, unfortunately, not free unless you are redeeming loyalty points to pay for a flight or taking advantage of another person’s generosity. Flights, hotels, car hire, airport transfers and airport parking all cost money. Most airlines and travel agents accept payments made by cash, cheque and credit or debit cards at the time of booking a flight or hotel, either online or in person, and the same payment methods apply when travelling at home and abroad.

Travelling in the UK or abroad incurs a wide variety of different costs, ranging from flights, accommodation and public transport fares to the daily expenses of food and drinks, so it is always advisable to carry money in one form or another. Cash is the most obvious method of payment at home or abroad, but it is not always advisable to carry a large sum of cash for obvious reasons, so alternative payment methods are normally recommended. Each payment method has its pros and cons and some are more flexible than others, so before booking and embarking on travel at home or abroad, it is advisable to carefully consider which payment methods are most appropriate to your individual requirements.

Credit Card

A credit card is often the most convenient method of paying for flights, hotels, and other travel arrangements, at home and abroad, plus you can earn loyalty points by using a credit card to book travel. Credit cards also offer consumers protection should any serious problems occur, for example if the travel company or airline goes bust. However, credit protection is only applicable when the purchase costs £100 or more. Many operators charge an extra fee when paying for flights and other travel via credit card and it is also important to remember that any transactions made abroad using a credit card will incur commission fees, in particular cash withdrawals.

Debit Card

A debit card can be a quick and easy way of paying for flights and travel at home or abroad, particularly when booking online, but not all debit cards are accepted abroad. Online travel bookings made in the UK using a debit card are normally free, although some companies do charge a fee for processing the transaction, but debit card transactions made abroad in hotels, shops and restaurants will incur extra charges and fees. Visa debit cards are accepted everywhere in the UK and many places internationally, but some other types of debit cards cannot be used abroad to book flights, hotels and other goods and services, so check with the card provider before travel.


Bank cheques can be used to pay for travel booked in the UK, but travellers will not be able to pay by cheque abroad. However, traveller's cheques are a useful way of taking money abroad and unlike cash, travellers’ cheques can be replaced if they are subsequently lost or stolen. Traveller's cheques are bought in advance for fixed amounts. Sterling and foreign currency cheques can then be converted to local currency in shops, hotels, banks and Bureau de Changes. Commission is payable on traveller's cheques bought in foreign currency prior to flying abroad. In some countries, travellers’ cheques can also be used to pay for flights, hotels and other services directly.

Prepaid Cards

Prepaid cards are becoming an increasingly popular way of paying for flights and hotels worldwide. They are a safe, flexible and convenient way of taking money abroad. Money is loaded on to the card prior to flying abroad and travellers have the peace of mind of knowing they cannot exceed their spending limit, although cards can be topped up again if necessary. Lost or stolen prepaid cards are protected from fraudulent transactions and a replacement will be issued. There may be a card application charge, but fees are generally low. Fees vary between different card providers, but most charge for ATM cash withdrawals.


Cash can be used to pay for flights and hotels in the UK and is the easiest payment method to use whilst travelling. In most cases it is advisable to keep a reasonable quantity of cash on hand to pay for any out of pocket expenses. However, cash represents a significant security risk and if a wallet or purse containing cash is lost or stolen, insurance companies place strict limits on the amount of cash that can be claimed for. Because of the security risks associated with cash, it is never advisable to carry a large amount of cash when flying overseas; it is safer to take travellers’ cheques or cards instead.

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