Currency card confusion

Don't get caught out with hefty card fees when abroad or bad exchange rates on last minute cash bought at the airport - plan ahead with a prepaid card.

Money is a big factor when travelling, as is getting the most out of it. So how can you avoid card fees that eat into spending money when abroad?

This is where prepaid cards come in – although only 4% British travellers consider using them, according to a recent survey.

I can understand why: there are dozens of cards and wading through the terminology can be a minefield. When I first started looking into one for my upcoming travels, I felt overwhelmed.

So what do you need to know? Basically, you load a set amount of money onto a card. It's protected the same way your credit or debit card is - think: a modern day version of traveller's cheques, and can easily be topped up. It's also safer than cash and replaceable – most companies will post one out straight away if yours is lost or stolen.

There are three main things to consider: how often will you withdraw money from an ATM? Will you be using the card in more than one country? And will you be making many purchases with it?

If you'll be doing lots of small withdrawals, choose one with no ATM fees. Or, if you're concerned you might use it in more than one country pick a global or anywhere card. And always look for companies offering cards that are free to get initially, and don't charge for spending.

Finally, research the exchange rates they offer on comparison sites. I've found one that ticks all the right boxes, and although it did take some time, I know I've gotten a far better rate than if I'd bought my currency last minute at the airport.