If you are planning on traveling long term there is likely to come a time when you are going to need to send or receive money abroad. In this post, I’m going to explore some of the best options for transferring money internationally to help you make an informed decision.
There have been several times when I’ve had to personally send and receive money while abroad and it can be super stressful, and get expensive!
International Bank Transfer
This is possibly the most expensive way of transferring money abroad. Plus it can get tricky as you will need to have the other person’s bank details. If you are using this method of transferring money abroad then be sure you triple check everything before you send the money. Once the money leaves your account it can be impossible to get it back if you have made a mistake.
It is also a good idea to watch out for the exchange rates if you are sending in a different currency from your own.
Although making an international bank transfer might seem like a good option the person receiving the money will need a bank account to receive the money, no good if that person needs the money because they have lost their bank card!
Western Union saved my backside on more than one occasion. Seriously. If you are unlucky like me and manage to lose your bank card while abroad then there is a good chance that using their money sending service is going to be the only thing to get you cash when you need it.
I once lost my bank card while traveling and had to get my Dad to transfer money to Africa online for me. Lucky for me within a few hours, I was able to head to the closest Western Union armed with a code and my passport and they handed over the cash and I breathed a sigh of relief!
I used to use PayPal all the time, but I must admit, I’m now using it less and less. Mostly because of the fees they are charging. They take 5% of your money, which really sucks. There have also been a few times when they have put the money I have received on hold and made me wait to receive it.
PayPal can be great for shopping and if you manage to get a PayPal debit card it’s a good backup. But it’s not so great for transferring money abroad unless you don’t mind having to accept their crappy exchange rate and paying the 5% fee. I’d give it a miss in favor of a company that won’t take all your money!
Transferwise is a great alternative to PayPal. It’s now my go-to money transfer service if I need to send money from my bank account to their bank account. By using Transferwise you are able to avoid getting overcharges or dealing with terrible exchange rates. They tell you the fees upfront and you can hold balances in multiple currencies.
If you need to send cash abroad then Western Union is your best bet. Your money is safe and will arrive at its destination in super quick speed. If however, you want to send or receive money from bank account to bank account then choose a service like Transferwise.
Book your trip now
Are you ready to book your trip? To help you get the best deals and service here are the companies that I personally use to book all of my travel online. I always shop around before booking anything, but these are my tried and tested starting places.
- Skyscanner – I’m a bit fan of Skyscanner, it is who I use to book all of my flights. I often will check other like Google Flights or Momodo, but I always go here first and it is who I book 99% of my flights with.
- Booking.com – I LOVE booking.com especially when I can book and cancel free up until a certain point, mostly because my plans are forever changing. It’s easy to use and has one of the widest selections.
- Airbnb – I’m not a huge user of Airbnb, but sometimes I do like to use it, and I ALWAYS check it before I book anything else. You can get some really cool places to stay here, and it is especially good in places like Cuba. If you don’t have an account and you click on this link then you will get $36 off your first booking.
- Hostelworld – If you are looking for hostels then this is a great place to check first. They often have additional places that you won’t find on Bookin.com.
- Agoda – Although I don’t use it as much as booking.com, Agonda is especially good if you are traveling in Asia as they really do dominate there.
- Worldpackers – If you want to travel on the cheap and save money on accommodation then you need Worldpackers in your life. You can read more about it here. If you click this link to sign up and use the code CLAIRESITCHYFEET then you can get a 40% discount on your membership!
- Book a Way – If you are traveling in Asia and want to pre-book your transportation then bookaway.com is a fantastic site to do so. They have buses, trains, and cars.
- RentalCars – Looking to rent a. car while you are away? I always book through Rental Cars as they do a search of all of the big sites and find the best deals.
- Welcome Pickups – Very occasionally getting from the airport to my accommodation is a total pain in the butt, or I’m traveling in a group and it makes sense to arrange a pickup. When I do I use Welcome pickups.
- World Nomads – If you are looking for flexible travel insurance then it’s World Nomads all the way. I wrote all about insurance here if you want a more thorough review.
- SafetyWing – AsI’m a Digital Nomad and not moving around quite so much anymore I personally use SafetyWing now for my health insurance. I wrote a full review here.
- Viatour – Sometimes it can be a little expensive, but I like Viatour for somethings, especially if you can get a discount code! It’s also great for inspiration.
- Klook – If you are traveling in Asia, then Klook is great! You can book all kinds of tours, activities, and train tickets, plus they even have sim cards and WiFi.