If it’s your first time travelling abroad, getting a travel card, also known as a Forex card, can save you real money. You can slash expenses like flights, hotels, dining, and more with the right card. This guide breaks down everything you need to know as a newbie, from picking the best starter card to maximizing perks so your first global adventure feels more affordable.

What is a Travel Card?

A travel card specifically designed for travellers provides perks and rewards points related to travelling. The main difference from regular credit cards is that travel cards earn users points or miles that can be redeemed for free flights, rental cars, and other travel expenses.

Many travel cards also include useful travel benefits like:

  • No foreign transaction fees on international purchases
  • Travel insurance protections 
  • Lounge access 
  • Discounts on airfare, hotels, rental cars
  • Priority boarding and flight upgrades

How Travel Cards Differ from Other Credit Cards

While most credit cards offer some kind of rewards, such as cashback or merchandise, travel rewards cards cater specifically to frequent travellers. Your points or miles are tied directly to travel expenses and redemptions.

Many travel cards also offer exclusive travel benefits not typically included with cashback credit cards. These include lost luggage reimbursement, rental car insurance, and others.

In addition, popular travel cards like the zero forex markup card have no foreign transaction fees. This means no 3% markup every time you use your card abroad at restaurants, hotels, shops, etc. 

How Do Travel Credit Cards Work?

Travel credit cards work similarly to other credit cards regarding earning and redeeming rewards with a travel focus. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Use your travel card: Whether booking flights, paying hotels, dining out, shopping on trips, or daily spending, transactions stack up rewards.
  • Rack up miles or points: Every dollar spent on your travel card equals a certain amount of points or frequent flyer miles. Rates vary across cards.
  • Redeem travel rewards: Once you hit a redemption threshold, use your accumulated points/miles to book “free” flights, hotel nights, car rentals, cruises, etc.

What to Look for in a First Travel Card 

Since there are many options, narrowing down a good first use of Forex card can be overwhelming. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • No Annual Fee: For your first card, get something without a pricey or waived annual fee the first year. You can upgrade to premium cards with bigger perks later.
  • General Travel Rewards: Aim for a card with transferable rewards – points/miles you can transfer and redeem across various airlines and hotels. This gives you flexibility compared to a branded airline or hotel card.

Do I Need a Travel Card?

While not completely necessary, the use of Forex card can reward you with all types of benefits. For infrequent travellers, occasional redemptions can negate annual fees and offer perks that are not typical of other cards. But focusing on a basic no-fee card is recommended to start.

Maximising a premium travel card with airport lounge access, statement credits, and cardholder discounts can make travel extremely rewarding and comfortable for frequent travellers. Taking advantage of these cards’ perks can make them well worth holding in your wallet if you travel regularly.

The Bottom Line

No matter what, if you ever take trips – whether across the state, country, or world – using a travel rewards credit card for the spending you’d be doing anyway adds nice potential for point redemptions.

So consider getting a travel card as an easy way to make travel more accessible and affordable over time, even if starting with a no-frills starter card initially.