Top 10 Wallet Essentials: What’s In My Wallet When I Travel

Travel cards, travel cards, travel cards! What else should you remember to pack in your wallet?

I’d like to think I have a pretty nice spread in my wallet for all my traveling needs. With the cards and documents that I bring while traveling abroad, I ensure that all my bases are covered so that I’m able to optimize my travel points earning potential while saving the most amount of money. There ends up being a card for everything! Here’s what’s in my wallet when traveling:

What's In My Travel Wallet

Credit card #1: Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve is my ultimate travel card. I use it for all those dining and travel expenses that earn me 3 points for every $1 spent.

Credit card #2: Barclaycard Arrival

Barclaycard Arrival is currently my travel card for all other purchases, as this card gives me 2 points for every $1 spent. (Why not use the Reserve for everything? Well, since the Reserve pays out 1 point for “everything else” non-travel related, I earn more points using a “2x points for all purchases” card for everyday purchases such as gas, groceries, clothes, and entertainment.)

Debit card #1: Charles Schwab Bank ATM card

My go-to debit card for any ATM transactions is my Charles Schwab Bank ATM card, tied to my travel-specific Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking® Account. There are so many instances where I’ve needed to pull out cash from the ATM’s, it’s unavoidable. No ATM fees means no worries about getting jipped by banks and ATMs when abroad!

Debit card #2: Citibank debit card

I currently bank with Citibank, so I will also bring my normal brick and mortar bank card, just in case my Charles Schwab one doesn’t work for some reason or becomes lost. It’s always good to have a backup source of funds!

Travels With Elle
Lounge access beats sitting at the gate for hours…

Priority Pass Card

For airline lounge access! Because who doesn’t like faster/better WiFi, free food and drinks, nap rooms, and showers? I carry this with me whenever I travel just in case I pop into an airport early or have a long layover in between flights. I can’t tell you how much more pleasant my time at airports have been since taking advantage of my lounge access. Please note, Priority Pass only allows access to certain lounges– and at the more major airports, only allows access to lounges at certain times of the day.  (If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, this card is complimentary and you’re able to bring guests into the lounges for free)

Travel Smarter with instant airport lounge access – up to 10% Priority Pass membership 

Student ID card

A life-saver when I plan on visiting paid attractions in a city. Major attractions often have discounted admission for students. Simply present the ID card if asked and save that money!

Health Insurance card

In case of emergencies; always good to carry all necessary medical documents.

Local currency

I always carry some cash because you never know when you’ll stumble upon a local farmer’s market or flea market. Bus stations often only take cash for bus tickets. Some hole in the wall restaurants may only take cash. (As my Chinese dad would say, “cash is KING!”) Cash is definitely very useful and I definitely find more instances where it’s needed abroad compared to back home in the US.

bank notes travel cards
Don’t forget to bring cash! “Cash Only” is definitely a thing you’ll still encounter often when abroad.

Some USD or Euro tucked away

Just in case I find myself in a pickle. Chances are, there will be some foreign exchange shop close by that you can change your money into the local currency for use.

If you have any questions about why I’ve chosen these travel cards or how to obtain any of them for yourself, please feel free to ask in the comments below or send me a message!


Are you packing for a trip abroad soon? Check out my post on how to pack smart and light for extended travel!


Read More:

How I Saved Up $10,000 to Travel The World for 3 Months

10 Things I Wish I’d Known Before My 3 Month Trip to Europe

10 Things You’ll Need to Prepare Before Your Trip


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