The best UK bank accounts for travelling and travel insurance

Gert Svaiko

Have some exciting travel plans lined up? Whether you’re planning gap year adventures or a series of city breaks, you’ll need to work out the best way to access your money.

Overseas banking can be frustrating, especially when it comes to working out currency conversion rates and the real value of transaction fees. So even if you’ll be out of the country for months at a time, the best option could be a UK account.

The good news is that there are a number of bank accounts that are specially designed to meet the needs of frequent travellers and digital nomads.

It doesn’t even have to be a traditional bank account either, as alternatives such as the Wise account are tailor-made for travellers.

Wise lets you send, spend, receive, convert and manage your money in multiple currencies, always at the mid-market exchange rate. There’s even a Wise card for spending like a local in 175 countries.


Learn more about the Wise account

Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

The best travel bank accounts in the UK for frequent travellers and digital nomads

Starling Bank

Starling Bank is a mobile-only UK bank that offers unlimited international cash withdrawals and fee-free foreign spending

Starling's personal account uses Mastercard's exchange rate² for cross-border purchases and ATM transactions. It also pays 0.05% interest on credit balances up to £85,000¹ and offers FSCS protection too.²

Why it’s great for travel:

  • Manage your money on the move with the Starling app
  • Mid-market exchange rate on card transactions in multiple currencies
  • Fee-free ATM withdrawals and card payments (although ATM operators may charge their own fee).

Monzo Bank

Monzo is another digital bank designed to appeal to frequent travellers. Free ATM withdrawals are limited to £200 per month (anywhere outside the EEA) and there’s a 3% charge after that

However, you can increase your withdrawal limit by upgrading to Monzo Plus or Monzo Premium. With Premium, there’s also the chance to access travel perks like travel insurance and airport lounge discounts.³

Monzo also uses Mastercard’s exchange rate without adding fees on top.³

Why it’s great for travel:

  • Free overseas spending and limited ATM withdrawals
  • Mid-market exchange rate on card transactions in multiple currencies
  • Manage your money on the move with the Monzo mobile app
  • Upgrade to Monzo Premium for travel perks.


The HSBC Global Money Account lets you send money in over 60 currencies to 200+ countries⁴, and spend abroad using a multi-currency debit card. You’ll have access to competitive live exchange rates and can convert between currencies in your account whenever you need to.

There are no fees for spending on your HSBC card or withdrawing cash⁵, although ATM operators may charge their own fee. There is a tiny catch, though, as you’ll need to have an active HSBC current account in order to open a Global Money Account.⁴

Why it’s great for travel:

  • Manage your money through the HSBC mobile banking app
  • No fees for spending or ATM withdrawals
  • Large choice of currencies and countries.

While the HSBC travel bank account does offer easy access to competitive live exchange rates, these aren’t necessarily the best you can get. It’s likely that these rates will have a mark-up added on top, which could end up costing you more.

But, if you want to spend abroad without a mark-up on the exchange rate, consider checking out the Wise account. You’ll always get the mid-market exchange rate, with no hidden mark-up or margin. This could make your travel money go much further.

Register with Wise today

Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

Travel insurance options with bank accounts

Another option for travellers is a packaged bank account. These typically include perks like travel insurance and other benefits, in exchange for a monthly fee.

Let’s run through a few of the best UK bank accounts with travel insurance included:

NatWest bank account with travel insurance

Choose from a NatWest Reward Silver, Platinum or Black bank account and you’ll get travel insurance included. Let’s take a look:⁶

  • Reward Silver Account - comes with a £10 monthly fee and UK and European travel insurance cover for 22 days per trip (including winter sports).
  • Reward Platinum Account - pay a £20 monthly fee and you’ll get worldwide travel insurance for the whole family, up to 31 days and including winter sports.
  • Reward Black Account - for a £31 monthly fee and provided you meet minimum income requirements, you’ll get family travel insurance for worldwide trips up to 90 days (including winter sports).

You’ll need to be an existing NatWest current account holder, then upgrade your account to one of the above.

Santander bank account with travel insurance

Santander doesn’t currently offer packaged bank accounts. So, you can’t get the perk of Santander travel insurance with a bank account included as standard.

However, existing account holders can get a 30% discount⁷ on Santander’s own travel insurance policies.

HSBC bank account with travel insurance

The HSBC Premier Bank Account comes with worldwide travel insurance cover from Aviva⁸, along with other perks.

There’s no monthly fee, but you will need to meet certain eligibility requirements in order to open an account. You’ll either need to have an HSBC mortgage or life insurance policy, annual income of at least £75,000 or savings of £50,000 with the bank.⁸

Lloyds bank account with travel insurance

You can get travel insurance with Lloyds bank accounts, either by applying as a new customer or upgrading an existing Lloyds account.

There are two main packaged bank accounts to choose from at Lloyds Bank:⁹

  • Silver - £10 monthly fee, comes with UK and European multi-trip family travel insurance (up to age of 65)
  • Platinum - £21 monthly fee, comes with worldwide multi-trip family travel insurance (up to age 80).

Travel money tips

Here are a few handy tips for managing your money when taking a trip abroad:

  • Take two travel money cards, just in case one is lost or stolen
  • Make sure you have some local currency on you for emergencies, but avoid carrying around large amounts of cash
  • Consider using a money belt to keep cards and cash safe
  • Always have backups of your important documents
  • Compare costs and rates before you travel, to avoid unwelcome surprises like extra charges.

In this guide, we’ve covered a good range of bank accounts that could be ideal for travellers. While travel insurance is a handy perk of some packaged accounts, you’ll need to make sure it’s worth the monthly fee. It’s possible you could get a separate policy cheaper everywhere.

And a bigger priority could be comparing exchange rates, ATM withdrawal limits and foreign transactions. Paying for hidden fees or getting a poor exchange rate will eat away at your travel budget.

Sources used:

  1. Starling Bank - Rates, fees and charges
  2. Starling Bank - Travel
  3. Monzo - Travel
  4. HSBC Global Money Account
  5. HSBC - Global Money Account fee information
  6. NatWest - Travel Insurance
  7. Santander - Travel Insurance
  8. HSBC Premier Bank Account
  9. Lloyds Bank - Packaged Bank Accounts

Sources last checked on date: 13-Dec-2022

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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