Travelling overseas could prove more expensive than you bargained for if you spend on an ordinary credit card while you're away.

Most standard credit cards apply an additional percentage fee to every transaction you make while overseas. At around 3% a time these International Charges can add to the cost of using your credit card abroad significantly.

However, you can avoid these charges completely by applying for one of the best credit cards for abroad several weeks before you travel.

There is a growing selection of overseas credit cards targeted at people who plan on using their card abroad, many of these will allow you to use your card to make purchases without applying international charges.

So, when looking for the best credit card abroad you will need to compare the international charges, transaction fees, interest charges and exchange fees applied so that you can narrow down your options to just the cheapest credit cards to use abroad and apply for the one that will work best for you.

Other perks are also often available with the best credit cards for abroad, including 0% interest on purchases for a set period, and freebies such as travel insurance and airmiles. However, these sweeteners are only worthwhile if they're combined with fee free spending otherwise the amount you'll have to pay in charges will outweigh the rewards you earn.

Irrespective of charges and benefits you still need to be smart when using your credit card abroad.

Withdrawing cash using your card is still likely to incur a cash advance charge so should be avoided if at all possible, and you'll need to have the funds available to pay off your spending in full when you return to the UK or you'll soon start accruing interest charges.

One final point to consider is that while overseas credit cards are great for cutting your costs while you're on holiday, once you return to the UK they are likely to be less attractive.

As a result it makes sense to keep your overseas credit card for use outside the UK and look elsewhere for the best credit card to use while you're at home so you are always getting the most from your cards.

To find the best credit cards abroad free of hefty overseas charges, use our credit cards abroad comparison table but make sure to apply with plenty of time before you travel or your card could arrive too late.