Does iTunes match need to locate the actual files or just see its record in your library database? I am currently traveling in US and I have US and Australian iTunes accounts. But all my music files are on a hard drive in Australia.

Does iTunes match need to locate the actual files or just see its record in your library database? I am currently traveling in US and I have US and Australian iTunes accounts. But all my music files are on a hard drive in Australia. Can I start using itunes music match while I am travelling without the actual music files attached to my itunes?

In your situation I strongly recommend you read over that KB article. The international iTunes Stores are not cross-compatible.
My understanding of how it would work is that when activating iTunes Match on your US Store account, any songs you have in your iTunes Library that were purchased from the AUS Store account will NOT be matched. As I understand it, those files will be uploaded (which means you need the files on a local HDD). I also do not think it is possible to have iTunes Match active on more than one store ID on the same computer. But since iTunes Match is not available internationally yet, that point is moot for the moment.
To be honest you might want to wait until the service is available internationally so you can guage how will it will serve you.

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