Cash or Travellers Checks

Old Dec 7th, 2004, 08:25 AM
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My only problem with getting TC's in pounds is that you pay an exchange fee to get those, plus fees to AmEx. Once he's there, he will often pay a fee to cash them. Daisy54 mentions using them in hotels or large department stores, but he will be staying with friends, not in hotels, and will probably not make any huge purchases at department stores. Then if he brings any home you will pay an exchange fee again to redeem them. At least with US$ TC's you will not pay a fee to cash them at home. This is why I never buy TC's in foreign currency, although these days I hardly buy TC's at all.

Spokandan, I think your plan for the ATM card is a good one, although the idea of getting GBP cash in advance wouldn't hurt. The pre-paid credit card would be OK if the fees aren't too high. I also use Bank of America and have never had trouble finding Barclay's machines.
P_M is offline  
Old Dec 7th, 2004, 08:51 AM
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Spokandan, I agree with what Bob Brown and others have said about back up plans in the event of a medical emergency.

The 21-year-old son of British friends of ours visited us in July 2004. He had sprained his finger (or so he thought) during a water skiing accident in British Columbia about a week before he reached us.

His finger still was swollen, purple and painful while he was with us, so we managed to persuade him to take a bit of time out from his partying with our son and his young travelling companions to go to a walk-in medical clinic and get his finger checked out.

It turned out that he had broken his finger, and the bone had rotated the wrong way. He needed surgery (fortunately only outpatient surgery) to get the bone rotated the right way and have pins inserted into his finger.

He had an excellent health insurance policy that covered all of his emergency medical expenses. The problem was that he had to pay the hospital upfront, and then submit receipts to the insurance company so he could be reimbursed. He didn't have enough cash, enough money in his bank account to withdraw cash with his debit card or a high enough limit on his credit card to pay for the surgery himself.

My husband paid for the surgery, and then our UK friends (the young man's parents) subsequently reimbursed us.

Also be aware that some health insurance policies require that the insured person calls the insurance company and receives permission to get treatment. I think most of them allow the insured person to receive treatment without pre-authorisation if it's a true emergency that requires immediate action, e.g., burst appendix, bad car acccident that necessitates life-saving surgery, or whatever.

When our then 16-year-old son stayed with Australian friends, we gave his Australian host parents a letter authorising them to use their best judgement in the event of a medical emergency. As it happened, our son broke his wrist in a skate boarding accident, and required orthopedic surgery. It felt too awful having our son laid up in hospital thousands of miles away and not being able to rush to his bedside. But his host parents secured the services of a top notch orthopedic surgeon, and his host mom gave him lots of TLC afterwards. It all worked out fine in the end. The overseas experience was highly educational and MORE than worth the risks.

Sorry to dwell on possible negative scenarios. It's very unlikely that anything like that will come to pass, but if it happens you'll be very glad to have put systems in place to deal with it.
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Old Dec 7th, 2004, 01:05 PM
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Judy in Calgary's story of the medical expenses incurred by her British visitor reminded me of something my mother told about the visit she and my grandmother (both U.S. citizens) made to Britain. They were taking a Thames river cruise in London when Nana fell on the steps and hurt her ankle. When the boat docked they took a cab to the nearest hospital where Nana's sprained ankle was tended to. My mom went to pay the bill and could not find any kind of cashier or billing office to take her money. They ended up leaving without paying for the treatment and were never contacted by the hospital for it. Now Nana was born in Scotland but since her family emigrated to America when she was six I doubt she was still covered by the NHS!
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Old Dec 8th, 2004, 05:54 AM
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Daisy, your grandmother probably didn't need to pay for treatment to her ankle if it was at an NHS accident & emergency dept. as all immediately neccesary emergency treatment is free to anyone in NHS hospitals, unless they require in-patient treatment.
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Old Dec 9th, 2004, 07:53 AM
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For some reason at the moment Barclays ATM's are not accepting Mastercard and Nat West are not accepting Visa. Not sure why? Any ideas?
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Old Dec 9th, 2004, 08:40 AM
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Hi adam,

Is one on the Maestro system and the other on Cirrus?
ira is offline  
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