Don't get travelers' checks

Oct 23rd, 2002, 04:35 PM
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Don't get travelers' checks

Just back from wonderful visit to Italy and Switzerland. Had some travelers' checks and found them so difficult to cash. No markets or restaurants or shops would take them at all and it was a pain to stand in line at a bank to do so. Recommend ATM's as the only way to go.
Oct 23rd, 2002, 08:34 PM
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I'm with you Deb - we had the same problem in Italy. Took ages in the banks to cash them and even then, sometimes they'd only cash two so we'd have to queue again in another bank. Have never had so much difficulty cashing them before - maybe it's the electronic age?
Oct 23rd, 2002, 09:53 PM
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Agree that ATM's are the way to go. Last year we brought traveller's checks and had no problem. But we'd read how hard it is to cash them so we w/d cash whenever we needed it. Paying a small fee of $3 was worth it also.
Oct 24th, 2002, 10:51 AM
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Recently we returned from a trip to Europe and after our first withdrawal from the ATM machine in Austria we could not access funds for the entire trip. We have traveled to Europe before with no problem and were surprised at having this problem. Also other people from our state had the same problem! Thank goodness we had taken $400 in travelers checks with us--we went to a local American Express Office and cashed them in. So I must disagree--take some travelers checks for emergencies.
Oct 24th, 2002, 11:32 AM
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I agree that taking a few hundred in travelers' checks "just in case" is a good idea. We just returned from a trip to Europe. The first ATM I tried to use in London would not take my card. I almost had a heart attack. Fortunately, the next one did accept my card, and I had no further problems, but I knew that I had some travelers' checks with me if all else failed, and took some comfort in that! Besides, if you don't use the checks, you can just redeposit them in your checking account when you get home - nothing lost.
Oct 24th, 2002, 11:56 AM
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I also take a backup of travelers' checks. When we visited France and Italy, we never needed to cash them.

However, when we were in Turkey last summer, I found that there were places that didn't take credit cards and wanted American dollars (when we bought our kilim, for instance); there were also several times when we were unable to get cash from ATMs.

My husband usually gives me a hard time for getting the travelers' checks, but for once, we needed them.
Oct 24th, 2002, 01:59 PM
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The problem probably wasn't the first ATM, but the phone line. It isn't uncommon for the ATMs to be unable to verify your account transatlantic for an hour or two.

'course it wasn't that many years ago that the banks' ATm networks in the States would regularly go down for a few hours at a time. We are spoiled now-)

BTW, before you go, be sure and alert your bank (and credit card company) that you will be using the card ouside the country. It may save you from the bank's security department locking up the account thinking your card has been taken.

Oct 24th, 2002, 07:02 PM
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I wouldn't say never... I just won't take too many. They can be difficult, but if the ATM is down, and you need cash, you are in big dog doo do.... thank goodness the Scotland banks cash them easier than they do in the Netherlands, or we would still be changing sheets and washing dishes!
Oct 26th, 2002, 08:55 AM
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I only take American Express TC's and cash them at the AMEX offices. They have no fee to cash the checks. I have had a bank in England charge 5 pounds to cash a 50 pound TC !
Oct 26th, 2002, 09:07 AM
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The exchange rates on ATM's are usually much better than the travellers cheque exchange rate. I had to change my ATM code because it was longer than four didgets, European ATM's that I have used only take four didgit personal ID codes. I have a bank card and a credit card that will both access ATM's for backup reasons. I do not take t.c.'s but I do carry cash and have credit cards that permit cash advances.
Oct 26th, 2002, 09:17 AM
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I've never taken travelers' checks and always take two ATM cards. There have been times when one card got refused for 24 hours but the other always worked. I think it's more related to the phone lines. Also, I've never found it difficult to find an ATM machine and seldom have had to stand in line any longer than I would have to in the US.
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