Euro Travelers Checks

Old Mar 27th, 2002, 06:32 AM
  #21  
Patrick
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My favorite travelers' check story is that one time I carried several US currency ones with me for emergencies. My ATM and credit cards worked for everything. The day before we were to return home we were in Geneva, and it occurred to me we didn't have any US cash. So I went into a Geneva American Express office to cash a $100 US AE travelers' check. Should be simple, right? Actually they would only cash it in Swiss francs, taking their exchange rate. Then they'd exchange the Swiss francs for US dollars, again taking their exchange rate. The bottom line was that for my $100 travelers' check, I would get just over $70 in US cash. Needless to say, I didn't cash the check, but used the ATM in the Miami airport and cashed in the checks when I got home. Cashing US travelers' checks into a foreign currency puts you totally at the mercy of the agency or bank cashing them, and don't think you will be getting full value for them like you do when you take money out of your ATM or even use your credit card.
 
Old Mar 27th, 2002, 07:12 AM
  #22  
Jim
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Although I don't necessarily recommend the use of TC's, they are useful now that you can buy them in Euros instead of Marks, Lire, Francs. Many B&B's won't accept credit cards but will accept TC's. I have also never been to a hotel that didn't accept TC's in their currency as payment.(Good way to use up leftovers before flying home.)
 
Old Mar 27th, 2002, 10:47 AM
  #23  
John
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In my experience, there's not too much difference between using cash, trav checks, ATM cards and credit cards in Europe as long as you do your research or have past experience with them. There are potential pitfalls with any of them in certain scenarios, but the more options you have to make payments the better. Trav checks are even more appealing now that they are avail in euros.
 
Old Mar 28th, 2002, 02:09 AM
  #24  
Stephenie
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I've a question here. Can I just bring my traveller cheques (citibank USD) and exchange them to french franc/Swiss Franc in the airport in Paris/Zurich? I've done this is London airport and I didn't face any problem, would it be any in France/Switzerland? Please advise.
 
Old Mar 28th, 2002, 02:12 AM
  #25  
Ursula
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Stephanie: Of course you can change your USD traveller cheques into Swiss Francs in Switzerland. You can change at the airport ,but also at the train station or at any bank.
But in France, you will get Euro for it. French Francs are gone since mid-March or so.
 
Old Mar 28th, 2002, 02:20 AM
  #26  
stephenie
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Thanks, Ursula.
 
Old Mar 28th, 2002, 06:38 AM
  #27  
Joyce1
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Some advice:

1. Take Travelers Checks as backups, in case your credit card gets lost of stolen. (Store the TCs separately, or in the hotel safe.) If you belong to AAA, the TCs are free. Also, depending on what credit card or ATM card you use, it can be less expensive to get cash from your TCs.

2. Always buy TCs in US $. Otherwise you will have to reconvert unused TCs to US $ after returning to the USA. You will have to pay extra for this reconversion.

Also, having TCs in US $ means unused TCs can be used for future trips in any country in the world.

The stores in most countries do not accept TCs of ANY currency when you make purchases. Cashing TCs requires going to a bank or currency exchange office. I have never found this to be a problem.
 
Old Mar 28th, 2002, 06:49 AM
  #28  
Bob Brown
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Stan: I think the scene has changed in the last 6 months on credit cards.
I know last September in Europe I used a Wachovia card because BOA started charging an extra conversion fee.
Shortly after I returned home, I got a notice from Wachovia saying that the extra conversion fee was being implemented. (I think some other bank took over.) So that move sent me scrambling for another card for use in Canada and Europe in a few weeks.
I understand that MBNA does not yet charge each transaction an extra 2%.

What alarms me, however, is the number of people who do not know the difference between a debit (check) card and a credit card. One friend of mine (college professor)who went off to Europe complained to me that my advice had cost him umpteen dollars. I asked him to explain himself. Turns out that he had used his credit card to withdraw money from ATM's in Europe. He did not have an ATM card!! Nor did he know about cash advances. Talk about an educated idiot.

 
Old Mar 28th, 2002, 06:54 AM
  #29  
trying
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The case against travelers checks is not as good as some of you suggest, if you get them free from AAA or your bank (my bank offers that service). First of all you should only get TCs in US$, or you will pay 2x (once for converting the US$ into foreign currency TCs and again when you cash the TCs). If in US$, you are only charged a conversion when cashed in Europe. Careful selection of money changing windows keeps the conversion rate loss to a minimum. Granted, if you can pay for something with a bankcard (debit or credit) that may be slightly better, BUT banks are increasingly charging a fee for European purchases and/or cash withdrawals, plus your bank's conversion rate may not be better than a good change window in Europe.
 
Old Mar 28th, 2002, 06:57 AM
  #30  
trying
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Stephenie: One comment: Sometimes the rates found at change windows in hubs such as airports or train stations are not as good as those in the cities themselves. Those windows have a captured audience. I haven't done a "study", but you are probably getting roughly the same rate your own bank would have charged you. So I typically arrive with enough local currency to get me started, then as I walk around and sitesee, I not who has the best rates, etc.
 
Old Mar 28th, 2002, 07:06 AM
  #31  
Ursula
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Stepanie: Be careful with "money changers" in Paris when it says "no fees or no commission". The exchange rate is very often miserable.
In Switzerland, you won't have that problem. Just change at any of the banks either at the airport or at the train station (it says "Change" there) next to the Tourist Board. The exchange rates will be just the same as anywhere downtown. Don't change at hotels. Their rates are always worse.
 
Old Mar 28th, 2002, 01:40 PM
  #32  
Patrick
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To "Trying":
I'm confused by what you explain to be the advantages of buying TC's in US dollars rather than Euros. If you buy travelers checks in Euros while you are in the US, you will pay a conversion rate when you buy them. But when you cash them in Europe, there will be no conversion rate, you will get full face value. If you buy them in the US in US dollars, you won't pay a conversion rate here, but you will pay a conversion rate when you cash them in Europe. If I were to get travelers checks, I'd get them in Euros (assuming you are going to Euro based countries). I would rather trust the conversion rate at my local AAA or even bank, then to worry about the highway robbery conversion rate likely to be charged at a hotel or other place in Europe. In either case, you are only paying for one conversion rate, not two. I don't buy the idea of the advantage of the US ones so you won't have to convert them again when you get home. Why not start doing a little figuring when you near the end of your trip and use them all up paying for your last hotel or two? If you have them in Euros you will get full value for them and you won't have any to bring home.
 
Old Mar 28th, 2002, 01:49 PM
  #33  
xxx
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Have any of you ever looked at those little charts European hotels post than show their exchange rates? Many are as much as a 10%-12% difference from current exchange rates. I'd never think of using a US travelers cheque to pay a hotel bill because they'll add an extra 10%. If you have the cheques in their local currency, at least you know you will get the full face value.

If you are carrying travelers cheques for emergencies, that also means you might need to cash one at a hotel on a weekend or a time when the banks aren't open. Then you will also suffer from the hotel's poor exchange rate unless the cheques are already in local currency.

I like Patrick's idea of using them up to pay your hotel bills at the end of the trip, but only if they are in local currency.
 
Old Mar 28th, 2002, 03:15 PM
  #34  
trying
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To Patrick: Your premise is that AAA's conversion rate is better than what can be had in Europe and that your hotel will take Euro TCs at the end of the trip. I can't necessarily subscribe to those premises, though those circumstances could occur. We know we can cash US$ TCs for free at the end of the trip. Additionally, what little I have heard indicates Euro TCs aren't widely accepted, so they will need to be converted to actual Euros for daily use. Won't change windows (other than AE) charge a fee for that service? In reality, I try to pay for hotels or major purchases with credit cards, but use US$ TCs for cash.
 
Old Mar 28th, 2002, 03:25 PM
  #35  
Euros
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Is there an echo in here. I thought Jim said the advantages of Euro Traveler's checks was that you could get rid of them at your last hotel before leaving for the states.
 
Old Mar 28th, 2002, 03:39 PM
  #36  
patty
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Patrick,
On other posts you said you wouldn't be caught dead buying travelers checks,now you're defending buying them in Euros
 

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