Travelers Cheques

Feb 26th, 2006, 03:07 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
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Travelers Cheques

This summer I'm departing on a three month trip through Europe. I plan on spending a month in the UK (visiting family) and 2 months seeing the rest of Europe with my railpass. I know it's very easy and cheap to cash travelers cheques in the UK but what is it like in the rest of Europe? I'm reluctant to take all my money in cash, in case I lose it or it gets stolen. Any suggestions? Thanks! =)
IainH is offline  
Feb 26th, 2006, 03:48 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
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I don't think it is easy to cash travellers checks in the U.K. I know it is not cheap.

Last time I used TCs in England was, admitedly, a number of years ago, but even then it required waiting in line at Barkleys, where I had an account, and hassle with I.D. etc. Just use ATMs; much easier and less costly.

Have a wonderful trip!

nukesafe is offline  
Feb 26th, 2006, 03:51 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,577
It is much easier and safer to use an ATM card to get cash from your bank account. Most likely less expensive, too.
cls2paris is offline  
Feb 26th, 2006, 03:52 PM
  #4  
P_M
 
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"I know it's very easy and cheap to cash travelers cheques in the UK"

Wow, that's a blast from the past, and certainly no longer true!! No smart traveler uses TC's anymore. The ATM is the way to go. The exchange rate is much better, the fees are lower, and the ATM works round the clock. If you want to take TCs as a back-up that's OK, but you'll end up bringing them all home and re-depositing them into your bank, so make sure they are in US dollars, or whatever your local currency is.
P_M is offline  
Feb 26th, 2006, 04:42 PM
  #5  
 
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lainH,
TC are NOT easy to use. The last time I tried to use them (4 yrs ago), I had to go to a bank to cash them. No store (except Harrods) would take them. And the fee charged to cash EACH one was high (can't remember what).
Atms are very easy to use and are everywhere. Just check to make sure your bank charges you nothing or minimal amts to use the out of network ATMs. Also make sure you use a BANK atm vs a rental (convenience store, casino, etc). The non-bank ones can and do charge a fee for ATM use. They are supposed to say upfront and on the machine that they charge. But from my experience, they are not well labelled.

I travel to the UK very frequently so I save whatever cash I have for my next trip. But I noticed that I rarely use cash. I often come back with almost the same amt I started with. I use credit cards which are accepted just about everywhere.
nibblette is offline  
Feb 26th, 2006, 04:52 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Travelers Checks are rapidly becoming history.

Keith
Keith is offline  
Feb 26th, 2006, 05:04 PM
  #7  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,449
Hi LH,

A couple of suggestions.

Rail travel in Europe is relatively inexpensive. There are many discounted fares.

Before buying a railpass of any sort, enter your itinerary at www.railsaver.com and click "only if it saves money".

Also, if you are traveling in France look for PREMS fares on www.voyages-sncf.com.

In Italy, there are often 15E fares on www.trenitalia.com

In Germany, you can find 1/2 price tickets at www.bahn.de

As noted above, TCs are now used only as emergency backup.

Use a credit card for whatever can be charged and get cash with your ATM card.

Have a nice visit.

ira is online now  
Feb 26th, 2006, 06:58 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
TC are a terrible idea. They guarantee a very bad rate of exchange, are usually expensive to buy and are inconvenient and expensive to sell.

(Many banks will change them only for their own customers and many restaurants, stores and hotels won;t take them at all. If so - it will be at an outrageous rate of exchange.)

For the least expense and most convenience you should pay for as much as possible with you credit cards and get cash for walking around money with your ATM card (attached to a checking account only - savings usually won;t work).
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 26th, 2006, 07:26 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
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If I'm not mistaken, and any European Fodorites can correct me if I'm wrong, but European banking has for some time gone to electronic funds transfers for the overwhelming majority of transactions. It is not possible to handle a paper check without a big fee. Everyone there uses debit cards for purchases and ATM cash, and pre-arranged EFTs for payment of bills. So, you can certainly expect the most maximum fee possible for cashing a traveler's check, as well as the accompanying paperwork, ID check, etc. A traveler's check just simply goes "against the grain".
platzman is offline  
Feb 26th, 2006, 07:51 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,420
And those commercials about how you can get the checks replaced.... they lie!

Yes, you will EVENTUALLY get your money back, but plan on a day of "hassle" for it! I tried to talk the group I was traveling with out of these last year. They ignored me and somehow lost $7,000 in checks between the airport and Victoria Station. Lucky for them I had planned ahead and had LOTS of cash in my checking account for just such emergencies. It took us three days to get this money back! (And have you ever filed a police report when the victim is clueless???)

CarolA is offline  
Feb 26th, 2006, 07:56 PM
  #11  
P_M
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,825
Interesting, CarolA. Those AmEx commercials tick me off too, but for a different reason. They make it sound like AmEx TC's are readily accepted as cash anywhere in the world. But we travelers know that's a load of garbage!!
P_M is offline  
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