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travellers cheques or cash or credit card?

travellers cheques or cash or credit card?

Old Jul 15th, 2009, 07:40 PM
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travellers cheques or cash or credit card?

Which is the best and easiest method of payment?
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Old Jul 15th, 2009, 07:48 PM
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Cash is king.
Credit cards are good, debit cards are better
Travellers cheques are a very poor choice, not welcomed much.
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Old Jul 15th, 2009, 07:59 PM
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also depends what you mean by "cash".....

€ cash from an ATM - yes
$ cash = nope

Credit cards - yes lots of (maybe most) places

Travelers checks - no way no how.
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Old Jul 15th, 2009, 09:34 PM
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A few years ago I spent 1mo in Italy. I charged about 1/2 of my expenses on my credit card and the other 1/2 I used cash that I got from an ATM in Italy (maximum withdrawal every few days). For one mo I had a lot of expenses, and when I did all the calculations after the fact the cost of a credit card was nearly identical to the cost of getting cash from the ATM.

The difference was smaller than the cost of a gelato per day, i.e. negligible/not worth arguing about.

I left the US with $200 US cash in my pocket and returned to the US with the same $200.

My takeaway is to use credit card where it's accepted & convenient, otherwise use cash from an ATM.
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Old Jul 15th, 2009, 11:54 PM
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my fee is quite hefty each time i withdraw - what aobut cashing tc every couple of days?
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Old Jul 16th, 2009, 12:37 AM
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Don't bother with travellers cheques, they really are a thing of the past. A pain to get exchanged and they charge a hefty rate even when they are in euros.

Schnauzer
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Old Jul 16th, 2009, 01:40 AM
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Hi Bron,

>my fee is quite hefty each time i withdraw - what aobut cashing tc every couple of days?<

You need a different bank.

TC's are strictly last resort. Whether you bring USD or Euro checks, you will almost always pay more for the exchange charges than your ATM charges.

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Old Jul 16th, 2009, 03:42 AM
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You can still buy traveler's checks?

Seriously, though, I use credit cards (usually AMEX, despite the perception that it isn't widely accepted) where I can, occassionally a debit card, and get cash from the ATM. I never bother to get cash before going to a country and just get it at the airport and/or bring along whatever random amount I happened to have in my wallet. Just remember to have a 4 digit PIN.

And define "hefty". $5? In the context of your spending, that is likely to be very little. You will almost always pay more to exchange cash or traveler's checks than you will to withdraw it from an ATM.

And, I wouldn't bother to look for a different bank, or get a different credit card. You should choose products that meet your overall financial needs, not those that save you $50 on your once-per-year vacation.
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Old Jul 16th, 2009, 06:05 AM
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yes - what does "hefty" mean? Even if they are the highest like BofA's $5 at non-affiliated bank ATMs -- that is MUCH less than you'd pay to use travelers cheques.

Plus, you'd have to find places willing to cash your TCs - even many banks won't touch them.
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Old Jul 16th, 2009, 07:15 AM
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You could put your trip money in a checking account in a convenient credit union and get a debit card from them to withdraw it. (I'm assuming you're from the US.) Credit unions generally charge only the system fee of 1% for ATM withdrawals abroad, no add-on fee. With no fee, you need only withdraw small amounts at a time. No need to carry a lot of cash.

I specify a checking account because ATMs in Europe don't let you choose from which account to withdraw. And, for my upcoming trip, I switched from a plain ATM card to a Visa debit card because the credit union is accessed internationally by the Visa system.

You do need to warn the credit union/bank about the dates of your trip so they don't refuse requests from foreign countries. And maybe up the maximum amount of your daily withdrawal.

And don't worry about the availability of ATMs; they're all over the place, even small villages.
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Old Jul 16th, 2009, 08:58 AM
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You're at the wrong bank if you're paying a hefty fee for ATM withdrawals. European banks don't charge anything - neither does my US bank. Change banks.

And forget traveler's checks. They are a dinosaur. Even IF you can find someone to take them, you're paying way more than "hefty" for the privilege.
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Old Jul 16th, 2009, 09:12 AM
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Our bank charges a $5 fee for each overseas ATM withdrawal, which over the course of a couple weeks adds up to about $20. Not chump change, but not a budget buster either. So I take our several hundred dollars at a time and that fee works out to be 1-1.5% of my withdrawals. Using TCs will cost you a lot more
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Old Jul 16th, 2009, 03:34 PM
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You're at the wrong bank if you're paying a hefty fee for ATM withdrawals. European banks don't charge anything - neither does my US bank. Change banks.

Really? Travel is such a large part of your spending/earning that you would pick your bank based upon their foreign exchange charges? Again... you should consider the cost and benefits of your bank in the context of your overall financial picture, and not base your decisions on your vacation plans. I'm no Suze Orman, but that sounds pretty short-sighted to me.

You should choose a bank or credit card that minimizes your total charges over the period of time when you expect to use the service. Period. Saving $50 on your vacation is stupid if it costs you $55 for your day-to-day spending.
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Old Jul 16th, 2009, 03:46 PM
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>

Many posters here speak of opening a bank account with advantageous foreign use rates just for travel, keeping a minimal amount of money in it most times, and loading it just before a trip.

A friend had her bank and credit card that worked for her most of the time. In 2007, she was planning a trip for her family of seven adults (parents and adult children, last hurrah after college). She would be footing the bill for 2.5 weeks in Germany, Austria, and Italy. When she took a look at her bank's fees, as well as those of her credit card, she was astounded at how that money would add up for seven people. I directed her to some of the discussions at this site. She got a Capital One card and opened an account for her trip at another bank that had much lower fees but was slightly less convenient to visit. For her, money outweighed inconvenience. At the end of the trip she estimated that this adjustment saved her about $1,000.
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Old Jul 16th, 2009, 03:46 PM
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Trav checks are a thing of the past - no one wants them, you pay fees to buy and get an awful rate of exchange if you can find someplace to change them.

A small amount of cash is fine. Carrying a lot is foolish.

Pay for as much as you can with you credit cards (checking what % fee each one has) and pull money from your checking account with an ATM (NOT credit) card for walking around money. If you bank is charging you a lot for this get a different bank.
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Old Jul 16th, 2009, 09:08 PM
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Brontem,
To get an idea of what cards cost see http://flyerguide.com/wiki/index.php...reign_Exchange
Having a backup card is a good idea.

Henry
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Old Jul 17th, 2009, 02:12 AM
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We have a credit union account that offers a favorable rate structure for ATM withdrawals in Europe and elsewhere. We keep the account mostly for travel purposes.

It also acts as a travel fund for us in that we have money transferred each payroll period from our regular accounts to this one - kind of like a Christmas club for travel So when we are ready to leave, we have a nice little slush fund built up.

Other than the case from this ATM account, we use Amex for everything we can while there.
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Old Jul 17th, 2009, 05:04 AM
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>

That's fine if you're in big cities. A lot of places in small towns in Europe won't take Amex, so it's a good idea to have a backup.

As for travelgourmet's comment about changing banks, LOTS of people have a travel account at a bank specifically because they want an account that doesn't charge for overseas withdrawals. Whether or not it's your regular bank account is irrelevant - it's worth it to open an account at a credit union or whatever so you don't get charged for ATM withdrawals overseas.
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Old Jul 17th, 2009, 06:53 AM
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Like travelgourmet we have had very few issues using Amex in Europe whether in cities or villages.

We often prepay our hotels to take advantage of low rates so our expenses when in Europe are mostly food and wine. While we do travel with a back up Visa card, we rarely have to use it.
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Old Jul 17th, 2009, 07:05 AM
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There is virtually no store in my town in the Dordogne, or any town nearby, that takes Amex. You couldn't shop at the grocery stores, buy gas, obtain entry to the tourist sites, get a drink at a local café, buy dinner at a local restaurant, or do much of anything else without a Visa or Mastercard.
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