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Travellers cheques or cash passport

Australia
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208 posts
49 reviews
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Travellers cheques or cash passport

Does anybody know if traveller's cheques are still widely used in Alaska to pay for accommodation, goods and services etc?

The other option is a Cash Passport, a preloaded card operating under the Visa network. I'm just not sure which would be best for my Alaska travel.

Yukon, Canada
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1,218 posts
6 reviews
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1. Re: Travellers cheques or cash passport

You'll find the Cash Passport much more convenient (with some real cash for small purchases). Travelers Cheques aren't seen much anymore.

Greater Sydney...
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19,472 posts
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2. Re: Travellers cheques or cash passport

I have to agree with the above post, without hesitation. Travellers cheques are well passed their use by date everywhere.

Wylie.Texas
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186 posts
15 reviews
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3. Re: Travellers cheques or cash passport

Hey

Last summer i had no problem using travelers checks all over Alaska.The large hotel or small shops all took them

David

Yukon, Canada
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1,218 posts
6 reviews
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4. Re: Travellers cheques or cash passport

We didn't say that you can't use them, just that they're seldom seen anymore.

fti
MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
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15,825 posts
30 reviews
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5. Re: Travellers cheques or cash passport

The problem with the "cash passport" as you describe it is that most likely there are hefty fees incurred with that. My experience is that purchasing pre-loaded debit cards, whether VISA or AmEx (I rarely see Master Card) are just not worth the fees - at least for me.

I can get travelers checks for free and if it were between free travelers checks and a fee-loaded prepaid card, I would use travelers checks in a heartbeat. As mentioned, they are widely accepted.

Having said that, if you have an ATM card from your local bank, that will work just as well or better. You can withdraw money from ATM's all over Alaska, and there are ATM's everywhere. Usually a small fee ($1.50-$3) on this end and maybe a fee from your end. But if you withdraw $200-$500 at a time, it seems like a much smaller fee than prepaid debit cards.

If you purchase travelers checks, get the US Dollar denominated ones, not Australian dollar checks. Unfortunately US banks are in the 19th century when it comes to foreign currency conversion. Most US banks don't know anything if it is not a US Dollar. Sad but true.

John

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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43,165 posts
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6. Re: Travellers cheques or cash passport

We are just happy to see $$ coming into the state - you can use cash, credit cards, travelers checks, whatever - we are just delighted to see you helping out Alaska during your adventures here! Actually, I think ATM's and credit cards are about the best, especially if you are traveling from a different country - then you don't have to worry about exchange rates and all that - keeps it simple and even in most small communities, there is an ATM somewhere. :)

Australia
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208 posts
49 reviews
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7. Re: Travellers cheques or cash passport

Thanks to all for your response, I think Cash Passport might be the way to go, the exchange rate in Australia is very good at this time so might lock in some $US soon!

Skagway, Alaska
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for Skagway
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11 reviews
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8. Re: Travellers cheques or cash passport

Thanks John,

As usual fti seems to have a good handle on this and he seems to travel quite a bit!

Coalminer, you express my sentiments perfectly, for those of us who actually deal directly with our visitors, we see quite few travelers checks and are grateful to accept them.

Just today, I was setting up a new client for his visit, this year, from Australia, and I still recommended the same as I do to all of my clients from there, as well as those from everywhere else, just make sure that they are US dollars! Our banks really are quite 19th century when dealing with other currencies!

In my younger and more adventurous years I have actually found myself in places where they would ONLY take the cheques and not the dollars, once they found out that you had them! But that is another story for another time!

(with attribution...) DD

fti
MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
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15,825 posts
30 reviews
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9. Re: Travellers cheques or cash passport

>>As usual fti seems to have a good handle on this and he seems to travel quite a bit!

Me, travel? I figured it was a total of 98 weekdays last year. Surprised even myself. It won't be as much this year!

John

ireland
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102 posts
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10. Re: Travellers cheques or cash passport

"My experience is that purchasing pre-loaded debit cards, whether VISA or AmEx (I rarely see Master Card) are just not worth the fees - at least for me."

I have a Mastercard credit card, will I run into trouble paying with it while travelling through Alaska? And is it possible to draw cash from ATMs with a Mastercard?