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Travellers cheques/cash etc

Chester, United...
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Travellers cheques/cash etc

Im looking at taking about $1500 dollars on holiday, ive been advised to get travellers cheques but are they the best bet? Theyre quite old hat now so can you change them easily and for free at all? Ive used a prepaid mastercard before now from thomas cook when in europe. This charges $2.50 for each withdrawal at an ATM. Can anyone give any advice on which method is more commonly used? Open to any other suggestions! Thanks!

Brooklyn, NY
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1. Re: Travellers cheques/cash etc

Travellers checks are very old-fashioned here, and not every place will take them, especially in large denominations. One of the UK folks will have to weigh in on the best way to do this: we in the US just use credit or debit cards when we travel, but our banking fee structures seem to be differeng than yours.

County Galway...
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2. Re: Travellers cheques/cash etc

In the USA the credit card is king

London, United...
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3. Re: Travellers cheques/cash etc

the prepaid card you have is a good bet... depends on the exchange rate though of the card, to cash, if that $2.50 withdrawal fee is worth it. However, you can probably use it for purchases and there is no charge.

I've got the fair fx card, and that is $2 charge, and then there is the caxton, which is fee free.

These methods do work out cheaper than using your bank card in the US, due to extortinate fees for converting currency, and a per transaction fee that some banks charge

Portland, Maine
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4. Re: Travellers cheques/cash etc

Some banks don't charge a separate fee. You're still paying for currency conversion, but you'd do that no matter what. Barclays Bank is part of an alliance that includes Bank of America in the U.S. If you have a bankcard from Barclays that would allow you to make withdrawals from your account in the U.K., then it should also work in the U.S.

There are Bank of America ATM's all over the place, and you can check their website for specific locations.

There are probably other U.K. banks that have similar arrangements with other large U.S. banks.

Edited: 13 October 2010, 00:27
Sunny Queensland...
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5. Re: Travellers cheques/cash etc

Credit card is definitely more commonly used but I have no problems using Travellers cheques.The last time was 3 weeks ago.Never had to pay anything to cash them.$100 TCs are no problem to cash.The only place in NYC that wont take them that i go to is Borders-but they have a sign up saying no cheques.

The difference for me is that my bank in Australia does not charge commission to issue the TCs and the exchange rate is better than cash when buying them.

Huddersfield...
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6. Re: Travellers cheques/cash etc

We had lots of trouble using the TC"s when we went in April. Lots of places didn't want to know about them. We ended up cashing them all in a bank and just using the cash. Stuck the cash in the room safe and just took enough for the day. We also had Cards in case of emergency. Lucky we did have the cards as a 6 night trip ended up an 18 night trip. Lots more hotels to pay for LOL.

glasgow
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7. Re: Travellers cheques/cash etc

Ive just arrived home, had a Fair FX pre paid dollars card, which was accepted anywhere with a Mastercard sign, like a regular credit or debit card. We only withdrew at ATMs a few times, lifting large amounts to keep the fees down, then used the card to pay for tickets, metrocards etc Only issue we had was not being able to work out how to check the balance on the card as ATM machines didnt offer that service.

New York City, New...
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8. Re: Travellers cheques/cash etc

Using TCs is a huge hassle and unnecessary, and often expensive.

The best way to travel nowdays is to bring an ATM card with good rates. There is usually a withdrawal fee of $0-5 and a currency conversion fee of 0-3%. Check if your prepaid card has a conversion fee and what it is, and compare it to your regular bank's ATM card.

Also, some banks have partner banks abroad. Check whether yours does. That may eliminate the withdrawal fee. There will still be a conversion fee.

Sunny Queensland...
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9. Re: Travellers cheques/cash etc

"Using TCs is a huge hassle and unnecessary, and often expensive."

Sorry I have no problems using them and as i said previously for me less expensive than cash or cards.

I'm not surewhere annikits was trying to use her TCs but we have never been refused.Though we will use them mainly in larger retail outlets.I am asked just as often for ID using my CC as TCs so no extra hassle.

New York City, New...
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10. Re: Travellers cheques/cash etc

How are you judging how expensive it is? What conversion rates do you get?

I use a credit card that charges nothing at all and even eats the 1% Visa fee. And my bank charges only $2 per withdrawal and 1% conversion, which is why I picked it. If I wanted to, I could get a money market account that doesn't charge anything at all.

Also, many restaurants in NYC are notorious for taking cash only. And you can't change your TCs at any hours of the day. It's really hard to beat the convenience of using an ATM at any time of day or night since it's on every corner.

If you try it, you'll probably never go back to TCs as most people who travel a lot.

Edited: 13 October 2010, 21:23