I recently returned from a trip to Greece. It was great, but we had some trouble with our money. Before we left, we got travelers’ checks. They seem like such a great idea- if you lose them, they will be replaced free! Great for traveling. Or so we thought. Then no restaurants or stores would accept them. Finally, we had to take them to the bank and cash them, at a comission of 2 Euros (a Euro is about 1 dollar) each. We ended up spending $20 to cash half of them. Then, when we got home, we complained to Triple A, where we had bought them. Turns out, this has been happening everywhere with the Euro! But they aren’t allowed to tell people! :mad: So that’s why I’m putting this here, so that none of you have to deal with this problem. When you go to Europe, don’t use travelers’ checks. Use cash. Trust me, its a whole lot easier.
I"m gonna share a secret of a coin guy who used to go to Europe in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Possibly the rules have changed, but I doubt it.
If you are gonna go to Europe, take along some US dollar denominated travelers checks. They quite often are free from AAA, and others. Get them in big amounts, such as $100 denominations.
When you are a country in Europe, go to a major bank and exchange a TC for local currency. Exchange just what you need. Don’t get too far ahead.
The rates that banks charge you over there are the best on dollar-denominated TC’s and not on cash. Don’t take $US100 bills. It cost them more to redeem it on their end in Europe. They can fax-in the numbers on the TC’s and destroy them. They don’t even need to ship them back to the states.
I was not aware about the Euro-denominated TC’s. Dont get them. End of message.
People still use TCs these days? Don’t you have bits of plastic you stick in an ATM and then pull out local cash from your account back home (at a minimal extra charge)?
Back in the old days, I recall TCs were virtually never spent in stores in Europe as they were in the US. They were always cashed in a bank or money changer. In some places (Belgium sticks in my mind), they charged a hefty fee. If that’s still the case where euro TCs are concerned, it’ll be the case with $ ones too, I suspect.
What Hemlock said. It doesn’t apply to the entire world, and be sure to check with your bank first, but chances are your debit card (in combination with a MasterCard and/or Visa, both never hurt abroad) will get you across Europe just fine.
FWIW, all Traveler’s Checks I ever used were denominated in US Dollars - and issued in the Netherlands.
And yeah, stores don’t routinely accept them over here. You’re supposed to cash them at a bank.
Again, use debit and credit cards. Much easier.
I couldn’t even FIND any Euro traveler’s cheques. I ended up buying $600 US in trav.ch. I got badly burned trying to exchange $100 worth in Madrid, but the school I used the other $500 to pay tuition for accepted them at the normal exchange rate.
did you try and cash them in your Hotel? How about a Bank or a Bureau de Change?
Its amazing what you can do when you go to the CORRECT place to cash them.
We tried cashing them at the hotel, even at money exchanges. The only place that would take them was the bank.
Sorry to hear about your bad experiences.
What Hemlock and Coldfire said, use an ATM card just like at home to get local currency. No muss, no fuss.
I really think banks etc. should let their customers in on this little secret.
I’ve been using my bank card a lot, but since my bank charges $2 per transaction, I withdraw large denominations and keep them in a safe place until I need them.
My GF is curretnly in Australia, her ATM charges are about $3 a pop. As long as she’s taking out lots at a time, no big deal, but she also got hit with $9 in charges (3 x $3) because she checked her account balances as well.
Use your card! It may work out as slightly more expensive, but the convenience far, far out weighs this.
I remember having to use traveller’s cheques. They were a pain. You had to go to a bank or bureau de change to cash them (shops etc. never accepted them) and different places always took different commissions, half the time you were never quite sure if you were getting ripped off or not. They were also quite bulky, and almost as good as cash to thieves, so you had to go to such lengths to keep them safe. An international ATM network has made things so much easier!