Travellers Checks (advice)

OK, I’ve been seeing these ads on TV for American Express travellers checks, and I’m wondering about them. I will soon be embarking on some business travel, some of which I am paying for and being reimbursed for later. (like meals, taxis, etc).

Should I bring travellers checks instead of cash? I plan on using by Visa check card for meals when possible, but it isn’t always reliable. (I’ve had it decline when there is money in the account). Will hotels cash a travellers check for me so I can pay for a cab? I don’t travel much, and I want to do this right. I also don’t want to lose my purse or get mugged and have no money to my name.

Oh seasoned travellers, I call upon your wisdom once again. What do you think?

“If I had to live your life, I’d be begging to have someone pop out both my eyes. Just in case I came across a mirror.” - android209 (in the Pit)
Voted “Most Empathetic”- can you believe that?

Back before plastic, they were great. Even places with “No checks” signs often took them. With the advent of credit cards, some of that good will may have fallen by the wayside. However, (barring incredible stupidity), a hotel will cash them for you, so they can still be a decent tool for carrying money. (They are a heck of a lot cheaper to buy than the $1.50 - $2.00 per-transaction fee you’re going to find on many out-of-town ATMs.)



I personally believe you should use an honest to god credit card for all your business travel. If your company does not comp you on time you can, often, bill them the interest on the card. Also your liability with a credit card is much lower than with a check/debit card. If you get your card from a place that uses FDR as a processor (Chase and FirstUSA off the top of my head), all of your receipts will be obtainable (FDR puts all incoming receipts onto microfiche, and will send you a copy for a fee).

However, if that is not an option for you, then by all means use traveler’s checks. They are far safer than cash, and I have never had a problem cashing them at the hotel desk. Also most major restaurants will accept them, along with quite a few retailers.

Hope you enjoy your trip,

Letting my inner child run loose and break things.

Of course, this all depends where you’re going. In the US or major cities in Western Europe, you’ll have no trouble with traveller’s checks. Anywhere else might be a different story.

If you do get them, it’s a good idea to get them from American Express. They have offices all over the world and if you need to exchange them for cash they’ll do it for free.

“Shut up! I’m having a rhetorical conversation!”

I’ve had problems cashing TC overseas as well as locally. I’ve found buy buying with a credit card it is easier and quicker.

I have never let schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain

Where you are goind is kind of key here, in India its often better to have Thomas Cook travellers cheques, actually it’s best to have both.

There are other specific dangers to using a credit card in places like SE Asia.

Travelling where?

“Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings.” Bob Dylan

As far as I know, it will be US travel for now. I appreciate everyones advice thus far!

“If I had to live your life, I’d be begging to have someone pop out both my eyes. Just in case I came across a mirror.” - android209 (in the Pit)
Voted “Most Empathetic”- can you believe that?

Zette - As a banker and a business traveler, I second the idea of using a credit card for all possible business expenses. A small amount in travelers checks would be good for paying cab fare, quick meals/snacks, etc. Some questions:

Have you asked about the possibiility of a corporate credit card for travel purposes, especially if travel will be a recurring responsibility?

If not, will your company reimburse for travelers check fees, ATM fees, etc.?

How about a travel advance based on anticipated expenses?

I would have a real problem with a company that expects me to lay out MY cash for their expenses, even if it is to be reimbursed.

The overwhelming majority of people have more than the average (mean) number of legs. – E. Grebenik

Credit cards are best, but if you need to bring cash, travelers checks are cheap insurance. You rarely have any problem cashing them. All hotels do it as a matter of courtesy, and most businesses do, too (unless you get a clueless clerk; then you call the manager).

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