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Traveler's Checks

OK, so if cash can be exchanged easily wherever you go, why should you bother with traveler’s checks? Simple. If someone steals them or you accidentally light them on fire during a romantic candlelight dinner, you can replace them within 24 hours. You can’t do THAT with cash, now can you?

While you do have to pay a small fee to get traveler’s checks, the security and exchange rate is worth it. Here are a few tips to consider when buying or using these checks:

  • Buy them in smaller denominations so you’re not stuck with a bunch of foreign currency when you’re ready to go home. If you still have a lot of checks left over at the end of your trip (nice job on the budget!), call your issuer and find out the nearest location where you can cash them without having to pay a transaction fee.
  • Make a list of all of the numbers of your checks. Then, keep that list in a separate location for security. As you use each check, make a note of it on your list.
  • Plan to use your traveler’s checks in larger cities, and stick to cash in rural areas and smaller towns. Larger cities are more used to dealing with the checks, so you’ll have an easier time of it. 
  • If you lose any of your checks during your trip, be sure you’re the one to call to get them replaced. Having someone other than the issued person call will only slow down the process.
  • Think brand names. Buy your checks from well-known companies, as they’re the ones more likely to be universally accepted. Here are three great places to buy your traveler’s checks:

American Express
http://www.americanexpress.com/homepage/mt_personal.shtml

Citicorp
http://www.citibank.com/domain/index1.htm

Visa Traveller’s Cheques
http://international.visa.com/ps/products/tchecks/

Credit Cards > ATMs > Currency/Exchange Rates > Traveler's Checks

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