There is no doubt
that traveler's checks have lost some popularity as of late
due to the increased use of ATM and credit cards. Traveler's
checks were always the 'safe' way to carry money to ensure
that it was replaceable if lost or stolen. But with the popularity
and convenience of 'plastic money', who needs traveler's checks?
This doesn't mean that you shouldn't take any traveler's
checks. Just take a couple hundred dollars worth of them for
emergencies. Don't waste your time taking too many traveler's
checks. ATM machines are far more convenient. Here's some
advice on using t-checks:
- write down the
serial numbers of your t-checks and keep two copies separate
from your t-checks (ie. one at home and one in your backpack
- not with your checks)
- t-checks are
one of the safest ways to carry money. If they get stolen
or lost, file a police report right away and you can hopefully
get them fully reimbursed. You did write down the serial
numbers somewhere didn't you?
- you will most
often be charged a commission of 2-3% or a set fee when
cashing your t-checks
- get t-checks
in US funds. Some countries will not accept Canadian travelers
checks (or other countries).
- don't sign both
signature areas on the t-checks ahead of time thinking it
will be more convenient later. If you have signed both spaces
on the check, it is as good as cash for anyone that 'finds'
- always have
a small amount of cash with you because you may not always
be able to cash your t-checks everywhere
- you will need
your passport with you when you cash your t-checks
- you can cash
t-checks at a bank to get better rates (usually) but sometimes
it can take for ever. Instead, just cash them at a reputable
store. You have to suck up the loss of $3 or so on occasion
to save an hour's time.