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The Benefits Of Traveling With Traveler's Checks

Jul 2, 2008
When traveling abroad, there always tends to be some level of concern over whether or not carrying cash about one's person is a wise idea. Instead, many travelers have turned to a safer, more secure method of ensuring that they have money on hand at all times - but in a form that no one else can utilize. These 'money-papers' are known as traveler's checks. These are pre-printed checks that are valued at a predetermined amount of money, and which have the added security of being denoted exclusively for your use.

Traveler's checks can be purchased at most major banks, and you essentially exchange cash for the check, with a small surcharge included for the cost of the check's production. You will be asked to sign each check that you purchase in the upper right-hand corner, and this signature should be identical to that which is found on your passport or other form of photo ID. There will be a second line marked 'signature' in the bottom left-hand corner, and this should be signed only when cashing the check.

Most financial institutions can issue traveler's checks in denominations of $20, $50, $100, $500 or $1000, and in some cases, they can be issued in the currency of the country of your destination. When you arrive at your destination, seek out a local bank or travel agency with an international presence. These places will be able to cash the checks for you, since the majority of establishments will not accept uncashed traveler's checks in place of cash. Be sure to take your passport or photo ID with you to cash in the checks, and don't be surprised if you lose several dollars from your total in commission.

So why use traveler's checks at all? Since the checks use your signature to verify their authenticity, not just anyone can take a check from you and cash it in. Also, since they're issued by a regulated financial institution, should you lose a check or have it taken from you, you'll have access to a tracking number - provided by the issuing bank at the time of purchase - that can demonstrate to the bank that you did not cash in the check and did not receive the value that you paid. In these cases, the bank will reimburse you for the amount of money you lost by not cashing in the check - which is impossible to do when traveling with cash!

Using traveler's checks also means that you don't need to stand at a local bank to withdraw money from a teller who may not speak your mother tongue - instead, cash them in at a travel agency in minutes, and even better, if you find that you don't need all of the checks on one trip, they can be saved indefinitely!

There is also the bonus of not having to use a credit card to make all your purchases, especially when you're in a foreign country and may feel insecure about other people's intentions toward you. While it rarely occurs, some people may worry about credit card theft or dishonest shop owners who could take advantage of their credit card information - using traveler's checks and cashing in only the amount of money you anticipate needing in a short period of time will eliminate this worry!
About the Author
Please visit Traverus Travel and WorldVentures Travel before your next trip.
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