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Reader question: I’m heading to Europe and a friend suggested I forgo traveler’s checks and simply carry a bundle of cash in a money belt. I like the idea of traveler’s checks since, unlike cash, they can be replaced if lost or stolen. What do you think?
Our answer: I appreciate your concern, but traveler’s checks are about as dated as the Grand Tour of Europe. Most people don’t carry them. Processing the conversion to cash and recording the check number can’t compete with the ease of swiping a bank card through an ATM. More important, the checks simply aren’t cost-effective and are no longer widely accepted. You can convert them to currency at banks, exchange counters and some hotels, but the transaction will carry a fee. My advice: Carry cash (tucked under your clothes), a credit card or two and your bank card. But also bring a few hundred in traveler’s checks purely as a backup if it gives you peace of mind.
If readers have other ideas, we'd love to hear them....
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