View Full Version : Travelers Checks
kinda ridiculous that I forgot to ask this early but ill ask now. People who used travelrs checks on ur hikes, did you put them in maildrops or how did you space them out. I'm not doing too many maildrops, but feel weird about putting money in the mail incase it gets lost. I also don't wanna have a huge amount on me. I am using ATM/debit card as well, but i thought it would be convenient to have some travelers checks incase for example a small country store doesnt have an ATM or a card swiper.
thanks for the help.
We took them and used them in '01. We put them in our bounce box. Make a list of the numbers of the checks and keep it in a safe place. (In fact make two lists - carry one with you and leave one with someone you trust) Then if you lose the bounce box, give american express a call and they will replace them. That's the point of travel's checks. They can be replaced for the original value.
Question do you rearly needs these checks; it seems to me that you can find a cash machine just about anywhere and the fee's are generally less than for the checks. I understand that some of the hostels don't take credit cards, however, I would think all other purchases just as hikking supplies and food could be purchased with a debit card. Also most supermarkets will give you cash back if you ask. I sort of look at travelers checks as an outdated source of cash.
You'll have to ask someone that didn't use them, as even though I'm not sure they are 100% necissary, I also had them when there weren't any other options...
There are a lot of places that don't take credit/debit cards in never-never land. Cash is still king in rural areas. You'd be surprised... Personally I liked not having to worry about finding the ATM or the extra walking to get to one...
Now that i think more about it, I am almost definitely going to use them again. We never had to think about where our money was coming from, which means what we used was a good system! :)
Alex, I never used them and only missed them once. That was in Port Clinton. Just about everywhere else would take plastic. I made it a point to leave town with at least $40 - $50 on me. That way if I ran into a snack stand or something I had cash. IMHO... don't use them, just reley on your ATM card.
I didn't use them and I didn't miss them. Same as Moose2001, I just made sure I had enough cash on me to tide me over.
Sleepy the Arab
I used them on both thru's; the first I had 'em all on me, the second I had them spaced out along the maildrops. ATM fees can be a pain, especially when you are not savvy on how to get around them (there are ways). I did prefer having travelers checks, but they probably were not necessary.
I carried one "just in case" and never used it. Credit card and ATM is all you need. I did leave each town with $100 cash so I wouldn't have to immediately look for cash when I reached the next town.
I only carried a debit card and had good luck except for a deli or two in New York. My problem was that if I had it I spent it. So I would try not to draw so much out and then when I needed cash I would be short. I think carrying one or two would be a good idea.
You can use the ATM service at the Post Office without a fee. You just have to buy somethin - anythin - like 5 postcard stamps. They'll give you up to $50 back without a fee. That's how I did my hike and it worked perfectly. I used a debit card so I knew how much money I had for the entire hike. Spent the last money in Millinockett, ME.
We also didn't use them, and relied soley on our check cards with never a problem. Tried to leave town with around $50 bucks and a dollar each in change ( for any unexpected soda machines on the way!) As a "back-up" plan we requested PIN numbers for our "real" credit cards, so that we could get cash from our credit cards in an emergency if we needed it. Never used them.
Just a word about using the post office for cash, you can get as much as $50 bucks if you buy anything, stamps, postcards, etc..but in a lot of SMALL towns (Port Clinton sticks out in my mind) the PO doesn't have the cash neccessary to supply every thru-hiker that comes through (especially at the busy times) with the cash they want, and a lot of them started asking "can you take less?", or "I can only give you $10..." Looking ahead from one town to the next, you will most likely always have the cash you need. There were ATM's everywhere in 2002. Most hostels do NOT take cards, (and we actually ran across a few hotels that also didn't) but most are also in the under $10 range if you're concerned about carrying lots of cash.
You should definitely have more than one source of money. ATM's can malfunction. Also they depend on the internet. A couple of weeks ago a hacker caused major delays in internet traffic. In fact one large national banking system was crippled for several hours and their ATM's were inoperable. In a few weeks there will be a war. The internet could be vulnerable. I would carry cash from each town, and have enough in travelers checks to get you home in an emergency. Credit cards may also be useless if things get too bad.