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Don't leave your holiday money arrangements until the last minute - get organised in advance to give yourself a hassle-free break.
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Travellers' cheques were in the past seen as the safest and most convenient way of taking large sums of cash abroad. But the advent of the single European currency and widespread acceptance of debit and credit cards means many holidaymakers now use a combination of cheques, cash and plastic. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, but how you buy your currency really depends on where you are going.

Travellers' cheques

Nowadays, you can manage without cheques if you are going to a major resort. But dollar cheques are still useful in the US, where they are widely accepted as payment for goods and services without having to be exchanged for dollar notes. Cheques are also worth taking if you are going off the beaten track, for their security features as much as anything else. However, it can often be difficult to cash them in remote places.


Cheques can usually be stopped or replaced within 24 hours if they are lost or stolen, whereas credit cards can take much longer. But you must keep a separate note of serial numbers to take advantage of this security feature. When you buy cheques, read the accompanying security advice and make a note of any numbers you need to call in the event that you lose cheques or have them stolen.

Carrying cash

Many holidaymakers still think nothing of wandering around with their wallet or money belt stuffed with large amounts of currency, despite the obvious security risk. It is unwise to put all your eggs in one basket in this way. Travel insurance policies may well cover you for a limited amount of money lost, but you will probably have to wait until you return home to be reimbursed. However, you need some local currency to tide you over until you can get to a bank or cash machine. Most bank branches and bureaux de change routinely stock common currencies, but it is wise to order even these a few days in advance, to be on the safe side.


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