Traveler’s Checks & Cash Abroad

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Carrying some cash is always a good idea when you study abroad or travel internationally. Cash is usually easy to exchange into the local currency, and the exchange rates are usually a little better for cash compared to traveler’s checks. Even better, some countries accept the U.S. dollar along with the local currency. The downside to cash: if it’s lost or stolen you are out of luck.

Get foreign currency before you leave
Many U.S. banks offer currency exchange for before you leave. This way, you will already have currency of your host country when when you arrive.

Traveler’s checks offer security
You can get traveler’s checks in various denominations and currencies. Exchange traveler’s checks at airports, exchange houses and most banks when you get to your study abroad destination. 
  • Most banks offer traveler’s checks  
  • You can also order travelers check from American Express or VISA  

Note: Traveler’s checks, compared to cash, offer more security if they are lost or stolen. To replace your checks, you will need the serial numbers, so keep your check receipt with the serial number separate from your actual checks.
  • Prepaid Travel Cards: The best of both worlds 
  • Prepaid Travel Cards offer another alternative. Travel cards work just like an ATM/check card but offer the protection of traveler’s checks. 
  • Purchase travel cards before you leave (see links below)  
  • Use travel cards at merchants just like an ATM/check card with MasterCard or VISA logos  
  • Withdraw money from ATMs just like with an ATM card  

Best of all, travel cards carry many of the protections that traveler’s checks do. Learn more about the benefits of travel cards:
  • VISA Travel Money  
  • MasterCard Prepaid 


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