“Ms. Marshall!” typed a former student on the Facebook page for this blog, “I am so curious. Did you ever get your money back when someone robbed you for your Travelers Cheques?”
Good-hearted young Carol was, of course, referring to my recent article about the shocking discovery, in my first week home from nine months abroad, that my secret stash of American Express Travelers Cheques was mysteriously stolen from my backpack in some hostel between Ghana, Portugal, and Spain. Ohh, the treachery! Ooh the financial pain!
I had no answer for Carol then, and in fact feared the money was gone forever. However, today I got a something in the mail that lets me resoundingly tell Carol: “YEESSS!!!” while dancing around the room pumping my fists in the air.
Today, three weeks after discovering and reporting the theft, I received a truly delightful letter from American Express in which they (ahem) expressed their sadness for my robbery and enclosed a check to pay me back for the FULL amount of money in the stolen Cheques: no small sum! I gleefully deposited the reimbursement check in my account, and thus am officially UN-robbed!
This brings us to today’s li’l lesson: Travelers Cheques ARE worth packing for your next voyage!
“Ew,” sneers Negative Nelly right about now, “Travelers Cheques are sooo uncool. NO ONE uses them anymore. It’s hard as heck to find any place that even agrees to cash them, and when you do, the agents always charge a crazy commission fee. What’s the point?”
Nelly, you are not alone in your disdain.
Few backpackers nowadays carry (much less use) Travelers Cheques for these same gripes.
However, what happened to me illustrates why you SHOULD always travel with a stash of Travelers Cheques as a third form of moolah beyond cash and credit cards: There is no better form of “emergency backup cash” than one that will be fully refunded (up to thousands of dollars!) if stolen or even absent-mindedly misplaced.
Travelers Cheques are basically like bionic, indestructible money: they can never be murdered and won’t let you down. Super Loot to the rescue!
The author, Lillie Marshall, is a 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 4.2 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!
Sunday 9th of December 2012
Right, now I'm thinking it could be sensible to take traveller's cheques with me to South America... thanks for promoting the idea that they're essentially indestructible :)
Sunday 9th of December 2012
Yes! Yay! :) Have a wonderful trip. I aim to go to South Africa in the next few years!
Wednesday 23rd of March 2011
These financial things are the reason I don't want to grow up. I don't want to do bills, manage my cards, and taxes etc. But we have to deal with theft too?! Life can suck. But it's amazing how you got all the money back. If I was you I would've been so relieved! This will be great advice in the future though. :D
Thursday 23rd of December 2010
I like the sparkling pictures. (: I read this article, because you wrote it on my birthday! And it's horrible how they robbed you! >:O
Sunday 28th of November 2010
Wait, so what happens if you lie and just say you got it stolen? How will they ever find out? Just.....asking. If i ever find those people who stole my money I would take that rifle that I shoot those birds with and.....and.....I cant say on this but it wouldn't be good. But I don't get stolen from because everybody already knows whats going to happen if they steal from me.
Monday 26th of July 2010
To echo Lillie's sentiments, having the receipts and ID numbers for your traveler's checks is HUGE!!