Travel Advice: Should You Take Traveler's Checks?

Q. 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?

A. 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 n umber 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.