How to use Travellers Cheques when you're Backpacking around Australia

A Guide to Travellers Cheques for Backpackers in Australia

Travellers cheques can be used to safely transport your money to Australia where they can be 'encashed' at some stage during your trip. They can be ordered in a shop front (bank, post office, etc...) or online which are delivered to you in the post.

Travellers cheques have no expiry date so you can hold on to them for as long as you want and they will still be valid. There are lots of 'issuers' (banks or companies) you can buy your travellers cheques from, so shop around for the best deal because they can vary quite a lot (learn about exchange rates, in the Currency Conversion Guide for Backpackers in Australia article).

How do travellers cheques actually work?

Essentially, when you buy a backpackers cheque, you're lending the issuer (American Express, Travelex etc...) an interest free loan until you 'encash' your cheques. The good thing with travellers cheques is that your cheques are insured against loss or theft and can be replaced quite quickly. So they can be a secure option to include in your contingency plan if you need access to money in an emergency (see section Contingency Funds - Savings when you need them - Backpacking Australia – PART 1).

They are usually provided in sets of 5 or 10 in denominations of $20, $50 or $100 (i.e, if you order $250AUD you will probably be given 5x $50AUD cheques). When you're in Australia, they can be encashed in a lots of locations (i.e, post offices, banks, beuro de change shop fronts etc...). You can find the closest 'payee' (the shop that changes your cheques into cash) through the issuers website.

When you get your travellers cheques they will come with a receipt containing a unique reference for each cheque which will be used to claim a refund if they are lost or stolen.

Don't keep the reference receipt in the same place as your cheques! You can always leave a written record of them with your Appointed Person or make scans of the recipt which you can save to your USB Flash Drive.

Also when you receive your travellers cheques, sign them straight away. This ensures that the cheques can only be encashed by you. Be aware that there are usually two spaces for signatures on the cheque, one for protection as mentioned before and another for when you actually encash the cheque, so make sure you sign the correct one.
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