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Bank transfer in advance versus cash at time of service versus American Express Travelers Cheques

I have been asked for an expensive advance payment by bank transfer or cash at the time of service for a gulet vacation in Turkey next year. I have been burnt on vacation deposits several times since the COVID-19 pandemic started, and I like the idea of providing cash at the time of service rather than paying in advance in such uncertain pandemic times. However, I don't want to carry wads of cash on a transcontinental trip from the U.S. through the Istanbul airport and a smaller connecting airport with a hotel night in addition. I could never get the amount of cash I will need out of an ATM in the Turkish port town where the cash will be required, so that isn't an option. Decades ago I think I could have used American Express Travelers Cheques in this situation since everyone accepted them as cash. Does anyone know if this is still an option and what would be required if it is?

Posted by
18916 posts

Travelers checks are extremely unlikely to be accepted anywhere these days.

Quite a few people on this forum have used and been satisfied with the service provided by TransferWise.com for making overseas payments. Its new name is Wise.com, but you may find some earlier posts here by using the Search function with TransferWise. I haven't used the service myself, but others say it is much, much cheaper than US bank fees.

You're still transferring money, though, which leaves you without the protections you have when you pay by credit card. I don't know what the solution is to that problem.

Posted by
21213 posts

Travelers Cheques are a dead issues. Too easy to forge. I am always suspicious of any business that will not accept credit cards since that is close to the standard business practice. I doubt if they would accept a cashier checks but you could ask. Could you do a bank transfer the day before you leave home? Or a preloaded debit card that was acceptable to them.

Posted by
1167 posts

How much cash are we talking here? You can carry any amount of cash out of the US but if the sum is over $10,000., it must be reported to US customs. I would also check the rules for bringing cash into Turkey.

Posted by
6625 posts

My guide in Tokyo required full payment in advance and preferred PayPal.

Posted by
2818 posts

I used Wise, formally known as TransferWise in 2019. An apartment in Budapest asked for a one night minimal deposit. We knew others who had used this service for this accommodation. It all worked out well for us.

Posted by
4998 posts

We brought a large amount of US dollars 2 years ago for making a cash payment to our tour company in Morocco. My husband kept in in his moneybelt until we reached the tour company’s office. Paying them in cash, even in dollars in another country, was cheaper than paying by other means. That worked for us; your situation might be different.

Posted by
7599 posts

I've used Wise twice recently for large sums. It was very easy. I've also used Money Corps, a company that is used to handling very large sums. Just as easy. The money is wired from your bank to their US accounts. Next, it's exchanged and sent to the recipient's bank account.

My husband and I also carried over three thousand dollars to Armenia to pay for a tour because we couldn't find a company on line or in our area that dealt with Armenia--only B of A and one other, all too far. We kept the $ in money belts for a couple of weeks while we were in Paris and Republic of Georgia before getting to Armenia.

Posted by
1293 posts

I would not be comfortable handing over any cash to a foreign entity. Are there not other tours willing to accept a credit card?

Posted by
6721 posts

I have been burnt on vacation deposits several times since the
COVID-19 pandemic started

Sounds like you have your answer there...don't get burned again. I would not wire money even in certain times, and more so with the unpredictability of covid. Find a company that accepts a credit card or paypal security deposit where you will have protection, unlike wired funds that disappear from your account instantly.

Posted by
21213 posts

I think they are handing over cash on arrival. Just be sure to get a receipt if using cash. We often pay cash for hotel rooms (to get the cash discount) and once forgot to get the receipt. Almost caused a problem.