Taking Travellers Cheques To Russia

Previous page - Last minute worries about our epic Russian holiday


Travellers Cheques to take to Russia - Oops!

Here we were thinking we are well organized for spending money whilst in Russia. Everything has been turned topsy turvy. We had ordered travellers cheques in both our names. We thought we'd have some each in case one lot got stolen/lost. The ever cautious Morrisons! Our bank told us they would call us in a few days to tell us when to call in to sign them and take them.

Along with our travellers cheques, we were intending to take our Visa cards and some US dollars. Our bank had been trying to persuade us to buy a bank Travel Card from them but luckily we didn't. A few phone calls and a bit of digging around the internet and we discovered that the Travel Card would be unusable in Russia as it is in some other countries.

Whilst the bank is phoning me to tell us the cheques have arrived, I'm simultaneously reading online that travellers cheques are pretty much a waste of time in Russia. Banks that will cash them are few and far between. Oh, bugger!! The pair of us go into our bank with the idea of asking them to take back a heap of the cheques before they give them to us. One would think that was a reasonable request. Especially considering we hadn't signed the cheques. But no, nothing could be simple, could it? The bank teller says they have had to pay to obtain these cheques therefore we will get charged for them whether we use them or not. The fact that we had not signed them made no difference. As you can imagine this didn't sit well with us. We have banked with them for over 20 years. The cost to pay for the travellers cheques had been deducted from our bank account the week before so there was no point walking out of the bank minus them. We sat there begrudgingly signing 25 cheques each. You couldn't take them without signing them. The teller told us it would cost us $239 to have them buy all the cheques back off us. We walked out of the bank with the cheques feeling quite irritable. This is the ANZ Bank, by the way!

We discover Cash Passports

We got home and started to ring around to find out what to do with them. Very quickly we found the Commonwealth Bank would refund them for a total of $8. If we had been a customer of theirs then they would have refunded them for nothing. The girl at the Commonwealth Bank couldn't believe what the ANZ bank were doing to us. The next day I rang the Manager at our bank thinking she might reverse the initial decision but it was a waste of a phone call. However, out of this debacle comes something positive. Whilst ringing Jetset Travel to ask about them refunding our cheques (which they will do for the grand sum of $10) it was mentioned to me that we should think about a money card called Cash Passport. It is a pre-paid travel money card. We've had a tour of the Cash Passport web site and we're impressed. Jetset Travel organise these Cash Passports. So, on Monday morning, we'll head over to Jetset, trade in our travellers cheques, buy a Cash Passport and, with that, some American dollars and then we will be organized financially. When you buy your American dollars make sure they are very new, crisp and clean with no tears. Otherwise the Russians won't be interested in them.


Lyudmila's B and B in Vladivostok

Just received an email from Lyudmila in Vladivostok. Lyudmila is the owner of a highly regarded B and B. She tells us she can no longer accept us on the date we require as her daughter will now be hosting some university friends there at that time. We made that booking months ago. But what can you do!


Hotel Vizit Vladivostok

The first night in Vladivostok we are staying at Hotel Vizit. We wanted it that way so we could get them to validate our visas. So, now, instead of shifting out to Lyudmila's for the second night of our stay I think we will just stay at the hotel for two nights in lieu of one. Pity as Lyudmila offered a nice breakfast at her place too.

In less than two weeks we will be in Russia.....


Next page - At last we fly off on our holiday


Our trip in the order it happened:

Travel Planning Necessities
World time zones, world weather, currency converter, language translator services.

Search over 25,000 hostels.

Trip Advisor Forum - Russia
The place to find information about Russia when you can't find it elsewhere.

Way To Russia
Another very good forum

Getting A Russian Visa
The process is explained

Trains between Moscow & Saint Petersburg
Explanation of the types of trains on that route.

Firmenny Trains
An explanation of what they are.

Moscow's Railway Stations
A map of their locations and proximities.

Learn How To Speak Russian
Free lessons.

Map of St. Petersburg
Lonely Planet's map of the city.

Map of Moscow
Lonely Planet's map of the city.

Moscow Times Newspaper
English version.

The Russia Club
A forum for all those interested in anything "Russian".

Russian Rail Timetable
It takes a bit of mastering but Ian managed it (eventually).

The Art Of Travel
Very interesting travel information for all locations.

Smart Traveller
Australian Government's site dealing with current travel advice.

Travel Independent
A site written by travellers for travellers. Lots of information.