Travelers' checks

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Tuesday's State Department "worldwide caution," which exhorted Y2K travelers to take extra care on the road during December and January, contained one suggestion that stood out: Carry travelers' checks.

I guess I just don't think about travelers' checks anymore. They seem antiquated. I mean, I haven't carried a checkbook in years. I pay most of my bills by phone and over the Internet. Others, such as my monthly health club dues, are on bank drafts so I don't even think about them.

But now that we are heading for a holiday whose most salient characteristic seems to be its potential for creating chaos, the humble travelers' check seems like a post-high-tech invention. Imagine, a piece of paper that is worth nothing until you sign it, and once you do, it turns into money. What a concept. Next time I travel, I'm gonna get me some of those.

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