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Foreign currency question

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Chat' started by Happygirl21, Mar 28, 2014.

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  1. Happygirl21

    Happygirl21 Low-Roller

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    Hi all,
    In about a week and a half I will be going to Venice, Italy. I have never been overseas before with that said I am wondering if it might be better to purchase euros here in the states or wait till I get there also what about the reverse. From what I can see the exchange rate is pretty poor at this time. Also would it be worth even bringing any US dollars to use?


    Thanks:beer:
     
    AC, it's no LV but better than nothing.
    In the planning phase.
  2. DBear

    DBear VIP Whale

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    I'd exchange it at your local bank. Likely to charge the least in fees (%) compared to airports and tourist exchanges overseas. Most local bank branches will have some quantity of euros on hand so hopefully no need to order it a week in advance.

    I remember in Paris once, I ran out of euros towards the end of the trip and I was still able to use my bank card to withdraw euros out of an ATM. Don't remember the fees for that though.

    Get some euros ahead of your trip. You're bound to use it somehow whether it's on tips, food, souvenirs, etc. Big purchases like accommodation will likely be on your credit card anyways (who charge their own exchange fees).

    Usually no need to bring usd dollars over there. Still, I like to have 20-50 bucks in my wallet just in case I need it at the airport or for cabs or whatnot. If you have any euros leftover, you can easily bring it back to your local bank.
     
  3. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    Using an ATM to withdraw overseas usually has the least amt of fees, esp if you use an acct that doesn't charge a foreign exchange fee. Using my capital one money market acct to withdraw funds is by far the cheapest and easiest way for me to get money when I travel, and most frequent travelers will say the same. I never buy money in the US.
     
  4. Julie888

    Julie888 High-Roller

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    No expert and most suggestions I've read say to buy in Europe as suggested by Hoyaheel.

    I do like to buy a few euros to cover incidentals when I arrive. Don't know when or where you will find that first ATM.
     
  5. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    More "safety" measures - try to carry more than one debit card (eg my husband and I have 3 different bank accounts - his, hers, and ours - the "ours" is the Cap One vacation account, so that's the primary acct, but we carry the other debit cards on many other trips - not all) That way if there's a problem with one acct or card, you still have access to money. All airports have ATMs. Most airports even have websites where you can look up ATM locations before you get there. I always have USD on me in case I need to exchange money - that's a better bet FOR ME than getting euros or other currency at home before I leave.

    Most trips I use my credit card when possible (Cap One doesn't charge forex, and my Amex just dropped the forex fee this year too). There are some things I have not been able to do in Europe because we don't have any chip & pin credit cards - usually buying tickets from a kiosk in a train or metro station - but those machines usually accept cash, and at train stations at least, there's usually one manned ticket office as well.

    My routine is somewhat altered in developing countries - I use more cash, no credit cards (and keep my own receipts in a receipt book for work reimbursement:peace:)

    Travelers checks these days are just a useless PITA (from my perspective).
     
  6. Kickin

    Kickin Flea

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    HoyaHeel's advice is spot on. Withdrawing from your ATM is the best way (assuming you use a major bank, not sure if its the same with smaller banks) and check with your CC company if they have any fx fees. If not just charge whatever you can, at least at trustworthy places.

    As far as the reverse, the single best thing in my opinion is to just use all your leftover local currency towards your hotel bill. Save a bit for getting to the airport if you need it but otherwise pay down as much of your hotel bill with those euros as you can, no point in converting it back to USD if you don't have to.
     
  7. sco5123

    sco5123 VIP Whale

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    This is great information everyone. Thanks happygirl! I am so glad you asked :)
     
  8. lotso-bear

    lotso-bear VIP Whale

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    +1.

    The exchange rates tend to be better at banks in the city than the airport. I recommend at least exchanging $100-$200USD upon arrival at the airport, so you have some money for transportation to/from the airport.

    Make sure you contact your banks and notify them of your travel plans, so they don't decline your transactions while you're in Italy. If you plan on traveling a lot then I recommend getting a Charles Schwab money market account since they don't charge international ATM fees.
     
  9. luci5

    luci5 Low-Roller

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    We travel to the Euro Zone a lot from the UK and I guess it wouldn't be vastly different travelling from the US.

    The first thing is to check with the provider of cards you currently have to see if there are any fees or loading for using your card abroad. Many cards in the UK have a 2.75% loading on the rate you get meaning that withdrawing the equivalent of £100 would cost you £102.75 plus any transaction fees they may impose, typically £3 per transaction. However there are some cards that give "perfect" exchange rates with no loadings or fees. You can check the Interbank exchange rate at www.xe.com

    We never get euros in advance and just use an ATM when we get there, at the airport if we don't have any euro left from a previous trip.

    Very important, if you use an ATM and it asks if you want charged in USD or EURO, make sure you choose the local currency, ie EURO, otherwise the machine will exchange at its own rate which is less than favourable.
     
  10. Terry Benedict

    Terry Benedict VIP Whale

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    I just found out that my bank, BofA, has agreements with foreign banks that neither will charge ATM of forex fees. Check with your bank. It may be REAL easy and cheap to get euros in the Venice airport.
     
  11. Happygirl21

    Happygirl21 Low-Roller

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    You guys are the best! Thanks for the input :)

    I actually do use BofA so that is great to know. I also called my cc's and noted my accounts that I would be away.


    Again thanks so much!
    :peace:
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2014
    AC, it's no LV but better than nothing.
    In the planning phase.
  12. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    In Honolulu I went to a duty free shop to get my Euros. They had the exchange amounts listed on a board. I checked online for the current rate and DFS rates were pretty good, almost the same as current rates.

    Later in my trip I did use an ATM but when I got my bill I had a fee attached to it which made it much more than what I got from DFS. Best bet, make sure that you don't have fees attached to getting $$ with your card. Also note; many ATM's in Europe require that your CC have a chip in it or they won't work. Many tour agencies stress this since you might be out of luck if you need $$ and your CC doesn't have a chip.

    Exchange booths are all right but the ones in/near the airport and major attractions are probably overpriced but then IMHO most exchange places in venice will probably be overpriced IMHO.
     
  13. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    You are conflating issues. Debit cards with magnetic strips & not chip & pin are fine in ATMs in Europe.

    https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/money/chip-pin-cards

    :thumbsup:

    While I'm at it, here are Rick's ATM tips too :) https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/money/cash-machine-atm-tips
     
  14. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    Actually many tour agencies say otherwise. They recommend a cc/debit card with a chip for Europe. When I went to Europe last year Trafalgar emailed and stressed the chip thing for ATM usage. The tour guide also mentioned it. They commented that they had stories about tourists that had to search for ATM's that would take their card without a chip.
     
  15. Happygirl21

    Happygirl21 Low-Roller

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    Ok here's a question. If my CC does not have chip, will I not be able to use it for purchases? Or only at ATMs?

    Thanks
     
    AC, it's no LV but better than nothing.
    In the planning phase.
  16. engicedave

    engicedave VIP Whale

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    Yup, use an ATM overseas. Airport exchanges are ripoffs and banks aren't much better

    Remember to call your CC company or bank card is from and tell them you're going overseas. That way your cord doesn't get locked down and flagged as "fraudulent"
     
  17. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    I addressed this earlier. There may be some kiosks you cannot use (gas station pumps, parking garages, some train or metro ticket booths). I personally have not had problems because there has always been a machine that will accept cash or a manned ticket booth that would accept cash or my non chip & pin credit card. For any purchase that might be more than I have on me in cash, I just check first.

    And makikiboy, I don't do tours, am just giving my personal experience over the past few years. And Rick Steves agrees with me (don't get to say that very often) that for most people, most of the time, not having a chip & pin credit card doesn't mean you can't easily get by in Europe. I can't understand why a tour company would tell Americans they must have a chip & pin credit card when there's only one credit union that offers them in the US (maybe one other but only to invited customers?)

    The only time I've had any problems with my debit card was in Moshi Tanzania - I had to drive around to find the right ATM network:peace:
     
  18. Happygirl21

    Happygirl21 Low-Roller

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    Thanks for clearing that up :) I appreciate it!:wave:
     
    AC, it's no LV but better than nothing.
    In the planning phase.
  19. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    I usually never take tours either. This was my first tour (since I never have been to Europe before). I think the tour group stressed the chip thing because they didn't want people to be inconvenienced on having to find ATM's that took cc's without a chip. Steve's thread also mentioned ways to get around the problem so it isn't like it isn't a problem, it sometimes does occur.

    Anyway, nuff said, I'm just posting what some tour companies were telling people in the tour groups. Better to be forewarned about possible problems with a cc without a chip than to find out when you get there that you can't find an ATM that will take your cc. Sometimes IMHO it might be easier to just get a cc with a chip so you don't have ANY problems using it. I think this chip thing is something that is being pushed to make the card safer, with the assumption that one day all cc's and debit cards will have chips on them. But like bitcoin you never know if that will actually happen.

    Happygirl, I don't think you will have a problem with most purchases using a cc without a chip. I think it was more for ATM usage. I didn't have a chip and used my cc to charge my optional tours. But then since I pre paid for my tour I didn't need to charge much and so I just took along euros (pounds, Canadian, etc.) and dollars and exchanged my dollars up when I got there.
     
  20. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    The issue with that is finding a provider in the US. They are rare! Trust me - I have the conversation every year with my current credit card providers:nworthy:
     
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