Euro down to $121

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Jun 11th, 2005, 02:07 AM
  #1
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Euro down to $121

Anyone recently back from Kenya. The euro has dropped almost 10% against the dollar since December 2004. Dollar vs. euro in Kenya? Since the euro is cheaper now for US citizens, should we bring our traveling money in euros which we can purchase for a decent rate in London on our way or stick to dollars. Both?? How advisable is it to have some Kenyan shillings with us also. Do we even need them at all to start. We leave in four weeks for a lodge and tented camp safari at Abercrombie&Fitch level places.
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Jun 11th, 2005, 06:08 AM
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I'm not sure why bringing euros would be more advantageous than bringing dollars. Even at a decent rate, you'll still have some loss in the conversion process (then you'll have another conversion loss when you go to use them in Kenya). Just bring USD if that's your home currency.

What kind of purchases are you thinking of? If paying for your lodge/camp incidentals, then you'll get the best exchange by paying in KES you obtained from an ATM. Second best exchange is using your credit card (if the lodge/camp doesn't add a surcharge for doing so). Worst exchange is paying with USD cash or euros or travelers checks or other currency as the lodge/camp converts these at very unfavorable rates.

For example, in Feb our ATM withdrawals converted to approx 75 KES = $1, credit card charges 73-74 KES = $1, lodge/camp/hotel conversion rate if paying in USD cash or travelers checks 68-71 KES = $1.

If paying for trinkets from vendors, then I don't think it matters what currency you have. They'll accept USD, euros, or KES. You can convert USD to KES at the airport exchange bureau, but I don't know what rate they charge. I had our driver stop at a Barclays ATM in Nairobi (the airport ATM didn't work for me). I believe the maximum withdrawal per transaction is 40,000 KES. We relied mostly on paying with KES obtained from ATM's and used USD only when we ran out. But you don't absolutely have to have any KES at all, just realize that you'll be paying a premium sometimes to use other currencies.

Hope this helps. Did you ever post your itinerary on this board? Have a great trip!
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Jun 11th, 2005, 09:28 AM
  #3
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That is about what I usually do on vacation---rely on ATMs for the best exchange. Everthing is pre-paid in terms of the lodging and transport. I am fascinated by the euro drop because I am going back to Europe in the fall and plan to do some early holiday shopping. I did not know if Kenyan's placed a significantly greater value on the euro over the dollar. Sometimes, you can take advantage of a lag in currency adjustment. I will have to post the Kenya itinerary. When we booked, we saw it featuresdsome of the A&K (not Fitch) accomodations but for a lot less. Two of the nights, we will be tented at Siana Springs. I take my last vaccine tomorrow-- the last dose of oral typhoid. I travel a lot and this is the first vacation for which I started packing two months in advance. Our cases will be lighter on the return because we will leave a lot in Kenya--toys, clothing, souvenirs from the U.S. etc. My friend just got back from Ghana and she gave us some good suggestions. We will also be bringing a good supply of $1s and $5s.
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