Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Converting dollars to euros in the States before trip?

Converting dollars to euros in the States before trip?

Old Aug 13th, 2015, 10:12 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 168
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Converting dollars to euros in the States before trip?

Everything is coming together and we're almost ready for next week's departure. The exchange rate today is 1 dollar to 1.11 euro. My dad went to our local bank here in New York City and paid 1,547 dollars for 1300 euro. That's a hefty commission. Almost 100 dollars. He thought he would get a better deal at home, but that doesn't sound so great to me.

Do most of you convert your money in Europe? Or do you do it in the States? We'll be in Barcelona, Rome, and Sorrento. I've always recalled that it was a much heftier commission doing it at our hotels etc.

Will restaurants/ taxis even accept American dollars? I usually like to arrive in the country with some of their currency and convert more as I need it.

Thanks in advance for your insight.
zenfoodist is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2015, 10:17 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 2,076
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Withdraw funds in the local currency from ATMs...best rate. Be sure to notify your bank/cardholder that the card will be used abroad, so that it is not flagged for abuse and cut off.
mokka4 is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2015, 10:18 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 1,713
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Why in God's name would we accept US dollars in Europe ?
Do you accept Pesos in New York ?

Do as most of us do : don't change anything, just get money from ATMs via debitcard (some have very low fee) and pay everywhere with a creditcard.
Hotels, most restaurants, some taxis, musuems etc accept creditcard.

When I go to US I take what was left from my previous trip, usually about between 50 - 100 USD jsut in case the first ATM I see is broken and I have an emergency.
pariswat is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2015, 10:19 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 97,211
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
I don't "convert". I use an ATM upon arrival to get local currency. I have also gotten it in advance from my bank but for a fee of $7.50 not $100!

I would not try to use USD for spending in Europe, no.
suze is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2015, 10:24 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 72,927
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
>>Will restaurants/ taxis even accept American dollars? <<

Are you joking?

>> My dad went to our local bank here in New York City and paid 1,547 dollars for 1300 euro.<<

Why on earth did he do that?

>>He thought he would get a better deal at home, <<

Well - he was wrong - and expensive lesson.

>>Do most of you convert your money in Europe? Or do you do it in the States? <<

I don't 'convert' money <i>anywhere</i>. I get € cash as I need it out of ATMs and if I simply MUST have some currency on me to feel 'comfortable' I just buy a few € in the departure lounge at the airport while waiting for my flight.
janisj is online now  
Old Aug 13th, 2015, 10:28 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,969
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
No, only the newbies convert money. A simple computation, those who can add and find percentages, would show you just how much you lose by converting money.

You did not mention the word "ATM", but mentioned "hotels, etc"

You did not know you can and should withdraw Euro in Europe using your ATM/Debit card you use in New York? Look at their fee schedule. An expensive bank would charge 3%, acceptable banks charge 1%, and very good ones charge 0%. Which one do you want to pay: 10% or 0%?

If you have not done so, identify two or more ATM/Debit cards linked to different checking accounts - ones you use in New York. Put enough fund into them. Notify banks that you would be using cards at ATMs in Europe. Find how much they charge. Should be somewhere around 1-3%. Savings account access is problematic. A few here mentioned they could get money from Europe from their U.S. savings account, but usually the ATMs in Europe don't give you any choice - it has to be the "default" account and it has to be a checkings account. You need multiple cards from different banks as you would hit snags from time to time.
greg is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2015, 10:34 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 97,211
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
Sheez people. Obviously she did not know of she wouldn't have posted here asking for our help! Be gentle.
suze is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2015, 10:37 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 24,295
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The only instance in which you might want to buy Euros in advance is if you were travelling to Greece.
Underhill is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2015, 10:47 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 72,927
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
>>Sheez people. Obviously she did not know of she wouldn't have posted here asking for our help! Be gentle.<<

Normally you'd be right - yes we were a 'little sharp'. But zenfoodist is no newbie. S/he has about 35 threads going about this trip AND has traveled to Europe before so I certainly <i>do</i> hope she was kidding
janisj is online now  
Old Aug 13th, 2015, 10:50 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 97,211
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
If you mean that this post is just a joke, sorry then, I did not know there was a history with this poster.
suze is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2015, 10:57 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 12,820
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree with everyone else here, but I'm more polite. There will be ATM's everywhere, including at your airport when you land.

My bank charges $5.00 for foreign withdrawals, no matter how much money you withdraw. My limit is $500 per withdrawal, so that's what I always get.

On my last trip I used my debit card a good deal for small items, and when I returned home, I was annoyed to find a little charge for each purchase--about 3%. In the future I will pay for small items with cash and larger items with my credit card, which no longer has a fee for foreign charges.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2015, 11:00 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 18,115
Received 22 Likes on 4 Posts
Get Euros at first airport you lamd at in Europe. We always save some for our next trip. It's a little late but do you and your parents have credit cards with no conversion rate? That is also a big saving.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2015, 11:01 AM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 168
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I wasn't kidding. At all. My son is 11 years old and this is his first trip to Europe, and I haven't been to Europe in about 13 years. We have traveled extensively in North America since my son was born and I haven't had to change money.

I haven't used an ATM card in probably 20 years. Other than purchases I make through PayPal online, I am exclusively a cash person. Obviously, I will need to get an ATM card for this trip. My parents don't even have an ATM card. Cash or credit for them.

I have indeed used this board quite a bit over the last few months to help plan this 70th birthday trip to Europe for my parents. Don't think it was 35 posts though. Glad you are keeping track. As always, there's no need to respond if you're bothered.

Sorry to have hit a nerve. I'm clearly not as savvy as any of you are. Thanks for deigning to respond.
zenfoodist is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2015, 11:02 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 97,211
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
If they have been to Europe before, you're right, I don't understand why they don't already know the answers. Pretty basic stuff.
suze is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2015, 11:05 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,728
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Upon advice from other Fodorites last year, I opened a Capital One 360 checking account. No fees at all for using at BANK atm's in Europe. Important not to go to convenience store type ATM's, as they add their own fee. There are always ATM's right in the airport, so stop there first.

Easy to open, as it is all internet. Takes a couple of days though, so get right on it (they do a little ten cent transaction to make sure everything running smoothly). another advantage to this is that you can only deposit the funds you'll need for your travel - so not connected to your "primary" home checking account, less dangerous.

Have a great trip!
joan is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2015, 11:07 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,728
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"you can only deposit the funds you'll need for your travel"

meant to say you can CHOOSE to only deposit limited funds, for your specific needs on this trip....
joan is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2015, 11:11 AM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 168
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks so much, Joan. That is great advice. Don't think I will have time to sort that out for this particular trip but we plan to come to Europe annually for the next 4 years and I will look into this.
zenfoodist is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2015, 11:15 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,288
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Make sure you and they have credit cards that don't charge a fee for foreign transactions. There are now plenty of such cards available: Capitol One is the old standby, but I have cards from Chase (a United airlines card and a Hyatt card) that don't charge for foreign transaction. The usual foreign transaction charge on credit cards is 3%.

Check on what your bank charges for ATM withdrawals. The "big banks" charge $5 per withdrawal plus 3%. Smaller banks and credit union charge less, and brokerage accounts often charge nothing for use of a foreign ATM and some even refund any charges made by the owner of the foreign ATM.

I don't remember where you arrive i9n Europe, but just a caution: While you will find ATMs "everywhere" if you arrive at CDG (Paris) the ATMs inside baggage claim are ll owned by Travelex which means they will charge a substantial fee. Go downstairs to where you get taxis and you will find a number of bank-owned machines - use these.
Kathie is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2015, 11:30 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 72,927
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
>>Other than purchases I make through PayPal online, I am exclusively a cash person.<<

OK -- now I get it you are sort of a troglodyte (meant kindly ) You will have some problems if you don't use credit cards or ATMs. Mainly because of the HUGE security issue. You really don't want to be carrying thousands of $$$/€€€ with you. Before you travel you should at minimum get one ATM card (and a credit card if you can)
janisj is online now  
Old Aug 13th, 2015, 11:33 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 17,801
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
<I haven't used an ATM card in probably 20 years. Other than purchases I make through PayPal online, I am exclusively a cash person. Obviously, I will need to get an ATM card for this trip. My parents don't even have an ATM card. Cash or credit for them. >

None of my business, and you don't have to answer if you don't want to, but how do you get cash? Just curious. Won't use your answer to assail you, I promise!
NewbE is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -