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Converting dollars to euros in the States before trip?

Converting dollars to euros in the States before trip?

Old Aug 22nd, 2015, 07:43 AM
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For days now when this thread comes up on my list, speaking of converting, my brain reads the title as

Converting dollars to donuts in the States before trip?
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Old Aug 22nd, 2015, 07:50 AM
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FHurdle: do what you want -- apparently throwing money away is one of your favorite pastimes . . .
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Old Aug 22nd, 2015, 07:54 AM
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No donuts but croissants au beurre, don't forget the original OP wants to go to France.

We'll get to 200 posts soon.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2015, 08:09 AM
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FHurdle had an interesting thread last year -
"I was (partially) wrong about debit cards vs. cash "
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Old Aug 22nd, 2015, 10:52 AM
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"I will not get a bank debit card because they almost always result in all of one's money being drained out of one's checking account through fraud."

This (irrational?) fear is easily resolved: don't link your ATM to your major accounts. Have an ATM linked only to an account into which you deposit money when you think you'll need it, and you can open that account in another bank for added security.

But heh, different people have different habits. At one time a hundred years ago many people only used gold and silver when travelling, not trusting paper money. Much later, others used traveler's checks even when they became inconvenient to cash.

It's really not important - use whichever you want to pay for.

My wife hated using plastic, so at home used either cash or paper checks, until our favorite supermarket stopped accepting checks. She still distrusts debit cards, but now used credit cards for almost all purchases. I, on the other hand, find plastic convenient and use both credit cards and debit cards almost exclusively ... and will be using my phone more as those transactions become easier.

Different people with different habits? Sure. That's life - it just isn't important. (Having said that, we always shop rates, are aware of costs of the options, and always pay off our bills on-time or, when travelling for extended trips, pay for expected charges on our credit cards prior to leaving.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2015, 11:22 AM
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NeoP: for my cases I calculated that not paying the $5 + 3% for ATM withdrawals equals $75 per trip. Yes a bit under 1% of the total trip cost but more than an ice cream or two. My cases assume a few larger withdrawals to pay cash for lodging.

kyB: I only found 1 ATM @ FCO terminal 1 (longish walk to the far end). But it worked out.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2015, 11:57 AM
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<i>I'll admit that I sometimes get caught up in these discussions telling people to change banks to get a better ATM deal, etc., but honestly in the grand scheme of European vacations -- how much total money is being saved and how much effort is going to changing banks and then limiting yourself to searching for the right ATM?</i>

It depends on the style of travel. In Germany we were frequently asked to pay in cash. In fact, in one instance I was marched to the ATM machine to pre-pay the room, in a town which should be used to foreign tourists: Bamberg. We pay cash for fuel, and usually for anything under 30€. All that adds up to going to the ATM about twice a week, taking out about 400€ per week, sometimes more. At that point, fees add up.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2015, 12:41 PM
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If you can afford an $800 air fare, and say ten nights in a hotel at $150 a night, then you can afford a few $5.00 ATM fees.

This reminds me of all the threads about tipping .........
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Old Aug 22nd, 2015, 03:29 PM
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It's not a question of affording a few ATM fees but why should the bank get them when cumulatively they represent a nice restaurant meal for me? And don't give me "it costs" argument. It costs pennies to convert and transfer the money, Visa does well with its one percent charge, and ATMs were originally justified as a cost saving measure, i.e. personnel reductions.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2015, 03:29 AM
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>>>kyB: I only found 1 ATM @ FCO terminal 1 (longish walk to the far end). But it worked out.<<<

Most people coming from the US will arrive T3. At T1, there is an ATM as you are exiting baggage claim.

>>>If you can afford an $800 air fare, and say ten nights in a hotel at $150 a night, then you can afford a few $5.00 ATM fees.<<<

Maybe they scrimped to be able to afford that.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2015, 04:37 AM
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Of course, to each his or her own. Everybody ultimately has to make their own decision, of course, as to what works best for them. I will say this though. The last time I used cash for something while either at home or abroad was last December and I think it was to buy an ice cream bar at Disneyland at one of those stands which I don't think take cards. This included a trip to Britain, France and a cruise from Venice through ports in Greece, Turkey, Italy ending in Spain. I credit card everything, no matter how large or small, wherever cards are taken. (I do know there are still some countries where cash is king although reading a recent article about the world of credit cards invading Germany, that is beginning to change). Hence, I arrive in Europe, for example, and if I don't have sterling or euro left from a previous trip, pull out a minimum amount using an ATM/debit card which charges no fees and even reimburses fees if the bank charges one. Usually, I return home with that cash still in my pocket.

Even the parking meters in NYC where I live now take credit cards. 15 minutes for 25¢, in goes the credit card. Of course, others may disagree. I read advice from people which say not to use credit cards for small purchases because the card may be compromised. Long ago, I stopped worrying about cards being compromised. If it is a few phone calls to point out the fraudulent charges (more often than not these days, the bank contacts me about suspicious charges) and within a day or two I have a new card with a new number. Yes it is a bit inconvenient to notify my automatic billers of the new number but then again, I have to do that every time the expiration date changes anyway.

As far as debit cards vs. credit cards vs. debit cards, yes you have basically comparable protections but...if your debit card is hacked, you are out actual money until it is restored not virtual money (a bill) in the case of a credit card. Also you have somewhat more leverage with a credit card in cases where shoddy merchandise has or has not been received paid for with plastic. I just don't see why people would prefer to use a debit card rather than a credit card but as I said at the start, to each his or her own. The same goes with not using your primary checking account if a bank charges fees for atm withdrawals. There are many internet banks now that it takes 5 minutes to open a new account, keep $1.01 in it, transfer via the internet cash into it for withdrawals from ATM's during the trip and retuning the money to your main account as soon as you get home. Not exactly overwhelmingly difficult and I'd rather have the $5 in my pocket rather than with the Bank of America.

But to repeat for the third time, I'm not here to argue my way is better or worse than anybody else's. It works for me and that's all that counts, eh.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2015, 07:46 AM
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Some issues with credit card only:

Checking small bags in lockers is required at some tourist sites (esp in Denmark) and also using railway station lockers, such times will require coins.

Food stands along streets or rivers or in parks (like Tivoli) are cash only.

Many restaurants in Germany and Austria are cash only.

I have had a credit card fail at an Aldi in Germany even though it had a chip.

I don't feel credit only is a reasonable option because it is too limiting and I have tried it.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2015, 08:01 AM
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Not looking to argue but I did say some of this is country specific and there are certainly reasons to get small amounts of cash for the types of things you mention. The OP did say he or she was talking about Italy. Italy is big on credit cards, more so than say Germany and Holland but one may need a few euro here and there without question.
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