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czech and hungarian currency

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Mar 30th, 2012, 07:28 AM
  #1
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czech and hungarian currency

I am starting in Prague (3 nights, 2.5 days). Then on a Danube riverboat going through Germany and Austria. Of course I will have euros with me, but am worried whether I will need the Czech currency. I end with a full day in Budapest, and will have to pay for cab fare to the airport the last morning. Can I get by with a credit card in Prague and Budapest, and do they accept the euro at all? I am wondering if it is worth the trouble to order the Czech currency (and possibly the Hungarian) before I go?
heinlec is offline  
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Mar 30th, 2012, 08:16 AM
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First of all, you should obtain currency from bank ATMs with your DEBIT card in the country in which you are traveling. Ordering before you go will net you a TERRIBLE exchange rate and means you will be carrying a lot of cash with you.

Second, good luck finding banks that will carry forints and korunas unless you are in NY, SF, DC or Chicago, if that. More terrible exchange rates.

You should obtain cash from ATMs as necessary in Prague and/or Budapest. You can pay for restaurants and souvenirs with credit card, tours and local transportation will require cash.

A car service arranged by the hotel may be able to avoid needing cash your final day in Budapest.
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Mar 30th, 2012, 08:26 AM
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If places do accept Euros then the exchange rate would not be favorable for you. You could possibly get by w/o local currency but don't try to buy a bottle of water from a vendor or or an ice cream cone or eat in small restaurants serving local clientele.

Do as Russ explains.
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Mar 31st, 2012, 08:26 AM
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Thanks, Russ & Adrienne. Although I do live in Chicago, I will wait until I get there and use the debit card. Your help will save me a little $$$, and I appreciate that.
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Mar 31st, 2012, 09:24 AM
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I've been to Budapest several times in the last 8 years and was there, as well as in Prague, most recently in 2009.
Euros widely accepted in both cities, as well as their local currency (Forints in Hungary, Czech Kroner in Prague). The time will come when they will move to Euro-only, but thats still a few years away.

I think your USD to Euro exchange rate would be better in Chicago than it would be in Europe. Here in Canada, I can buy Euros (cash) over the counter, but I don't know if you can in Chicago.

If you can, I'd recommend travelling with euros, and convert small amounts to local currency, if you find you need it. There are lots of little currency booths located in the streets of both cities that offer competitive exchange rates. I've used them all the time.
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Mar 31st, 2012, 09:29 AM
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In both countries, there are a lot of kantors - private exchange offices - giving a better rate than banks for converting euro into local currency with no commission. Shop around, as rates vary.
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Mar 31st, 2012, 09:50 AM
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For 3 days in Prague you should get crowns as suggested (debit card / ATM)

In Budapest it will be more optional.
You will probably have some leftover euros then from your cruise. When you are in the touristy areas, you can buy the odd bottle of water or ice cream with euros. If you think you need more cash, you can exchange the euros.

For the taxi ride to the airport you don't need cash. Ask the concierge to call a "FöTaxi" which accepts credit cards
http://fotaxi.eu/
That company has a good reputation and a capped price for airport transfers and is the only one licensed to pick up arriving passengers at the airport.
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Apr 3rd, 2012, 07:05 AM
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Don't be obsessed about the money.
If you have some left when leaving the country, buy some postcards you didn't otherwise want, or find some other way to use it up.
Worst case, you just flat GIVE it to the neediest-appearing person you see as you leave the country.

You're going to spend, what, $5,000- $10,000 on a trip and dither about how to use up 100 korunas ($3.00)? What is that, 1/20th of one percent?
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Apr 3rd, 2012, 07:54 AM
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"I think your USD to Euro exchange rate would be better in Chicago than it would be in Europe."

Absolute rubbish. The best exchange rate is from an ATM IN country. Preferably using a card from a bank (e.g. Capital One - ATM not CC) or credit union charging low or no fees. We just had a long thread right here on this very subject.
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Apr 22nd, 2012, 01:59 AM
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Hi, there is a list of exchange offices, which offer the best exchange rates in Prague (incl. VIP coupons for better exchange rates).
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Apr 22nd, 2012, 03:15 AM
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Sorry but Mathiu is basically wrong about Chicago currency rates.

Some people will take currency from the countries around (I've done it by mistake offering the wrong pile of notes from the wallet). 1) it's rude 2) you will get a terrible rate (assume at least 10% worse than you can get in a bank and 3) just about acceptable if making up a tip in an area where there will be loads of international travelers.

At Prague airport you will find ATMs (big signs on the outside of them) offering both euro and Czech krona.

"Little booths" oh my god, lets join in the whole car boot, fell off the back of the wagon industry why don't we.

One solution to the taxis bill is to get the hotel to buy the trip for you and pay them instead.
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Apr 22nd, 2012, 09:48 AM
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Sorry but Mathiu is basically wrong about Chicago currency rates.

Some people will take currency from the countries around (I've done it by mistake offering the wrong pile of notes from the wallet). 1) it's rude 2) you will get a terrible rate (assume at least 10% worse than you can get in a bank and 3) just about acceptable if making up a tip in an area where there will be loads of international travellers.

"Little booths" oh my god, lets join in the whole car boot, fell off the back of the wagon industry why don't we.

Bilbobulgler, perhaps if you wrote something intelligible instead of that drivel that your inept fingers seem only capable of spewing, we might understand what you're trying to say.
Even better if you've ever been to Budapest and know about the little - and very legit - currency booths that sometimes offer better rates, instead of talking through your proverbial hat.
Your ignorance and condescension proves that the only thing to have fallen off the back of a wagon is you.
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Apr 22nd, 2012, 10:16 AM
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"that sometimes offer better rates"

Better rates than the interbank rate? Better rates after you take the fees into account? How do you think they are making any money?

And who wants to have to hassle with finding them and checking out the rates when you can just hit the nearest ATM? Thanks to my Capital One Direct Banking account I get the interbank rate, no foreign conversion fees, and no bank fees for using a foreign ATM.

With rare exceptions (none of them in Europe) you should always use the local currency.
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Apr 22nd, 2012, 10:26 AM
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Good point. Being wrong is one thing. Being rude is another.
bilboburgler is online now  
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Apr 22nd, 2012, 05:06 PM
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Who cares about the interbank rate Thursdaysd ? Do you even know what that rate really is ? It is a defined rate, and available to so few it isn't worth discussing in general. Without checking it out, I'm surprised (as I was when you posted about it in the other long thread) that Capital One Direct Banking even offers it - free of charge - for such nominal amounts; besides that, fees structures are different everywhere in the world. I've been a global banker for 24 years and I know all this for a fact. I've dealt with banks and currencies globally, negotiating rates and fees for these and other financial products that you couldn't even begin to comprehend; I think I know of what I speak.
Your Capital One Direct Banking isn't the preferred account of everyone just because it works for you in your part of the world wherever that may be; nor is it an option for everyone on this global forum.

And Bilboburgler, you'd be well advised to take a chunk of your own advice. Both the 'one thing' and 'the other'. Since when is it rude to take a country's local currency in with you and pay with it ? If you can't keep track of what country you're in and what currency they use, and instead fishing out of your wallet some other country's currency and trying to scam your way and pay with that, I'd say thats YOUR own foolishness. But thanks for the improved sentence.
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Apr 22nd, 2012, 05:25 PM
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"you couldn't even begin to comprehend"

Oh please. Swelled head on full display. What we're talking about here isn't rocket science, in any case. Maybe you fully understand the ridiculous financial instruments that destroyed the global economy, but here we're just interested in the cheapest way to get foreign currency.

And yes I do know what interbank rate means.
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Apr 22nd, 2012, 06:23 PM
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Mathieu -

Sorry - the one talking through his hat is you. I have been traveling in europe - all over europe - more than 90 trips - for the past 35 years.

And while your profession may be dealing with large-scale international currency transactions - that has nothing whatever to do with the needs of the average tourist.

And every credit card and bank ATM works off of the day's interbank rate (with usually a 1% to 3% fee added to the top). This is much better than any rate you can get anywhere in the US (since banks in the US simply don't want to deal with foreign currency for the average customer) and while bureau de changes may offer "no fees" they typically (in their little booths) give rates that are 8% to 10% above the Interbank rate. This is a good choice only if for some reason the tourist wants to throw 5% to 7% of their funds out the window.
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Apr 22nd, 2012, 11:01 PM
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Mathieu wrote : There are lots of little currency booths located in the streets of both cities that offer competitive exchange rates. I've used them all the time.

I cannot tell about Budapest but for Prague where I have been to about 20 times in last 10 years, from my own experiencce and from what people say here and especially the locals and frequent travellers to the city, on tripadvisor forum, above advise is WRONG. Those numerous booths in Prague shows very good rates in front but thoese are for exchange a large amount e.g. from €1000.00. I cannot believe a "banker" has used them all the time. If you write about it on tripadvisor forum, people there will laugh about it. There are a couple of exceptions however. The exchange offices on the list posted above by Derni may be such ones. I recognize the one at Kaprova 13, 110 00 Prague 1, mentioned sometimes on tripadvisor forum by DE as a (rare) good one. Otherwise, it's always best to use ATM, ask any forum, you get the same answer.

> Euro widely accepted at both cities.
But usually at quite bad exchange rates ( no surprise ) but if you don't mind losing money ( as you have done at those "little booths " ), I guess that's ok with you.
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Apr 23rd, 2012, 12:21 AM
  #19
 
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Russ is correct!
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