Do you take some cash?

Apr 4th, 2008, 06:32 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,313
Also bring some local change.

I got off the plane in London to get onto the train, headed to Leeds. Had to go to the bathroom - but they needed 10p, and I only had paper pounds. No change!

Another lady had pity on me and gave me some change
GreenDragon is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 06:56 AM
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We always have at least 100 euros on hand before traveling from the UK to wherever in the eurozone. We also have a smaller amount (about £20 worth) of various other currencies--Swiss francs, Norwegian k, etc. and about $100 in USD for trips to the U.S. (incl. a few dollars' worth of change).

I also make sure my mother back in the U.S. has both £ and € for when she comes to visit us. I offer her the favorable exchange rate of $1=£50. She pays the usual handling fees, of course--a minimum of 3 home-cooked meals and two games of Chicken Foot.
BTilke is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 07:02 AM
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Greendragon, isn't the kindness of strangers a wonderful thing?
Poohgirl is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 07:08 AM
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I take about 200-300 in US 20's to convert the old-fashioned way at an airport bureau de change in case the ATM fails me (which it never has), plus any euros left over from the previous trip (usually 50-100).
kayd is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 07:59 AM
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Poohgirl, it is - especially after 36 hours of being up traveling on a transatlantic flight and REALLY having to go!!!!
GreenDragon is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 08:14 AM
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I always take about 100 Euros (or local currency) with me. When I land, I want to get something to drink and get to the hotel. I don't want to have to worry about getting money before doing these things. I just don't want to trust that I will find a working ATM right away. I also carry about $50 with me because I always seem to have to switch planes in the US and I want to be able get something to drink/eat/read while I'm in the airport. Again, I'd rather not have to locate an ATM.
cls2paris is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 08:21 AM
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agulha, do you know the exchange rate AAA uses for its packets of foreign money?

The first time I went cold turkey to Europe with no TCs, no foreign money, I felt nervous. But it's worked out fine every time. Plenty of ATMs in Italy, even in small towns. Just make sure your ATM card sports one or more of the big network symbols.

And remember, in case of emergency, you can get cash from your credit card.
Mimar is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 08:24 AM
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I used to.... But now it's exremely expensive to get foreign currency here. I have to pay a large comission plus overnight FEDEX charges, so it's not worth it.

I've never had a problem in Europe. Every ATM I've ever tried gave me cash. Some stores, though, don't take US debit cards.

I've had a lot of problems in Japan; there's only one ATM company that I've found that actually takes US debit cards, and that's the JTB ones. None of the others do that I've found. You can pay for stuff in stores, but you can't get cash... Go figure.
CptDondo is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 08:26 AM
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I bring no cash and stop at an ATM in the airport.
bdjtbenson is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 08:55 AM
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AAA charges about a 7-9 pct markup on the foreign currency they give you in those packets. I don't know why people think there is "no fee". They aren't doing it for free with foreign currency. It's built into the exchange formula they use. They do give you TCs in your own currency for free, though, and I make use of that. I think they call that cashpax now, but they only sell those in a few currencies, anyway (euro and pounds and CAD and maybe pesos).
Christina is online now  
Apr 4th, 2008, 09:01 AM
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I take local currency approximately for one day.

I live in San Francisco, and usually there is currency at the bank, but once had to order, it took probably 3 business days for it to arrive.
FainaAgain is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 09:12 AM
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I always like to take a day or so worth of cash with me when I go. It usually takes me between 25-30 hours to fly to Europe, so by the time I land I am a zombie.

All I want to do is grab my bags and get to my hotel, not look for an ATM or currency exchange booth.

I order the currency from my bank and I pay a small fee for it.
chepar is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 09:19 AM
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I am leaving in 1 day and I am taking 300 Euros (obtained from AMEX) and also some American dollars. Also taking AMEX Travelers Checks as back up since there are AMEX offices everywhere I am going (chalk that up to paranoia). Several years ago I was in Canada and my ATM card did not work ANYWHERE! I tried every ATM at the train station, and then many many banks. I think at that time it was a Visa based card, and all of the banks I tried were Mastercard based. Whatever - it was a disaster!
So, now I protect myself - it is worth it for peace of mind.

PS - I am from a NYC suburb and there is an AMEX office 20 minutes from me.
butnotrmpt is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 09:27 AM
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Unless I happen to have a little leftover, I never take cash with me. I just find the nearest ATM. If it is a place where cabs take credit cards, I often don't even bother getting cash at the airport.

I live in Copenhagen, so basically need foreign currency no matter where I travel, be it the rest of Europe, the US, or wherever.
travelgourmet is online now  
Apr 4th, 2008, 09:42 AM
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I realize that TCs may give peace of mind, but in my opinion paying too much for currency, carrying around all that "cash", and having to take time out of my day to either find an Amex office or go line up at a bank during business hours and hope they will take them...seems a bit much.

I need cash...hey there's another ATM machine...and another...

Why make life difficult (and more expensive)? I have my CCs if ever there are any bank issues.
Michel_Paris is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 09:46 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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Yep, I always bring enough local currency to cover my first day. It saves me from having to waste time looking all over an unfamiliar airport for an ATM.
robertino is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 09:52 AM
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Can't explain why it did not work, I use my card in US all the time, and have for years.

The bank machines in Canada (as elsewhere) are not credit card based, but network based...part of Cirrus, Plus, etc..Could it be you were trying to do an advance on your credit card?

Please come back and try again, we like our tourists

Michel_Paris is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 09:57 AM
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Another one who takes only if she had some leftover from her previous visit. Otherwise, I have a few hundred US$ to exchange immediately if the ATMs are no where to be found.

For the record, I live and work in NYC.
mcnyc is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 11:13 AM
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The AAA packets may have "no fee" but I'm guessing the exchange rate they use more than makes up for it!
suze is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 11:22 AM
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I always wait till I get to my destination - I do not worry about having cash in my hand (except what is in my wallet when I leave the US) I remember explaining once to a taxi driver that I need to stop at an ATM to get some cash because the ATM at the airport was down for servicing. It was not a big deal. I've done this numerous times with taxi drivers in NYC when I realized I was short on cash. And now taxis around the world take credit cards (though some drivers may claim the machine is broken). I have never had a problem - and when it does happen, I'm sure I'll be able to improvise...
Carta_Pisana is offline  

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