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EXCHANGE MONEY OR GET TRAVELER'S CHECKS???

EXCHANGE MONEY OR GET TRAVELER'S CHECKS???

Old Jun 21st, 2005, 09:53 AM
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EXCHANGE MONEY OR GET TRAVELER'S CHECKS???

Hi all first time going to London. I found a bank that would exchange american $ for euros...is that a good idea or wait until I get to London..also should I consider traveler's checks?

Thanks.
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Old Jun 21st, 2005, 10:02 AM
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If you are concerned at all about saving money, then neither is a good option.

The best bet is to use an ATM card tied to your bank account. You will get the best rate.

Nearly any bank will exchange money, the question is what will it cost you. And don't be fooled by signs at exchange booths that say "no fee". There may be no fee, but the rate they give you will more than make up for the lack of a separate fee for exchanging the currency.



If you want to read a few hours (or maybe days) worth of opinions on the matter, type in "currency exchange" or a similar phrase in the search function and read away.
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Old Jun 21st, 2005, 10:08 AM
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This question comes up all the time, and every knowledgeable traveler will tell you to use your ATM card. And furthermore, euros are not used in London, they use the pound.
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Old Jun 21st, 2005, 10:10 AM
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agree with Patrick, use atms.
Call your atm card and credit card issuers, and advise them you will be traveling, so they don't freeze your account for unusual activity. Also be aware that the atm card when used abroad will access your checking account, not your savings account. Use the atm card to get cash, use the credit card for as many purchases as you can but not cash except in emergency because on credit card cash advances (which require a PIN usually), the finance charges start immediately.

Some people, as an extra precaution, bring a couple of hundred dollars in travelers checks, as the ultimate back up should the cards fail, or be lost.
Use them only in case of emergency. Otherwise, when you get home, just deposit them into your own bank account, or save them, uncashed, for the next trip.

I have a long file on London; if you'd like to see it, email me at
[email protected]
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Old Jun 21st, 2005, 10:11 AM
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P_M, nice catch on the euro-pounds.
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Old Jun 21st, 2005, 10:19 AM
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Thank you, elaine.

Just imagine how awful it would have been for lbui05 if he/she paid those ridiculous fees that American banks charge to get euros, only to find that they cannot be used in London. Then lbui05 would have to pay those fees again to get pounds. I wonder how many Americans do that, not knowing that some EU countries do not use the euro.
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Old Jun 21st, 2005, 10:22 AM
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Thank you everyone for your advice/help..and obviously I am clueless and a first time traveler...euros to pounds...=)
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Old Jun 21st, 2005, 10:22 AM
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I can't believe I missed the "euro" reference. How awful it would have been for you to exchange your $ for euro, only to arrive in London and have to exchange the euros for pounds -- losing a lot twice instead of just once.
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Old Jun 21st, 2005, 10:23 AM
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You are most welcome, and if you have any other questions about London, you will get loads of good info from this board.
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Old Jun 21st, 2005, 10:41 AM
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1) ATM connected to your home checking account to withdraw pounds directly.

2) US cash to exchange at a bank or kiosk at the airport.

3) Charge card(s) for major expenses.

4) Generally speaking no need to TC's unless this is an extended trip or you need to pay your hotel bill in cash (and even then they are expensive to use and a bit of a pain to cash).

All can wait until you get to London.
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Old Jun 21st, 2005, 02:33 PM
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Be sure and check your credit card slips before signing them. Dynamic currency conversion, where the merchant sets the exchange rate, always higher than official rate, is spreading in the UK. Most noticeable with hotels. I stayed in hotel recently that attempted to charge me in US$ instead of pounds. When I insisted on being charged in pounds, was told that he couldn't put it through in pounds! Printed on the slip just underneath the signature line was the statement "I accept the exchange rate used".
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Old Jun 21st, 2005, 03:06 PM
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Hi ibui05, don't feel bad about thinking euros instead of pounds. There was someone on here a few months ago that had her bank tell her that they needed euro for England. I could not believe it.

Personally I like to have some of the country's money with me before I depart the US others do too while others don't. So just do what seems to be the best for you. I also take a couple of hundred in US dollars so I have it when I return home. If you feel the need to take some traveller's checks (you probably will not use them) you can redeposit them back in to your banking account when you return home. Have a wonderful trip!
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