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

Get Pounds in US before trip or in London? Does it make a difference?

Get Pounds in US before trip or in London? Does it make a difference?

Old Feb 5th, 2004, 04:01 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 481
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Get Pounds in US before trip or in London? Does it make a difference?

I should know this, but I am not sure. Should we pick up all of the pounds we need for this trip before we get to London? Or, just get some cash now and get the rest of the money from ATMs? Assuming that there is no issue with carrying the money around with us - my concern is the exchange rate - any difference here or there?
Susan56 is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2004, 04:18 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,154
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I wouldn't advise exchanging large amounts of currency before your trip. Depending on where you are planning to make the transaction, the fees and rates can often be very poor. Moreover, making use of your credit cards for many purchases and ATMs for cash needs is safer and a lot more convenient than carrying a large amount of currency with you.
Flyboy is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2004, 04:21 AM
  #3  
JonJon
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Agree totally w/Flyboy...you might exchange just enough to get you to the arrival airport and an ATM there..use it to get cash for the best exchange rates and use your credit card instead of cash whenever possible.
 
Old Feb 5th, 2004, 06:49 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 481
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We plan on using a credit card for as much as possible. And the safety of the cash is not the issue - we just thought that since we were going to get some pounds here, why not get a lot - is the exhange better there?
Susan56 is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2004, 06:54 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,749
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Unless someone has discovered a recent secret, there is no way to get pounds in the US as cheaply as you will get them in London drawing them out of your own checkig account via at ATM. You might call your bank and see if they have a UK bank with a reciprocal agreement to even save you the $1 to $3 fee some US banks charge for using foreign ATMs.
Patrick is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2004, 06:54 AM
  #6  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,699
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Susan,

You get the best exchange rate using your ATM card in Europe. The worst is from your local US bank.

European banks do not charge for use of the ATM. Ask your bank about their fees for "out of network" transactions, and maximum withdrawls.
ira is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2004, 06:55 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,604
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Susan,
I just returned from the UK a couple of weeks ago. I'd advise getting some GBP over here and if possible, and you need more cash while there, use your ATM card. Yes, you will get a better rate doig that.
Happy Travels,
BC
bookchick is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2004, 07:02 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 49,553
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Before you leave, get yourself enough pounds to get yourself through the first day. Thereafter, use ATMs and your credit card.
StCirq is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2004, 07:44 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 11,769
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just wondering if anyone has experienced any ATM gliches recently? I know some of you are big proponents of the use of ATM cards. It seems that years ago, everyone who tried relying on ATM cards had a horror story, but I'm guessing the availability and effectiveness of the machines have increased dramatically.
Bitter is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2004, 07:47 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,049
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My son felt he needed some European currency to carry with him, and the fees for getting it were usurious. Not only was the exchange rate skewed, there was also a delivery charge.

I am not a vastly experienced traveller, but I have yet to be unable to obtain local currency from an ATM at the airport after arrival. Once the first ATM I tried was out of service, but there was another nearby that worked.

I'm curious why people feel they need the local currency before they get to the destination airport? Where can you spend it? Even when I have had a tight connection (plane to train in Venice) there has been plenty of time and opportunity to use the ATM.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2004, 07:58 AM
  #11  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,699
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi CB,

Some of us feel that arriving in a strange place disoriented and jet lagged, where you don't know the language and are unfamiliar with the layout, with no money in your pocket is an unpleasant experience and prefer to spend a dollar or two to avoid it.
ira is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2004, 08:00 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 49,553
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I am a big propopnent of arriving in Europe with enough currency to get me through the day. I can't tell you how many times I've flown into CDG and seen that the ATM machine was out of order or that there was a long line to use it.

I just don't choose to spend my time fussing with getting money after an all-night flight and usually with a full day of train and car travel ahead of me before I reach my destination.

Where do I spend it? On a taxi to take me into Paris to the train station. For a cup of coffee and a croissant at the airport or train station. For a sandwich to take on the train.

I have an account with Ruesch International and can get currency ahead of time without paying any major fees, so the costs of getting it are not an issue.
StCirq is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2004, 08:37 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 657
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I?m reading these responses and I?m with you all on getting cash from the ATM, but what if you need a large amount of cash? I?ll need big bucks for an apartment balance and you can only withdraw I think 200 or is it 300 euro a day?

There are 4 of us and with our ATMs we?ll only be able to come up with a small portion of the balance as the owner requires cash payment on arrival. So same question, is it best to get euros in the US or bring travelers checks and exchange at a bank there?

Thanks for suggestions.
ecat is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2004, 08:48 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 49,553
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
For about $5.00 you can get an international draft in euros for whatever amount you need to pay for the apartment. For the apartment owner, it's the equivalent of cash. If he/she will accept it, it's a lot easier than arriving with a wad of cash or making several trips to the ATM.
StCirq is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2004, 09:03 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 217
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Pounds will not do you any good in London. They use the EURO. I have always used the ATM machine at the airport for my first cash. Make sure your ATM card is linked to your checking account and not your savings account. I have never had any problems using the ATM in any country.
herself is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2004, 09:29 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 49,553
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
No, herself, England does NOT use the euro. Pounds are still the British currency.
StCirq is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2004, 09:30 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 130
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Huh?
KenCT is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2004, 09:31 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 481
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have to correct you, "herself", - Great Britain uses pounds; not euros.
Susan56 is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2004, 09:33 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 130
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
That "Huh?" was supposed to hit before St. Cirq posted. But since I'm back.... I must say that I have some anxiety going into a country with absolutely no currency, but never, not once, ever having had a problem locating or using an ATM, it less stressful every time. By the way, at Heathrow, there's an ATM almost straight ahead of you as you exit customs.
KenCT is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2004, 09:41 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,611
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I read that it is not unusual for an ATM card or credit card to be declined for a few minutes or hours while you are in Europe. That source said it had something to do with transatlantic lines and not being able to verify the account, but I don't know if it is true.

Sure enough, two years ago in London, when I got to my hotel, one of my credit cards was declined (the other one was OK). I used the same card at other times during the trip with no problem.

The first 3 times I tried to use an ATM, my dept card was refused. 1 & 1/2 hours later it worked at the same machine that wouldn't work the first time. There was no other problems with ATMs during the trip.

I'm glad that I took a few pounds with me and glad that I had heard of this before I experienced it.

Keith
Keith is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:30 PM.