How much money to bring?

Old Jun 25th, 2013, 06:08 AM
  #21  
 
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Where in Scotland?

We do not have ATMs on every corner.
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Old Jun 25th, 2013, 06:37 AM
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You need to explain exactly WTH this is: "special global debit card through my bank." Anything that's "special" through a bank is designed to generate FEES for the bank. So you need to run the numbers regarding the foreign exchange fees on your normal debit card v. the costs of the "special" card. Identify the bank.

Generally, you don't NEED a "special global debit card" because your regular debit card is on either the Plus or Cirrus network (check the back for the appropriate logos; Plus is tied to Visa, Cirrus is tied to MasterCard) and your regular card will work in the "special global" destinations. This is true in Scotland, which is a semi-modern country with actual electricity and ATMs.

There is entirely too much information on the interweb and far too many low and no cost choices to rely on your own bank's generosity. See this guide http://flyerguide.com/wiki/index.php...reign_Exchange.

Easiest thing to do is set up a Cap One account or other 0% per ATM withdrawal account online and throw about 3500 into it. That should cover your worst costs. Or join a local credit union.

In addition, get a good credit card that gives travel rewards. UnitedPlus through Chase doesn't charge foreign exchange fees anymore. Neither do many of the Cap One cards. Many of these cards waive the enrollment fee for the first year, so you can use them and dump them before getting hit with the $59-85 charge later (assuming you're not shooting for a black card that has a $425+/year fee).
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Old Jun 25th, 2013, 06:45 AM
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I have a seperate bank with atm card just for traveling. It is not linked to my pay check or any of our bill paying stuff. It is just a straight atm/with visa logo and I keep 2500. in it for a big trip.
I also bring the money with me. I go to the local bank and order some pounds ahead of time. I would bring about 400 pounds for the trip. I then take a few different credit cards and call them all to tell them I will be in the UK and the dates. I will then use my capital one card as much as possible while traveling because there are no transaction fees and then I go.
I use the atm if I need to and if i don't, I can pay the credit card usage afterwards with it.
I like to have the money with me. I split it with DH and we each carry some cash. I don't like the idea of worrying about atms eating my card at the airport or whatever. I figure I will be tired when I arrive and want to know I have money for cabfare, dining or whatever.
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Old Jun 25th, 2013, 06:47 AM
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<<I go to the local bank and order some pounds ahead of time. I would bring about 400 pounds for the trip.>>

That's just daft. The airport in which you arrive in the UK will have a ton(ne) of ATMs and they have actual cash in them without having to pay the 8-10% markup that a US bank charges on the actual exchange rate. Basically, buying 400 quid in the US costs 32-40 pounds or $50-65 just so you can skip an ATM line. Geez.
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Old Jun 25th, 2013, 07:50 AM
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Well Big Russ, you can travel the way you want, and I travel the way I want. I like to bring money with me.
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Old Jun 25th, 2013, 08:14 AM
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For the most part, the UK (except for some very rural areas) is like the USA. Credit cards are taken everywhere and with the exception of very few places, do not impose minimum purchase requirements. I use my credit cards everywhere in the UK for everything with the exception of drinks in a pub. I bring nothing. First stop at Heathrow or whatever airport I land in, a stop at the ATM for a £10 withdrawal just in case. Rarely do I have to make another.

But as the last poser said, everybody has their own opinion on this.
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Old Jun 25th, 2013, 08:32 AM
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<<Well Big Russ, you can travel the way you want, and I travel the way I want>>

And I'm sure your bank thanks you for it. And I prefer to spend that money on myself and family.
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Old Jun 25th, 2013, 12:11 PM
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Why do people insist on ordering foreign currency from their bank before they leave? Might as well flush money down the toilet.
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Old Jun 25th, 2013, 12:38 PM
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I take $200 to Europe that is for emergency use only, which I have never had to use. I use foreign currency from the ATM machines and my Capital One credit card which has no international fee.
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Old Jun 25th, 2013, 12:52 PM
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"And I'm sure your bank thanks you for it. And I prefer to spend that money on myself and family"

I took my 3 credit cards and 20 euros to sail round the Ionian. That decision resulted in me having to back track sail 25 miles back to Lefkas town to the ATMs. Most businesses only accepted cash and that was 3 years ago.

Most small businesses in our area of Scotland will not accept credit card transactions for less than £10 or charge about £2 for doing so. Quite rightly.
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Old Jun 25th, 2013, 12:57 PM
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But you can get several hundred out at the airport...and then use one at every opportunity you have. Unless I missed it he hasn't said he is going to be in rural Scotland, if he is in Edinburgh, or Glasgow, or any other centre with a bank there is no problem. So Adam...where in Scotland will you be?
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Old Jun 25th, 2013, 01:06 PM
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And if you happen to be in SW Scotland, I happen to,know a B&B owner and restaurant owner who will team up to get you cash on your credit card no problem. ( long story )
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Old Jun 25th, 2013, 02:27 PM
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Yes, if you're going to be in less populated areas, definitely load up on cash at the ATMs before you leave civilization. But no need to enrich the bank plutocrats. We use credit cards and debit cards from credit unions, no transaction fee on ATM withdrawals and a minimal currency conversion rate of 1% over the interbank rate.
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Old Jun 25th, 2013, 03:12 PM
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about the only places that don't take c/cards nowadays in the UK are small B&Bs and self-catering establishments [like us!] because their fees eat into our too slender profit margins.

but if you have a debit card, you can get up to £50 cash back on any supermarket purchase, no matter how small.

if you need a lot of cash for some reason, remember that your debit card may have a daily limit on it.

none of that is any excuse for having a pre-paid card which have very poor exchange rates and high fees.
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Old Jun 25th, 2013, 03:35 PM
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There are several things that come out of this thread that are all telling as to how much mis=information is out there even on the part of people who should know better. I went on a tour with a young lady just a year or two ago who was told to convert all her money to euro and not to worry that in the UK, they will accept euro (yes they are accepted at some places but it's still a different currency with all the problems associated with currency conversions back and forth between completely different currencies). At least most Americans no longer believe, although some do, that everybody will take US dollars. Of course then there are still people who think it's a good idea to use travelers cheques (don't leave home without them).....ad are shocked at the difficulties in some places of exchanging for local currency or even bring them in local currencies and then wonder why nobody wants to touch them.

But let me just say this. Yes there may be some places in rurual parts of the UK where credit cards are not a way of life but for the most part, as I said, credit caqrds in the UK are almost as universal as in the USA. And the advantage of credit cading everything is you don't run out and have to start looking for an ATM. You charge everything and at the end of the trip, you divvy up. Simple as can be. British national railway lines all take credit cards for tickets. London undergrounds takes credit cards for tickets. Local transportation problems solved. Almost all restaurants on almost all levels take credit cards. The theatres, the discount ticket offices say at Leicester Square take credit cards. In all dus respect to anybody, why wouldn't you want to use credit cards in the UK? Now if you told me you were going to Germany or Holland where use of credit cards is not as universal, I might have a different answer.

And there are several caveats about the use of credit cards. Don't worry about anything you might read about using American credit cards in the UK. ASs of this moment, it is not a problem. Get a credit card with no foreign transaction fee. Cap One as many have point out is one. Several federal credit unions are others.

Also be aware of a scam called dynamic currency conversion where a merchant offers to bill you in US dollars (assuming the people asking here are American but the same works for Canadians and other foreigners to the uK). It is a scam pure and simple and if you are given a credit card slip to sign with a US dollar amount, tell the merchant to void the transaction and do it properly in sterling.

But frankly, I just can't conceive of travelling from the USA to the UK today the way I did the first time in 1971 and having to worry about exchanging currencies, bringing travelers cheques and all the bygone remants of ancient times.

Credit card everything with a debit card for whatever cash you might need which, in most cases, will be very little.
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Old Jun 25th, 2013, 04:46 PM
  #36  
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Hey Jami, I will be in Edinburgh. Staying for 8 days. I'll probably mostly sightsee and take the occasional tour, but for the most part I'll walk around the city and take pics.

As far as my budget goes, I'll have to agree that 100 pounds per day sounds feasible. I mean I want to eat out at different places, but not fancy ones. Wanna try pub fare and the local eateries as much as possible. Of course, buy souvenirs and tip and all that other incidental stuff.

Now I read a few of you had issues with my description of my card. I bank with a credit union and this card is a card designed to be used all over the world. There are NO fees involved, as well as no dividends paid. Like I said, whatever I put into it is what will be in it. It's not technically a prepaid card, but one I can transfer funds in to and out of.

So I guess it's settled, bring about 100 pounds/day and have my regular debit card as backup just in case.
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Old Jun 25th, 2013, 05:06 PM
  #37  
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Well, you'll have to forgive us for 'having issues' with your description of your card - "It's basically a prepaid card that is not connected to any account, so if it's lost or stolen then all that's on it is all they can get."

You described a pre-paid card which you would lose the funds on if you lost it. Now you're saying it's a debit card from a credit union connected to your account (if you can transfer funds - it's connected).

That's great - but it's not what you described so we were just trying to give advice based on your description.
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Old Jun 26th, 2013, 04:06 AM
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It's not technically a prepaid card, but one I can transfer funds in to and out of. >>

if you can transfer funds into it, how is that not a pre-paid card?

in theory you can transfer funds back out of it, but some UK users came unstuck when their provider discontinued the card and offered them very poor exchange rates on the money they had left in it.

to repeat- you don't need to "bring" any money with you at all. just your debit and credit cards.
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Old Jun 26th, 2013, 04:51 AM
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If you are SW Scotland..,....

I will probably lend you some too!
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Old Jun 26th, 2013, 06:28 AM
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Adam: don't "bring" 100 GBP/day with you, when you get there, have it ON you. That is, pull 150 quid from the ATM when you arrive and keep 100-125 with you on hand until the night you leave. Blow as much of it as you can before you get to the airport (reserve taxi/transfer fare) and then spend the rest at duty free.

Dickie-GR - evidently you cannot read what I wrote so I will try to make this simple. My advice to the OP was GET THE MONEY FROM AN ATM IN THE UK, not to purchase it in the US. I did not suggest he not have cash.

Good gosh.
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