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Is there a good source for British pounds in advance of trip?

Is there a good source for British pounds in advance of trip?

Old Oct 9th, 2008, 07:37 AM
  #1  
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Is there a good source for British pounds in advance of trip?

I want to acquire some pounds sterling in advance of my trip. My local bank charges a fairly hefty fee for that. Does anyone know of a good source that charges a modest fee?

(I already know I can go to an ATM at the airport on arrival in London and get money that way, thanks.)
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Old Oct 9th, 2008, 07:46 AM
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Every international airport I've been in has a Bureau de Change. Their exchange rates are way above the worst ATM markups I've ever seen, but since you've pre-empted that option, you don't have much choice.
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Old Oct 9th, 2008, 08:09 AM
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I would just eat the charge for 100 pounds. Try American Express as well. Being over charged a couple of bucks once won't hute that much.
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Old Oct 9th, 2008, 08:09 AM
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"hurt" that much.
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Old Oct 9th, 2008, 09:26 AM
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There is absolutely no need to acquire British currency before arrival in London; especially now with the pound heading south by the hour.

There are ample ATM's as well as foreign exchange desks right at the airport....the tube takes credit cards as does the Heathrow Express or the Gatwick Express or whatever train you might take into town.

Don't worry yourself sick about acquiring sterling in advance; there will be easy ways to do it on arrival without any hassle whatsoever and at far better rates.
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Old Oct 9th, 2008, 09:30 AM
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BTW...

As of this morning, the interbank rate on the GBP has fallen to

£1 = $1.71689

On it way shortly to $1.60 so just hang in there and wait.
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Old Oct 9th, 2008, 09:30 AM
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What's your idea of a hefty fee or modest? Because what your bank charges may be the norm and you won't do any better (if it's around 6-7 pct, that is average fees for doing this in the US from a bank or online through Travelex, etc.). I have not personally seen any way to do that in the US for less than that.
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Old Oct 9th, 2008, 09:31 AM
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bakerstreet - how about calling different banks in your city and see what rates and fees they offer?

You can always wait until you are at the London airport to exchange money, in the event that the ATM machine (or your ATM card) doesn't work.
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Old Oct 9th, 2008, 09:36 AM
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We always carry a small amount and I get them from my bank (but have to to downtown at the intl desk) but they don't charge me a fee because I have an account with them.

You might want to check again with your bank and see if they will waive the fees.
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Old Oct 9th, 2008, 09:41 AM
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Still, I like having some pounds in my pocket on arrival. My style of rushing around on arrival, trying to get to the right train station in time for my ongoing trip up North, does not allow time to stop for an ATM. Once at my first town I will pull out a couple pounds more as a lot of the B&B's I stay at want cash only. Same at the local pubs.
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Old Oct 9th, 2008, 10:01 AM
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a couple of hundred pound more...sorry
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Old Oct 9th, 2008, 10:39 AM
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...they don't charge me a fee because I have an account with them.

Maybe they don't charge you a FEE, but what EXCHANGE RATE do they offer (i.e. how many dollars do you pay for each pound, euro, etc)?

...trying to get to the right train station in time for my ongoing trip up North, does not allow time to stop for an ATM.

Unless you already have your tickets, you will need time to stop at a MACHINE to buy your ticket with your ATM/debit card. Many train operators allow you to pay your fare on board with an ATM/debit card. Or you can stand in a queue forever to use your cash at a ticket window. As time-saving strategies go, yours is sub-optimal.
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Old Oct 9th, 2008, 12:31 PM
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Sorry Robespierre, you assume too munch. I will have had an 8 day first class rail pass, validated at Heathrow Express. Then from Paddington I will try for the very first train going, say, to Moreton-on-Marsh. No time to to look for the ATM... However, if I am between trains, sure a pint and time to pick up some cash.

Then if a late arrival, and I am tired, it is nice to head to a pub and have cash to pay. I would worry the next day to find an ATM.
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Old Oct 9th, 2008, 12:34 PM
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I don't assume anything. That's why I said "Unless you already have your tickets..."

But if you're going to get on the first train out, what's the cash for? Munchies? Get a few things at W.H. Smith or M&S, charge it on your plastic, and climb aboard.

Or pay your bank's hefty fee on $20 worth of £ and have a nice ride.
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Old Oct 9th, 2008, 01:59 PM
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I'm sorry but I cannot understand the angst over spending an extra 15 or 20 dollars to have the peace of mind of having some local currency and not having to bother with an ATM after a long flight. How much is that in the larger context of what you are spending on your whole trip. My bank gives the interbank rate plus about 2 cents on the dollar amount.
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Old Oct 9th, 2008, 02:15 PM
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Avalon: I agree with you, just for peace of mind bakerstreet should exchange a small amount before they leave.

Robespierre: You don't have to SHOUT! We do check the difference in the EXCHANGE RATE; which wasn't much, so we exchanged some money. We do it everytime we go to Europe so we have a small amt when we get there, BECAUSE we want to!!





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Old Oct 9th, 2008, 02:45 PM
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I notice you didn't answer my exchange rate question. But here's another:

Did you need to buy foreign (i.e., how did you use the cash you converted before arrival)?

BTW, a few bucks here and a few bucks there adds up to real money. Read The Millionaire Next Door for further insights into this view.
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Old Oct 9th, 2008, 03:03 PM
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My dear Roberapeierre, sorry but you are coming across, at least to me, as an overly opinionated bloke. Your way, as is mine, are not the only ways. But in the future please don't be rude. I am an older person, 70, and really don't care for you attitude.
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Old Oct 9th, 2008, 03:04 PM
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In all due respect, without being disrespectful, I should don't get the peace of mind argument. Excuse my ignorance.

Foreign exchange rates for cash are far worse on the left side of the pond than the right. Plus this running around or waiting for delivery or things like that.

I travel off to Europe, it is simply not a worry. I know on the other side of the pond, there are ATM's and in the 21st century, they work very well thank you.

But I just don't have that much need for cash...when I arrive in London, if I don't have any sterling, I may pull £20 out of an ATM and that can last me a few days....transport into town, the tube takes credit cards for whatever I'm going to use. If I wanted gto splurge, which is kind of silly, and use the Heathrow Express, they take credit cards too...oh I need a snack from WH Smith or whatever, they take credit cards too.

Oh, so the argument goes, what if the ATM goes down....you do have to have a back up, I would go over to the foreign exchange desk, swallow my anger, and exchange a few bucks.

London, in particular, has become a lot like New York..there is hardly anywhere that doesn't take crdit cards..the theatre does...fast food places do....almost all restaurants do...about the only places that don't are the internet cafes I use and pubs (at least for drinks, many take credit cards for food)...in 2008, using credit cards for travel, for all purchases no matter how small, is the only way to travel.

Again, forgive me if you disagree.
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Old Oct 9th, 2008, 04:35 PM
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rogeruktm: "in the future please don't be rude." Don't sweat it. Actually, Robes is almost on his very best behavior on this thread. You should see how "opinionated"/unpleasant he can be when he really gets going. If you want attitude wait til someone disputes something he's said.

I noticed a few threads today where he was actually almost nice - I was totally flabbergasted.
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