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Old Dec 1st, 2006, 09:15 AM
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Money exchange

Hello All,

My wife and I are just about to make our trip to Europe and wanted to know what would be best for currency exchange. I just picked up a few travelers checks. What else should I do and are travelers checks the best? Thanks for any input!!
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Old Dec 1st, 2006, 09:20 AM
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In the year 2006, most people think that traveler's checks are the WORST, unless you are traveling to some place where you are in great risk of being robbed.
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Old Dec 1st, 2006, 09:25 AM
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I agree, travelers cheques are the worst choice. They are accepted almost nowhere. Use ATMs to withdraw the cash you will need in certain countries.
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Old Dec 1st, 2006, 09:46 AM
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If you want, buy a few euros (pounds?) to get you from the airport to your hotel, afterwards use ATM for cash (from bank account, not CC cash advance). Minimize credit card use, perhaps for larger payments.

Trsveller's cheques are not common at all anymore. To cash them you would need to find a bank, assume you have better things to do. Plus, the costs to use them is a drawback (you would probably buy them in euros, so you would have the exchange rate cost + the cheque cost, then the cost to cash them over there). Unless you are going to less "western" countries...then I'd think about it.
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Old Dec 1st, 2006, 10:17 AM
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Check with your bank about using your ATM in Europe (or any different country), and would also suggest you notify the bank and any credit card companies you use of your itinerary while you are going to be in Europe. Because of all the credit theft, I once had a credit card denied in England because it was assumed to be fraud. Now I call ahead to banks and credit card companies to notify them of the trip, and it has never been an issue. Cirrus seems to be more popular for ATM cards, but I usually also bring a Interlink/Plus ATM card just to have more choice of machines. Depending on the city and country, ATMs are more or less available, and I don't like spending vacation time looking for ATMs. Also check with your bank as to fees that may apply from foreign ATMS since taking many small amounts out can be costly if both the ATM provider and your bank charge for the transaction. The exchange rates were good using the ATM even though it is not possible to know what rate would be used for the transaction at the ATM until it cleared my bank since I always withdrew local currency. Enjoy your trip!
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Old Dec 1st, 2006, 10:35 AM
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Anyway, since you already have traveler's checks, they are not the absolutely worst thing in the world, but you must plan carefully what you will do with them -- this means more shopping around for decent exchange rates and 'no exchange fees' if possible. You have merely complicated your trip, not necessarily lost any money.
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Old Dec 1st, 2006, 12:20 PM
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I thank all of you who replied. Thankfully, I did not have to pay for the TC so I am glad you advised me before leaving. It will be a bother but I will look into exchanging my checks and leave with my DC. Again, I thank you all!!!!
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Old Dec 1st, 2006, 12:32 PM
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Travellers checks are good as a backup in case of emergency only. You can hold onto them indefinitely since they're already paid for. Otherwise, if in USD, just redeposit them in the bank.
 
Old Dec 1st, 2006, 01:21 PM
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natanno: Are your travelers cheques in US$ (or whatever your home currency is) ? If so, I'd just keep a few and deposit the bulk back into your checking acct to withdraw with an ATM card in Europe. You will not have lost anything.

But if you bought your TC's in € or £ -- DO NOT cash them in. You will lose big time on the exchange back into $. Just take them w/you and realize they are less convenient than just an ATM card.

(BTW - if the TCs are in a foreign currency, there may not be a "fee" as such, but you willl have paid a pretty large commission because of the lousy exchange rate one gets when buying TCs)
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Old Dec 1st, 2006, 01:22 PM
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You didn't say if the TCs are in US dollars, euros, or pounds. The problem with using them anywhere if they are in dollars, is that it is up to the hotel, restaurant, or store (if they even take them at all) to decide what kind of exchange rate they will give you -- usually a very bad one. If they are in a foreign currency (euro or pounds) at least you know what you can get for them -- actual face value, but you merely have to ask what the charge is to use them. A handful of banks will cash them without a charge, but those are fewer all the time, I believe.

Meanwhile if you did buy them in euro or pounds, then you did indeed pay for them, as I can assure you that you weren't given a good rate of exchange.
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Old Dec 1st, 2006, 01:33 PM
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Hi N,

If you bought TC's in USD, take them with you as emergency backup.

If you bought them in foreign currency, you might as well use them as you will lose another 6% or so if you cash them here.

Use your credit card whenever you can and use ATMs for when you need cash.

Enjoy your visit.

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