Paying balance on Paris apartment

Old Jan 13th, 2010, 07:49 AM
  #1  
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Paying balance on Paris apartment

My husband and I have rented an apartment in Paris (vrbo #79965, which has gotten great reviews here) for two weeks in May. We've made our down payment, and must pay the balance in Euros when we arrive. Ordinarily we get only a small amount of Euros in advance, and hit an ATM as soon as we arrive. But the daily ATM limit won't allow us to withdraw enough to pay the full balance. So... we have to get lots of Euros before we leave. Are there any hints for how to go about this -- other than, I guess, keeping an eagle eye on the exchange rate and pouncing when it seems good? We hate to even travel with this much cash on us, but there seems to be no alternative.

I hope this doesn't seem like a dumb question. Thanks very much.

PS -- We are completely over the moon with excitement about the trip! We were in Paris four years ago -- stayed in the 7th -- and have been longing to return ever since.
kagoo is offline  
Old Jan 13th, 2010, 08:02 AM
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Check with your bank on their exchange rate. Banks always make a profit, either through a difference in the wholesale and retail rate, or by a service fee, so get full informaton from the bank on all fees.

Compare that to some on-line services such as through http://onada.com/ but make sure any on-line service you use is reputable and gets good reviews from people here. I used to use on-line foreign exchange services years ago, but have not used them for some time now, so not up on which ones are best, currently.

To protect your cash, do NOT put it in your luggage or carryon. Get a hidden wallet such as this http://www.amazon.com/Rick-Steves-Si...3398370&sr=8-2
or this http://www.magellans.com/store/article/352?Args= and keep it on your person under your clothing until it is time to pay for the apartment.
Infotrack is offline  
Old Jan 13th, 2010, 08:06 AM
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Don't get the Euro's here, wait until you get there and use the atm. You can call your bank and ask them to up your limit, you can bring a couple of cards and take out the max on each one, you can tell the landlord that it will take you two or three days to withdraw the rest, would that be acceptable for them. They deal with this all the time, they might also have a suggestion, ask them.

You will pay through the nose if you get that many euros here.
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Old Jan 13th, 2010, 08:32 AM
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On other threads many people have suggested (and indicated success with) asking the owner whether you can pay over 2-3-4 days, as needed. Perhaps you could clarify this before you try to secure euros to bring with you.
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Old Jan 13th, 2010, 08:33 AM
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Absolutely do not buy euros before you leave. You can either do as susanna suggests or get an international draft from your U.S. bank for the full amount and bring it with you. Your Paris apt. owner may have to pay a small fee to deposit that, but it's as safe as can be - essentially the international equivalent of a cashier's check. But getting the euros once you are in Paris is the least expensive option.
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Old Jan 13th, 2010, 08:49 AM
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Thanks to all of you for this good advice. I must admit it never occurred to us to ask the owner if we could pay over 2-3 days -- that seems the simplest and best way (for us, at least!). I think an email is in order....

Thanks again.
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Old Jan 13th, 2010, 09:11 AM
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Interesting thread. In my case, my bank (admittedly not a US bank) charges the same exchange rate whether I purchase the euros at home before I leave or withdraw them from an ATM when I arrive in Europe. I take it this isn't the case with most US banks? For me, it isn't more expensive to obtain the euros at home rather than when I arrive in Europe; in fact, it is more expensive for me to get the euros after arriving in Europe, since my bank charges a $3.00 transaction fee for each withdrawal from an overseas ATM, whereas there is no additional service fee to purchase the euros from them at home. So I always purchase and take euros with me before I go (admittedly, I take only as much cash as I feel comfortable carrying, then use ATMs if I need additional cash ... although last August I had the same issue as you with respect to a full payment for the apartment rental on the first day, so I took all of it using a money belt, as suggested by Infotrack).
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Old Jan 13th, 2010, 09:30 AM
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When we ran into this problem, we emailed the owner and he let us send him another check for the balance 3 weeks before we arrived.That way the US check could clear before he handed over the keys.

Yes, we were paying early, but it was a lot easier than dealing with all those Euros. Could we have lost out had anything happened and we couldn't make the trip? Yes, but we were willing to take the chance. It did work out fine.
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Old Jan 13th, 2010, 09:36 AM
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Paying the owner over 2-3 days is a bit of a hassle. I know because we did that once (in Paris, in fact). We went to the bank each day for three days, returned to the apartment and left the money in the microwave. He'd come by and pick it up. Not convenient and a waste of valuable vacation time.

Now, we just stop by our bank and have our daily limit upped on our ATM card then get cash on arrival at CDG. Easy peasy. Also don't forget to tell your bank and cc holders that you'll be traveling to Paris and give them the dates. It will avoid any "holds" being put on your card because of suspicious overseas transactions.

Have a great trip!
MelJ is offline  
Old Jan 13th, 2010, 10:40 AM
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Yes up your limit from your home bank. Some ATMs have a limit on withdrawals, just move on to the next bank. This is the main reason I love Vacation In Paris. I pay in US dollars and get the key before I even leave home. Get FF miles too!!
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Old Jan 13th, 2010, 10:43 AM
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>

no, it is definitely not the case with most US banks. It's a service, they charge for it. I think the typical amount is about 7 pct. Now smaller banks will probably always charge something because they have to use a service (my bank uses Travelex, I think) or go through a larger bank. I don't know what large banks who might have euro lying around do (B of A, etc.). I've never heard of a US bank that did it for free, although there could be sure, I'm sure. Some folks don't even understand what they are paying when a bank says there is no fee but then mark up the exchange rate 7 pct (which is what they do -- my bank doesn't say they charge a fee, either).

IN fairness to the banks, this is a service, so I can understand why they charge, if they aren't a huge international bank with euro right there (like some in NY could be). I don't know where your bank is travelgirl, why don't you say so folks might want to change -- however, a bank in the UK would be much more likely to have a lot of euro, sure, so I can see why they might not charge for foreign exchange (to euro, anyway, I bet most banks would charge to get you zloty).

B of A charges 1.52 for a euro which I think is really about 1.44 online -- that's a 6 pct markup. Now I read that some smaller banks get their euro from B of A, and since they are huge, I think they should give people euro cheaper than smaller banks. But B of A doesn't do anything cheaply.
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