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Pre-trip Euros, where best to get

Old Jun 25th, 2008, 08:11 AM
  #1  
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Pre-trip Euros, where best to get

Hello fellow travelers!

V. excited about my upcoming trip to Italy in September. Although I use my bankcard at the ATMs over there, I like to travel with some euros in my pocket, to ensure I can get to my hotel etc. Any advice on the best place to get some money up front before I go? Banks, American Express?

Thanks in Advance,
Susan
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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 08:22 AM
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I usually get mine from a currency exchange place. I know a lot of people poo-poo the idea but the one I go to is fantastic. Excellent rates that surpasses the ones offered by banks. I live in Ottawa and get my euros from Accu-rate. But I only buy enough to supply me for the first two or three days and get the rest from ATMs in Europe.

You might have to shop around and see what's
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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 08:22 AM
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Oops... I didn't finish my reply.

"You might have to shop around and see what's the best option for you."
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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 08:28 AM
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Get them at either departure or arrival airport. Rates will never be as good as ATM, but for small amounts OK.
Michel_Paris is offline  
Old Jun 25th, 2008, 08:33 AM
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mY local bank ( BofA) has a foreign currency desk at one of their branches. They will also order notes for you for pick up at your local branch
avalon is offline  
Old Jun 25th, 2008, 08:34 AM
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If you live in the USA, the best place is your local AAA (American Automobile Association) office. If you are a member, there are no extra fees other than the unavoidable exchange fee paid by the US government when buying Euros. Buying Euros at a bank is insane....
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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 08:42 AM
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Viajero, I do not understand how AAA is any different from banks or exchange bureaus when it comes to selling Euros. For all, foreign currency is inventory -- needs to be shipped, stored, kept secure, handled by employees. These activities involve some costs, which are passed on to customers. There may be differences in the overhead/markups (usually between 5 and 10%) but all those entities have them.

Also, What need does the US government have for Euros cash? I thought any large-scale trading between governments is done electronically, not in bags of cash. What am I missing here?
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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 08:45 AM
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AAA charges the highest exchange rate of anywhere I know of.

1. Get $100 in Euro at a Bureau de Change at your departure airport while you're waiting to board.

2. Use your debit card to get money out of your checking account using ATMs when you arrive in Europe.
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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 08:48 AM
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There will be ATMs in the airport. I wouldn't worry about being "euro-less" for 20 minutes while you collect your baggage.

If you do end up using an exchange place onces you're there, don't go to the one right off the gate. They always have the highest rates.
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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 09:08 AM
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AAA does charge fees (they markup the exchange rate, whatever you want to call it), we just had that in a prior post and I posted that information, including a link to their website where you can see exactly what it is by a calculator. I don't know why Viajero thinks they give money away at the bank rate, but they don't, he must be mistaken somehow because they just put it in the exchange rate.

As I recall, and I just calculated it a couple days ago, it is 6-7 pct markup. It is certainly not the worst place, though, I wouldn't say that. Travelex is worse, I think. I'm talking about in the US, of course.
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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 09:11 AM
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ATMs in the Baggage Reclaim area aren't always both functional and accessible.

But don't worry - at every airport I've ever flown into there has been a rail service to downtown whose tickets can be bought with a credit card. That should get you to someplace where ATMs abound.
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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 10:51 AM
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ira
 
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Hi S,

Ditto Robe.

It will cost you about $4 more than an ATM in Italy.

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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 10:57 AM
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As someone mentioned (sort of), do not think that because an agency sells currency with "no fee" that you are not getting a better deal. You need to know what exchange rate they are using. They set their own exchange rate, so they can bury any fees inside there.

So, for convenience, if you must have euros in hand, go where it is easiest, which for some may be the airport.
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Old Jun 27th, 2008, 07:56 AM
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RE: AAA I am talking from EXPERIENCE; BOTTOM LINE those are facts, I did not make up the rate I was charged. You guys sound OCD-type with this!! If I got such a great deal as a AAA Plus Member, you need to get over it. By the way, plugging numbers at their website and draw conclusions from there is very DA; MY RATE WAS MEMBERSHIP-BASED.

I personally called many, many, many banks; talked to their various Financial staff personnel who guess what....advised me to go with AAA at the rate provided!!! AGAIN, I am a AAA Plus member (membership is not free nor cheap). AAA GAVE ME THE BEST DEAL TO BUY $3K WORTH OF EUROS. Please go on with your lives. My experience is what it is.

BRAVO AAA!! You guys make me feel SOOOO GOOOD about my AAA membership!!!!
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Old Jun 27th, 2008, 08:08 AM
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Thanks, Viajero. Since you are buying larger amounts, perhaps the fabulous rate you get is not available to those of us who deal in hundreds. For most tourists' purposes, though, AAA is not much different from other currency exchangees.
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Old Jun 27th, 2008, 08:23 AM
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You're carrying $3,000 in your pocket? You're quite the gambler.
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Old Jun 27th, 2008, 08:38 AM
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Viajero2: Instead of just screaming, care to share the exchange rate you got for your $3000 worth of € - and on what date.

I am also a premium member of AAA. They do not charge a fee, but in my experience they do use a higher exchange rate.

And why would you want to carry €1900+ cash?
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Old Jun 27th, 2008, 11:42 AM
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You guys ever heard of rentals? Many ask for full payment in cash cash + a hefty deposit upon check in the local currency.

(Yee, did I really had to explain such a basic travel fact....!? No wonder you guys are all "wrap around the axle" about Euros; rookies (sigh!)).
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Old Jun 27th, 2008, 11:59 AM
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When I went to Britain last month, I made the mistake of exchanging $250 for British pounds at the airport. They charged me $27 for approx. 110 pounds! More than 10%. I should have gotten about 20 pounds and waited to get more when I got there. But it was my first time out of the country with a debit card and I didn't know where I could use it, etc., and how easy it would be to find what the British call a "hole in the wall" (ATM).
Once I got there, I just used whatever ATM I found (none had the symbol I was familiar with) and was never charged a cent for using them or for currency exchange. Also, they were everyplace.
I use a credit union instead of a regular bank and my debit and credit cards are both through the credit union. None of my Visa charges carried any fees either. Everything was charged at just under $2 for every pound--the current rate of exchange. I was really pleased with my credit union after everything came in and I was able to see what I was charged--or not charged, as it turns out.
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Old Jun 27th, 2008, 12:37 PM
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Viajero2: I notice you still have not told us the wonderful exchange rate you got from AAA.

re your "basic travel fact" and who is and isn't a rookie - I have rented MANY cottages, apartments, and villas all over and have always been able to get enough £ / € from ATMs w/o bringing thousands in cash w/ me. Simply asking one's bank to raise their daily limit and/or carrying two cards is all that is required.

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