Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   Traveling to the UK Exhange Dollar for GBP or Euros (

R2daO2daZ Aug 13th, 2013 02:27 AM

Traveling to the UK Exhange Dollar for GBP or Euros
Checking out the exchange rates I noticed that the British pound is walloping the dollar even more than the Euro. Do most retailers accept Euros in London and what currency is dispensed from the ATMs over there? Trying to figure out what makes the most sense with purchasing and the different currencies/exchange rates. Thanks.

Dukey1 Aug 13th, 2013 02:30 AM

The currency in UK ATMs is NOT the Euro, it is the British Pound. You have work to do

Havana128 Aug 13th, 2013 02:49 AM

For my forthcoming trip to the USA I would like to use exclusively the Bolivian Boliviano. Will retailers be delighted with this approach?

Heimdall Aug 13th, 2013 02:50 AM

Exchanging $ for € and then into £ would mean paying currency exchange fees twice. If you can find a retailer in London who accepts either $ or €, you would be guaranteed to receive the very worst exchange rate.

bilboburgler Aug 13th, 2013 02:51 AM

If you find shops taking dollars or Euros you will normally get ripped off, in the core of London's tourist town you may find a bunch of high end shops willing to take anything.

The ATMs give £ and you use £ to buy stuff

sparkchaser Aug 13th, 2013 03:02 AM

Use your debit/ATM card to withdraw pounds from a ATM.

<i>For my forthcoming trip to the USA I would like to use exclusively the Bolivian Boliviano. Will retailers be delighted with this approach?</i>

Perfectly acceptable, my Good Sir. They will be so delighted that you might actually mistake their happiness with rage.

nytraveler Aug 13th, 2013 03:15 AM

Unless you are in a country with worthless currency - where any hard currency is often acceptable - you must use the legal local currency. A few places (tourist shops, airport duty free) will take other currency - but at a shockingly bad rate (20% too high?) and most places will take only local currency.

Agree - what do you think would happen if you tried to pay a New York cabbie or waitress with euros or pounds?

Use CC for everything possible and pull walking around money from checking account with you ATM card.

adrienne Aug 13th, 2013 03:18 AM

I had to read this post. You need to use the currency of the country you're visiting. You can't simply decide to use some other currency.

Have you looked at the exchange rate for the Euro to GBP?

Heimdall Aug 13th, 2013 03:27 AM

When withdrawing £ from an ATM with a US debit card sometimes you are given a choice of being charged in $ or £. ALWAYS opt to be charged in £. Choosing to be charged in $ (dynamic currency conversion or DCC) results in a poorer exchange rate.

Dukey1 Aug 13th, 2013 03:36 AM

First-time poster. Perhaps long-time troller?

adrienne Aug 13th, 2013 03:41 AM

Dukey1 - I think this person is serious. Many people do not understand the countries they will visit and do not understand exchange rates and how that is only one part of the value of their money. Sometimes it's looked at as I get more xyz for my own currency without considering what you can buy for a dollar or a euro or a pound.

sparkchaser Aug 13th, 2013 03:48 AM

It blows my mind why England and Europe won't accept my dollars because the dollar is supposed to be worth than everyone else's monopoly money. My dollars are happily accepted in Cancun and Niagra Falls, so why not Europe?!?!?

scotlib Aug 13th, 2013 03:52 AM

Hi R2daO2daZee (that's a cool user name, btw), welcome to Fodors. Read, learn, and read lots more to get ready for your trip. Lots of information available on Fodors!

xyz123 Aug 13th, 2013 04:18 AM

I think the op is simply naïve about currencies and things like that...he or she picks up a paper seeing the £ is worth $1.55 (approximately) and the € is worth $1.33 and thinks he or she will be better off because he or she will get more euro than sterling and thinks in London, the currencies are interchangeable. Let's not be too harsh...the person might be somebody who has never travelled west of the Hudson River and has no idea the US dollar is the currency of the USA and while some countries use the US dollar as their currency (Panama and Ecuador and Liberia come to mind), in other countries, they use their own currency. Believe me, it happens

Also wonder how he or she will feel when they step off the plane and hear it is 10 degrees and wonder where their winter coat is.

(Just to show this isn't so isolated, on my recent trip home from London as the plane was getting ready to land at JFK, the co-pilot got on the horn with the usual spiel we'll be landing in 20 minutes and the weather at JFK is nice with a temperature of 68 degrees and the young lady sitting next to me turned to her other neighbor and said you have to be kidding...her companion told her it was Farenheit not Celsius!

These things happen.

BigRuss Aug 13th, 2013 06:35 AM

First time post.

Ridiculous question.

Too lazy to do a search in the search function of this website that would net 100s of hits.

No replies to responses.


almcd Aug 13th, 2013 09:48 AM

It is people like sparkchaser that give Americans such a bad name. He lives in a country with several trillions of dollars debt and he thinks every body else's currency is monopoly money!! Time to waken up to the real world

janisj Aug 13th, 2013 09:55 AM

I <i>think</i> (hope) sparkchaser was kidding . . .

>>Checking out the exchange rates I noticed that the British pound is walloping the dollar even more than the Euro.<<

You completely misunderstand currency valuations. It makes no difference whatsoever that the € is $1.30 something and the £ is $1.50 something. That does NOT mean you get more value for € than you do for £.

The buying power of any dollar amount of € or £ is very close to the same.

Even IF you could use € in the UK . . . It wouldn't benefit you one teensy little bit.

sparkchaser Aug 13th, 2013 10:04 AM

<i>It is people like sparkchaser that give Americans such a bad name. He lives in a country with several trillions of dollars debt and he thinks every body else's currency is monopoly money!! Time to waken up to the real world</i>

Easy there, old timer. I was kidding.

Heimdall Aug 13th, 2013 10:09 AM

I was able to buy far more with my dollar when the £ was worth $2.80! Imagine buying a Porsche 911 today for £2, 600! Oh, and those £12 cashmere pullovers were a real steal! ;-)

sparkchaser Aug 13th, 2013 10:19 AM

Was that back when the US was still on the silver standard? ;)

janisj Aug 13th, 2013 10:35 AM

Ah, but Heimdall -- you could have bought a ton of things w/ the same $ amount of Francs, Deutschmarks, or Punts. I did buy a 911 (and a Morgan, and a Jensen Healey) w/ those sorts of rates :)

nytraveler Aug 13th, 2013 10:53 AM

Yes. prices for everything were a lot lower during the last ice age.

My first trip to Spain we got a 4* hotel on the beach resort north of Barcelona - with huge room/balcony and breakfast and dinner - for $30 for two. But don;t ask what year.

Heimdall Aug 13th, 2013 11:51 AM

Okay, I confess — that was back in the early 70s, and no, I don't remember the Thames freezing over. ;-) The point I was making is that exchange rates don't really matter as much as what your dollar will buy in whatever currency.

Maybe we should use the Big Mac Index:

nytraveler Aug 13th, 2013 06:33 PM

I find the big mac index very useful for all sorts of daily expenses.

R2daO2daZ Aug 14th, 2013 02:17 AM

Thank you all for replies, even the snide ones. I am NOT a troll. I think people who troll boards calling folks trolls are the real trolls. PHEW! Quite a freaking stench. I am not impressed.
This IS my first time using this site and I did peruse the subject before the query but I did not see this exact question in regards to whether use of Euro or pound were acceptable there. Before checking the exchange rates I thought UK was part of the EU thus used the Euro as its currency also. Silly, foolish me! I thought mature adults would be wise enough to understand my naivete' thus my decision to put my ignorance out there on public display for trolls to sharpen their fangs and take their lashes out. BUT, I digress ...
Yes this will be my first time crossing the pond. I hoped to be able to use this site as a vital resource for efficiency and help easing into a "foreign" environment.
Without providing the list, for you certainly should know who you are, I pray that in my travels I do not encounter rude twerps who troll poor souls who happen to not be as smart nor as smart alecky as you's all.
So to yous I say Thank you. And, good day. Or whatever it is they say over there because that's probably wrong too and you'll wanna use your emotional instability and wickedness to correct that as well, I suppose.
And to the poster that thinks my name is cool. Gracias!

R2daO2daZ Aug 14th, 2013 02:26 AM

Thank you for your helpful responses ... Dukey1, Heimdall(esp. re: choice of currency at ATM), bilboburgler, sparkchaser, nytraveler, adrienne, scotlib, xyz123 and janisj

R2daO2daZ Aug 14th, 2013 02:34 AM

You know before I posted on here I was doing AND feeling just fine doing my own research skipping and jumping thru various sites to gain my bearing and plot a reasonable course. Methinks I should have stuck to reading as much as possible and just "winging" it versus asking the one question that was stuck in my mind. When you read exchange rates of 1.55 to 1.00 these issues are a really BIG deal. Whatever "inside" knowledge you can glean could be worth lots of savings in moolah(my personal currency of choice, even better than monopoly money) I believe that if you can not be helpful in your responses that perhaps you should find some other hobby or stick to your day job.

R2daO2daZ Aug 14th, 2013 02:34 AM

NOW, Troll on that. Smh.

MissPrism Aug 14th, 2013 02:38 AM

One thing you'll notice is that there are very many ATMs in the UK. Even quite small villages might have one in the village shop or even the pub.
You'll need to tell your bank that you are going abroad.
In big cities, if possible, go to the machines inside the bank or inside a supermarket. Very occasionally, you might get fraudsters tampering with the machines. It's not all that common, but safety first.
Not good day, that's Australian ;-) Good morning/evening will do. I hope you enjoy your visit to the UK. We're a pretty civilised lot on the whole.

tarquin Aug 14th, 2013 02:46 AM

Sorry to correct you MissPrism, but very small UK villages don't have ATMs as a rule although there are exceptions of course. Most eating places and shops will accept credit/debit cards, most B&Bs don't (but mine does.)

Kate Aug 14th, 2013 03:01 AM

Hi R2daO2daZ.

I think your confusion over the EU and the Euro is quite understandable when you're not used to the intricacies.

The main point is that the EU and the Eurozone are not the same thing.

When the Euro was introduced, some members of the EU chose not to join the currency in order to maintain control over their own finances/interest rates, and the UK was one of these countries. So the Euro is not legal tender here, any more than the dollar would be.

There are other quirks about the EU you will discover if you explore Europe further. For instance, there are open borders between some EU countries (this is known as the Schengen Zone), and not between others. Again, the UK opted not to join the Schengen zone and so maintains its own border controls - you might start to see a pattern here... basically, the UK likes bits of the EU, such as free trade, and not other bits, and has opted out of things accordingly, when it is allowed to do so. A demonstration of our Island mentality.

So never assume being a member of the EU means the same rules for all countries across Europe. It's complicated.

I hope you have a very enjoyable trip.

sparkchaser Aug 14th, 2013 03:07 AM

Helpful illustration:

Heimdall Aug 14th, 2013 03:11 AM

Hi R2 (I also like your screen name, but am using an abbreviated version),

The only dumb question is the one you don't ask! I wonder how many people never come back to Fodor's after the reception you received? Just ignore the rude replies and look for the helpful answers. I'm glad mine was one of them. :-)

R2daO2daZ Aug 14th, 2013 04:03 AM

Okay Miss Prism and Good Evening to you (-;
Kate, Thanks so much for the helpful explanation
sparkchaser ... very funny @___o
Okay Heimdall I will try ... I've been very excited about this trip of a lifetime until I checked in and saw those responses Very discouraging Kinda pissed me off Hope it wasnt obvious o-;
And yes I will be going deeper into Europe also exploring Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Naples, Pisa, Marseille and Mallorca
Like eating an elephant I am trying to research each place one bite at a time beginning with the starting point London So my next question for a three nite stay in London is should I buy the London Pass or the pack of ten(forgot what its called ... don't shoot)? I've seen both pro and con responses
Merci' Beaucoup!

Kate Aug 14th, 2013 04:13 AM

"Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Naples, Pisa, Marseille and Mallorca"

Just for the record, for these places you DO use the Euro!

sparkchaser Aug 14th, 2013 04:14 AM

For London, get the Oyster Card. It will be less of a headache.

jamikins Aug 14th, 2013 04:29 AM

It's paris where you want a book of ten tickets called a carnet. In London for that amount of time you likely want to get an Oyster card using pay as you go as it will max out at the daily limit if you use enough to get there. How many of you are there as this may change what you use.

The London pass is generally a complete rip off.

You can get your oyster at any tube station on arrival, heathrow if you land there or central London if you land at gatwick.

jamikins Aug 14th, 2013 04:30 AM

For London travel planning use it has prices , maps etc...

R2daO2daZ Aug 14th, 2013 04:57 AM

It will be just myself (-;
I was thinking the London Pass because of the purported savings getting into the attractions
I will check into the Oyster Card
Thanks for the link jamikins
Thanks Kate you're definitely on top of things aren't you? (-;
And yes carnet was the word I was looking for ... Forgive me Lord Now I've insulted the French @[email protected]

R2daO2daZ Aug 14th, 2013 04:59 AM

Guess what?!? I already had the travel link bookmarked! That's gotta be worth a teacake crumpet or sumthin, right?

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:57 PM.