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22trav May 20th, 2010 04:31 PM

Currency in London and Cotswolds
We are almost ready to leave for our trip to the Cotswolds and London. My thanks to those of you who offered advice. Now, I need to know if credit cards and traveler's cheques are widely accepted in the Cotswolds? Obviously I will take some cash but want to carry as little as possible. Of course I will convert my cash to pounds before I leave the U.S. We are staying in a cottage so we will be visiting the markets for staples and will have cash for those purchases. What about local attractions, grocery chains and restaurants? Will my U.S. debit card even work in the ATM machines? I know we aren't traveling to Mars but having traveled to some very quaint destinations in Europe, I appreciate the fact that many places are cash only. I would appreciate feedback on this topic. I don't want to be sorry I didn't bring enough cash but also don't want the worry of having too much on my person. Thanks to you all, in advance.

carolyn May 20th, 2010 04:49 PM

You need to repost this in the European Forum, but your best bet is to get pounds from an ATM in England. The exchange rate is better, you don't have to pay a fee for foreign currency, and the cash machines are everywhere. I strongly advise against travelers' checks. They are almost obsolete; many places won't accept them and those who do will charge a fee.

I have found the best plan is to charge what you can on a credit card for the best exchange rate and to use local currency for small purchases. You will want to tell your bank and your credit card company what you plan to do so that they don't shut you down, thinking your card(s) might have been stolen.

nytraveler May 20th, 2010 05:04 PM

Agree to post in Europe.

Credit cards as accepted for any sizable purchase almost everywhere. Travelers checks are dinosaurs and no one wants them - including many banks (and what few places take them will charge you a fortune in fees/exchange rates or both). For cash you just use your debit card to pull cash from your checking (NOT savings) account at any ATM.

22trav May 20th, 2010 06:47 PM

Thank you Carolyn and nytraveler. I did post on the UK forum. I also added a postscript to that topic, stating that I have not been to the UK or Europe in the past 8 years and things have certainly changed. I won't buy traveler's cheques now and I always notify my bank when I am leaving the country (very good advice Carolyn, which I only found out about when I bought travelers cheques for the Caribbean last year, where I had no problem using them). I only withdraw money from my checking account when I use an ATM....another really good tip from nytraveler. I hope other people read this particular forum. Losing our luggage is bad enough. Losing our money or not planning properly for expenses in another state or country is the end of the trip for most.

NeoPatrick May 20th, 2010 09:17 PM

Travelers Cheques are laughable these days. Forget them. I am stunned in London when locals charge a 99p coffee at Pret with a credit card. Credit cards seem to be even more a way of life in the UK than in the US. And ATMs are everywhere.

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