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Best place to exchange money (for Euros) before your trip starts

City Slicker

Best place to exchange money (for Euros) before your trip starts

Are there any ideas of best places to exchange dollars for euros before your trip? And, does it make since to use the Barclay MasterCard in the states for this? 

 

Thank you in advance for your comments and answers,

 

 

 

 

10 Replies
City Slicker

Re: Best place to exchange money (for Euros) before your trip starts

I would defenitely not exchange them in a bank! Sometimes, the airport exchange kiosk can be one of your best bets. I would not use the card since there might me a cach advance fee for withdrawing money but if no cash is available at the moment, I would do it because it does give you that flexibility.

 

Hope you have a great time :)

City Slicker

Re: Best place to exchange money (for Euros) before your trip starts

If you are a member of AAA you can order currency packs from them before you go. I always take $100 or so with me and just use my ATM card after I arrive to get cash
City Slicker

Re: Best place to exchange money (for Euros) before your trip starts

Using your Barclaycard is the best option to use to purchase things in Europe since there's no transaction fee and they give you the best exchange rate.  That's provided the place of business accepts credit cards and the new cards with the chips will be the best.  The next best option is using an ATM card once you arrive but you want to check with your bank and see what kind of fee they charge for using it.  You can also bring USD and change money to local currency but research the city you are going to and see where the best place would be for that.  Beware of places that charge commissions for the transactions.

Nationally Recognized

Re: Best place to exchange money (for Euros) before your trip starts

I travel to Europe or the Middle East about 10 times a year and always use ATMs.  My bank has no fee associated with withdrawals, nor do most European banks charge if you use a bank ATM.  (And I would not suggest using a non-bank ATM.)  You're getting the actual exchange rate when you use an ATM rather than either an exchange kiosk or the credit card interest you'll have to pay.   Usually I withdraw euros at the first airport bank ATM I go through so that I will have some when I get to my destination.  Then I use bancomats or whatever each country calls them.  Act like you would at home, covering your hands as you enter your pin and make sure you're not in a sketchy location.

 

The only place I have ever had trouble with this is in Istanbul, and I would not suggest using most ATMs there.  Many are stand alone in the areas between the Blu Mosque and Hagia Sophia, and if you have been hijacked by a carpet salesman they will often try to lead you right there.  Also, even though I'd notified my bank ahead of time (which you should always do), when I tried to use my card it was declined.  They later told me Turkey has some of the highest rates of fraudulent transactions.  I eventually used one credit card (not for a carpet) whose PIN I remembered, and fortunately had a fair amount of British pounds and dollars with me to change in person.

 

But for most places you go, a bank-run ATM gives you the best run unless your home bank charges exorbitant fees.

Internationally Known

Re: Best place to exchange money (for Euros) before your trip starts

I would wait until you arrive at your destination. May taxis will take credit cards and sometimes US dollars. Once you get settled at the hotel, find a bank and do the exchange there. 

RJean
City Slicker

Re: Best place to exchange money (for Euros) before your trip starts


@sandnsunshine wrote:

Using your Barclaycard is the best option to use to purchase things in Europe since there's no transaction fee and they give you the best exchange rate.  That's provided the place of business accepts credit cards and the new cards with the chips will be the best.  The next best option is using an ATM card once you arrive but you want to check with your bank and see what kind of fee they charge for using it.  You can also bring USD and change money to local currency but research the city you are going to and see where the best place would be for that.  Beware of places that charge commissions for the transactions.


Good to hear the convience of using Barclay cards around Europe.

Stately Explorer

Re: Best place to exchange money (for Euros) before your trip starts

I really wouldn't recommend exchanging before you leave.  I would just stop at the first ATM you see in the airport.  The exchange is pretty much always worse when exchanging at a bank before leaving.  Hope this helps!

Internationally Known

Re: Best place to exchange money (for Euros) before your trip starts

Can't agree more with Phil2020. We always use ATMs whereever we are and if we ever have to pay an ATM fee for the withdrawal, we get reimbursed by our bank at the end of the month. Nobrainer for us plus the exchange rate is much more favorable.

Don't ever be fooled when foreign exchange offices tell you that they do not charge fees. They might not charge a separate transaction fee but the exchange rate is usually entirely out of proportion and you might end up paying 5% or more.

Internationally Known

Re: Best place to exchange money (for Euros) before your trip starts

I always wait and hit the first ATM I see in the airport on arrival. I don't withdraw much if it's not a big bank ATM in case the rate isn't good, but just enough to get by a day or so until I can get to a better ATM. On that subject, I have a money market account with Capital One that has a debit card with no ATM fees at any ATM, anywhere.  I don't keep much in there because the rate is low, but transfer whatever I think I'll need there before a trip, then use that card for ATM withdrawals. My normal Wells Fargo account charges $5 per ATM transaction for out of network ATM's (pretty much anywhere besides WF banks in the US). But I carry the WF card anyway as a backup in case something happens to the Cap One account or card. The Cap One MM account meshes well with the Venture Card and everything is together online at Cap One 360. There is also a 360 MM account (but no ATM card) that pays decent (2+%) so that's a good temporary parking spot also.