Exchange in US or wait til in Europe? - TravelPUNK Backpacker College Student Budget Travel Message Boards!



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Travel Budget, Money Matters, Financial Talk Mom, can I borrow ten grand?! Gimme yo mastercard! How the heck can I pay for my trip?! Ideas for making money. How much dough do I need?

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Old 07-21-2006, 02:00 PM   #1
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Well, it looks like I'll be taking cash to Europe. I've asked various banks about "reloadable visa gift cards" and they look at me like I'm on crack and everyone's saying trav checks suck. So looks like ATM's and other options are not gonna happen for me.
So, where do I get the best exchange rates for dollars into euros?
I already bought some euros in the states. They charged me $1.33 for each euro even though the official exchange is $1.25 for a euro. They said they're only making 4% when it looks like more like 8%. But they gave me some crap about how no one actually gets the official exchange rate, blah blah, more stuff I couldn't understand, etc... They said every place else will charge me even more, airports are the worst, yadayada. Were they bullshitting me or not?
Should i get the rest of my euros here in the US or would I save money by waiting to exchange them when I get to Europe? Are there parts of Europe where it's cheaper to exchange dollars or is it the same everywhere?
Any advice will help.
thanx
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Old 07-21-2006, 07:04 PM   #2
 
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I'd take the ATM route if I were you...exchange rates here in the states fucking blow...I took 2 different debit cards with me, so if i lost one i could cancel it and not have to worry about waiting for the other one to show up...
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Old 07-21-2006, 07:25 PM   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by AndyMcK@Jul 21 2006, 04:00 PM
Well, it looks like I'll be taking cash to Europe. I've asked various banks about "reloadable visa gift cards" and they look at me like I'm on crack and everyone's saying trav checks suck. So looks like ATM's and other options are not gonna happen for me.
So, where do I get the best exchange rates for dollars into euros?
I already bought some euros in the states. They charged me $1.33 for each euro even though the official exchange is $1.25 for a euro. They said they're only making 4% when it looks like more like 8%. But they gave me some crap about how no one actually gets the official exchange rate, blah blah, more stuff I couldn't understand, etc... They said every place else will charge me even more, airports are the worst, yadayada. Were they bullshitting me or not?
Should i get the rest of my euros here in the US or would I save money by waiting to exchange them when I get to Europe? Are there parts of Europe where it's cheaper to exchange dollars or is it the same everywhere?
Any advice will help.
thanx
[snapback]131904[/snapback]
There's NO POSSIBLE WAY you can have a bank account with an ATM card to use?

If that's the case, bring Traveler's Cheques...if you cash them at banks, you'll get a decent rate. Certainly not as good as an ATM, but without insulting you, it's kind of stupid to carry that much cash with you...

Traveler's Cheques are replaceable if lost, cash isn't.
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Old 07-22-2006, 02:18 AM   #4
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Yeah, you don't need a particularly fancy account, just deposit all your travel $$ into a regular checking account and ask for a debit card - we pull money out of our stateside checking account at ATMs all over Europe, all the time. It's much safer than walking around with cash.

Ditto about taking cash, though - if that's your only other option, get travellers cheques.
I *think* if you get AMEX travellers cheques you can change them at no fee at their offices abroad, but I'm not positive about that.

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Old 07-22-2006, 08:19 PM   #5
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>"but without insulting you, it's kind of stupid to carry that much cash with you"

No insult taken. Yeah, I know it seems stupid but I've carried large wads of cash on me here in the US (in some pretty scary neighborhoods, no less) and never had a problem. Still, I'd much rather take the ATM debit gift card option if it's possible w/o a US bank account. Thanx for the links in your other post. I'll call their local numbers Monday.
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Old 07-24-2006, 11:57 AM   #6
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Since you are limited on options you should take some in travelers checks so if your card doesnt work for some reason you can change em and not be stuck.

Foo

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Old 08-22-2006, 11:32 AM   #7
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so, am I understanding that I can simply use my banks's debit card to withdraw euro's from atms abroad? It's my first time going to Europe...I plan on bringing some traveler's checques as well. Oh, and something I learned from the credit card people: If you use your credit cards to pay for euros at , say an airport currency exchange, you'll likely be charged 3% by both parties and have to pay a ridiculous daily interest rate on top of that as they regard that as a cash advance. One other question: I've got a money belt being shipped to me; I'm planning on keeping those traveller checques, debit and credit cards, loose monies and i.d. within it...does this sound right? Most places I'm staying have lockers, but I'm getting the feeling that people tend to carry everything around with them on their person. Any feedback for m e?
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Old 08-22-2006, 12:50 PM   #8
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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(rugbyrne @ Aug 22 2006, 01:32 PM) [snapback]136245[/snapback]</div>
Quote:
so, am I understanding that I can simply use my banks's debit card to withdraw euro's from atms abroad? It's my first time going to Europe...I plan on bringing some traveler's checques as well. Oh, and something I learned from the credit card people: If you use your credit cards to pay for euros at , say an airport currency exchange, you'll likely be charged 3% by both parties and have to pay a ridiculous daily interest rate on top of that as they regard that as a cash advance. One other question: I've got a money belt being shipped to me; I'm planning on keeping those traveller checques, debit and credit cards, loose monies and i.d. within it...does this sound right? Most places I'm staying have lockers, but I'm getting the feeling that people tend to carry everything around with them on their person. Any feedback for m e?
[/b]
ATM cards work fine in Europe. Especially if you have a Visa or MC logo on it. Keeping all this is your money belt is the idea. Don't forget the passport!

The 3% charge on credit cards is correct. The % at the airport can vary. I avoid cash advances all together. Like you said you get hammered on interest plus there is almost always a fee on top of the 3% and airport comission. If I do have to change money I get just enough to get me to an ATM or another exchange shop with better rates.

Foo

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Old 08-22-2006, 02:00 PM   #9
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Dude the only thing I'm gonna say is, if by some reason you lose your belt? you will lose everything, right? do this keep 1 debit card in your wallet with a little amount of Euros that way you won't have to be doing the entire tuck out shirt-un-zip-here-pull there-tuck back in thing everywhere you go + you won't draw that much attention, if you happen to lose your wallet (or it gets stolen) don't sweat it you have your other card with you and the amount of money you carry in your wallet should not be more than the amount of money you plan on spending per day. With this said don't be bragging about how you've walked thru harsh streets here in the states cause really, I don't care how mean you are, it's about being safe the matters don't wander around places that look too dangerous and have all the fun you can!

Be safe and have a sweet trip dude!
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Old 08-22-2006, 02:33 PM   #10
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yeah, i wouldnt keep all of my money with me, or you will end up like me having ot cut your trip short and getting a job
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Old 08-22-2006, 03:04 PM   #11
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Cut short? dude from what I've read you are still gonna be on the road until you want! and I'm thinking things are not going so bad with you so come on let's encorouge everyone to lose the wallets! Naw I'm joking but I know that even if you lose your money there is always a way.

Court is a perfect example!
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Old 08-22-2006, 04:38 PM   #12
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yeah, carrying a debit card and some cash in my wallet in my front pocket seems perfectly cool to me. But is the purpose of the money belt then simply to avoid keeping your passport, credit cards etc in the hotel or hostel you're staying at...even if they're locked up in a locker?
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Old 08-23-2006, 07:22 AM   #13
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Do you not get an ATM card as standard in the US. Over here it's the only way you can get at your bank account even when you go into the bank. Every single little town in Ireland has an ATM it's more or less the same everywhere in Europe (cheeper than opening an actual bank).

ATMs are the most convienient way of using your money. My bank even sent me a replacment card while I was traveling, took two days to get to me. My old one had a dent in it but still worked so I had two on me at all times.

I think in the UK the post office doesn't charge commision on money exchanges.
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