Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

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worthit
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Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by worthit »

Dear BHs,

Is it a good idea to buy euros now (since $ has gained in value) before my upcoming trip to Europe in 2 weeks? I don't like carrying a large amount of currency if I could avoid but wondering what would be the safest and financially prudent way to take advantage of the devalued euro for my 2 week expenses. If so, where do I buy?

Thanks in advance.
wunder
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by wunder »

No. Take your ATM card (hopefully one that doesn't have foreign fees) and pull it out of ATMs when in country. And/or just use your credit card with no foreign transaction fees that gets daily spot rates for exchange. Both are way better than any bank or currency exchange dealer. You're going on vacation not gambling on currency futures. If the Euro-USD exchange moves more than 3% in either direction during the next month I'd be shocked. Enjoy the near parity.
02nz
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by 02nz »

I also don't think you should buy euros now (assuming you're in the U.S.) - too much hassle for too little potential gain, and generally the cost to buy forex is high.

Using ATMs to withdraw local cash is almost always the best way to go, but make sure you choose local currency if offered a choice between local and USD. Choosing to be charged in USD will mean paying about 5-7% more. Same with credit cards.
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windaar
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by windaar »

Carrying cash in Europe not a good idea. I found in years living and traveling there that your person is generally safer than in a US city but that your possessions are less safe. More pick pockets, purse snatchings, theft from hotels, etc. I just use my credit cards and get some pocket change with my ATM card. You can always check with your companies ahead of time to make sure that they will work over there. Bon voyage!
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lthenderson
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by lthenderson »

I have bought foreign currencies ahead of a trip but mostly if I know I won't be able to access an ATM right away and will need the cash. Usually in Pacific rim countries where only certain ATM machines work with certain bank cards. Like others have said though, there are fees associated with it and I'm not sure it can be done in two weeks anyway. I'm pretty sure my bank had to place an order for the currency and it took several weeks to arrive.

By far the easiest way is to just hit up an ATM machine once there. Some things to note though. Some countries limit the amount you can withdrawal to a much less amount than you might be able to get here in the U.S. Do some homework ahead of time to figure out this limit. If you plan on going back to the country from time to time, I keep some of my leftover currency in an envelope in a draw of my house so when I return on the trip, I can start off with some local cash without worrying about finding an ATM right away.
Naismith
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by Naismith »

windaar wrote: Mon Jul 25, 2022 8:55 am Carrying cash in Europe not a good idea. I found in years living and traveling there that your person is generally safer than in a US city but that your possessions are less safe. More pick pockets, purse snatchings, theft from hotels, etc. I just use my credit cards and get some pocket change with my ATM card. You can always check with your companies ahead of time to make sure that they will work over there. Bon voyage!
Europe is a big place and this varies from place to place. Yes, you can use a card to buy a hot dog in Iceland or London...but I have found that in rural Italy, Greece, and in most Balkan countries, it is a cash economy and even a hotel will not take a card.
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Watty
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by Watty »

If you were talking to a European who was coming to visit New York City or to see the Grand Canyon and was thinking about carrying thousands of dollars in cash you would tell them they were crazy. You going to Europe with a lot of cash would be just as crazy.
worthit wrote: Mon Jul 25, 2022 8:41 am before my upcoming trip to Europe in 2 weeks?
.....
for my 2 week expenses.
You are only looking at a month long time frame. Exchange rate changes over that time period of more than a few percent are very rare and the direction is more or less random so over short periods of time they are about as likely to get better as worse.

You have also likely prepaid for some of your major expenses like airfare, and maybe hotels or tours. If the rest of your two week budget is $3,000 and you lose 5% to an sudden exchange rate change that is only $150 which a small fraction of your total vacation cost. The risk/reward numbers just are not there even if you could do it easily and safely.
quantAndHold
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by quantAndHold »

The last time I was in Europe, I got 40 Euros out of an ATM at the airport, then had trouble spending it. Everyplace took Apple Pay.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
Shallowpockets
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by Shallowpockets »

You get your cash from an ATM. Have an ATM card, I use Schwab, that has no transaction fees and reimburses for any ATM fees. Get cash as you need it. There are ATMs all over.
If you buy Euros here in US you will pay a commission that is not in your interest. And, unless you have your cash needs down to the penny, you will either buy too much, or not enough. If not enough, you will be using ATMs anyway. Back at square one then.
All airports have ATMs. The exchange rate is usually the same as in town ATMs. You have no control over the going exchange rate. It is what it is.
Use a real bank ATM and not a private company ATM.
DrDoodle
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by DrDoodle »

quantAndHold wrote: Mon Jul 25, 2022 9:19 am The last time I was in Europe, I got 40 Euros out of an ATM at the airport, then had trouble spending it. Everyplace took Apple Pay.
Same. I think it depends a bit on where you are going (I read that Germany is still very cash based) but in many countries merchants don't want cash. They also don't want your chip or swipe card, so make sure that you have a tap-to-pay credit card.

When you get cash from an ATM, make sure to decline the option to have your withdrawal of Euros calculated in dollars, which just lets the ATM owner apply a very disadvantageous conversion rate. Withdraw your Euros as Euros, and let your own bank do the conversion back to dollars at the actual current forex exchange rate.
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vineviz
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by vineviz »

Naismith wrote: Mon Jul 25, 2022 9:06 am
windaar wrote: Mon Jul 25, 2022 8:55 am Carrying cash in Europe not a good idea. I found in years living and traveling there that your person is generally safer than in a US city but that your possessions are less safe. More pick pockets, purse snatchings, theft from hotels, etc. I just use my credit cards and get some pocket change with my ATM card. You can always check with your companies ahead of time to make sure that they will work over there. Bon voyage!
Europe is a big place and this varies from place to place. Yes, you can use a card to buy a hot dog in Iceland or London...but I have found that in rural Italy, Greece, and in most Balkan countries, it is a cash economy and even a hotel will not take a card.
Agreed. I recently visited Italy and found that most, but definitely not all, of our spending could be done with credit cards. Cafés and taxis were most likely to be cash-only, in my experience.

I'd be more comfortable arriving with 100-150 euros already in my wallet, personally.
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worthit
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by worthit »

Thank you all for your responses.
Watty wrote: Mon Jul 25, 2022 9:09 am If you were talking to a European who was coming to visit New York City or to see the Grand Canyon and was thinking about carrying thousands of dollars in cash you would tell them they were crazy. You going to Europe with a lot of cash would be just as crazy.
worthit wrote: Mon Jul 25, 2022 8:41 am before my upcoming trip to Europe in 2 weeks?
.....
for my 2 week expenses.
You are only looking at a month long time frame. Exchange rate changes over that time period of more than a few percent are very rare and the direction is more or less random so over short periods of time they are about as likely to get better as worse.

You have also likely prepaid for some of your major expenses like airfare, and maybe hotels or tours. If the rest of your two week budget is $3,000 and you lose 5% to an sudden exchange rate change that is only $150 which a small fraction of your total vacation cost. The risk/reward numbers just are not there even if you could do it easily and safely.
Watty, as always a thought provoking question from you and makes a lot of sense. Thank you, Sir!

The thing is I am traveling to Europe after several years so all this helps. Of course, spending time in London, Paris. Amsterdam and Belgium. No rural county side trips planned. As Watty mentioned, hotels, airfare and train s already paid for, It is just the incidentals.
quantAndHold wrote: Mon Jul 25, 2022 9:19 am The last time I was in Europe, I got 40 Euros out of an ATM at the airport, then had trouble spending it. Everyplace took Apple Pay.
Have been thinking about Apple pay. Just not comfortable about the idea of losing my phone and then what kind of a scenario? My ignorance coupled with paranoia has prevented me going all tech for payments so far but going to look into it if it means carrying in person less number of credit cards and cash. It is time I graduated :D.

Thanks all.
Globetrttr
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by Globetrttr »

worthit wrote: Mon Jul 25, 2022 8:41 am Is it a good idea to buy euros now (since $ has gained in value) before my upcoming trip to Europe in 2 weeks? I don't like carrying a large amount of currency if I could avoid but wondering what would be the safest and financially prudent way to take advantage of the devalued euro for my 2 week expenses. If so, where do I buy?
Although the exchange rate has reached unprecedented levels (parity), buying in advance now for a trip in 2 weeks makes no sense.

Buying foreign currency via traditional channels in the U.S. (banks, AAA, Travelex kiosk at airports) is a fool's errand due to fees and unfavorable rates that will eat you alive.

The best way to spend foreign currency is to use a credit card with no foreign transaction costs as much as possible. Normally in Europe this is possible with most hotels, trains, large retailers. Restaurants and small businesses still require cash. Fidelity, Schwab and probably others offer reimbursed ATM fees from cash accounts. I usually draw about 3-4 days' worth of cash when on the continent and replenish whenever needed. Always use an ATM at an actual bank, not some standalone Euronet ATM (again, bad exchange rate will get you).

FWIW, keep a backup ATM card available. I once had my account hacked and several hundred USD taken out by hackers which managed to copy my ATM card number and PIN in Vienna a few years ago. Hackers sometimes tamper with the machines to slide in a card reader to get your info. Fidelity reimbursed every cent after they locked my account and notified me of the fraud, but it took a few days.
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MGBMartin
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by MGBMartin »

I think someone already mentioned this earlier but I’ll reiterate it.

When using an ATM/Debit or Credit card make sure you decline the option to do your transaction in your home currency US $. Processing in the local currency Euros will always be the best option. Processing in US $ will incur a large markup on the exchange rate to the tune of 6-8% whereas processing in Euros will give you the very favorable rate you see online or in the newspaper.

Look up Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) for a better understanding and be careful as the ATM etc will try to make it sound like it is better.

And, just in case the person who gave totally incorrect information on a now locked thread yesterday comes along…
The incorrect information was if a transaction is processed in US $ then there is no currency conversion involved. That is totally wrong. If you buy something in Europe for 25€ someone has to figure out how much that is in US $ and if you choose the option mentioned above it’s going to be a lot more than just letting Visa or Mastercard etc figure it out.
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adamthesmythe
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by adamthesmythe »

Ah, I remember the days of going downtown to buy Swiss-franc denominated traveler's checks before a vacation.

These days- if you could find a way in the US to get Euros- I suspect the fee would be significant.

Personally I depend on (redundant) cards for access to ATMs. And if I have a few Euros left from a previous trip I take them. Other than that I don't stress about it.
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by Jags4186 »

Wells Fargo will charge you $1073 for €1000. You can presently take €1000 out of an ATM in Europe for about $1023. I would not buy Euros beforehand.
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by bob60014 »

I try to use a major bank ATM, like HSBC, RBS, etc, at the airport I'm arriving at, if they're available. If not I'll wait to find a convenient branch in my travels. In reality you won't need much cash, especially in major cities where cards are now king.
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by theplayer11 »

quantAndHold wrote: Mon Jul 25, 2022 9:19 am The last time I was in Europe, I got 40 Euros out of an ATM at the airport, then had trouble spending it. Everyplace took Apple Pay.
yup, trip to Italy earlier this year and apple pay for everything. Never needed to bring my wallet out.
Mollinska
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by Mollinska »

I went to Norway a few years ago for a week and used my credit card for absolutely every purchase... I never held a kroner in my hand the entire trip. I use USAA and called before I departed the US to ensure USAA wouldn't charge me any weird fees and they did not... so I'd suggest calling your credit card company to make sure there aren't any additional fees added for using your credit card outside of the US.

Have a great trip!
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by rich126 »

I wouldn't mind someone pointing out I'm wrong but I'm guessing if you can buy Euros here w/o paying a sizable fee. Now it could still be profitable if the fee is 5% and the rate changes by more than that between now and the trip. I suppose you can always try to find someone who has leftover Euros and buy them that way. I'm not interested in selling but I usually keep about 100 euros or so.

As others mentioned, you can use credit cards with no foreign transaction fees to buy stuff in local currency and not $. I always want to use my ATM at the airport and get a few hundred Euros because in some cases I've needed cash and coins. Just check out the fees ahead of time. Often it is a fixed fee so it is better to get one large withdrawal rather than multiple smaller ones. The exchange rate is usually pretty good.

And while some cards don't require it, I would either go online or call them to let them know the dates you are out of town. While many people have no issues, I've known more than a few who had cards shutdown because the bank assumed it was a fraudulent transaction. Another reason why I always have multiple credit cards and ATM cards. Some places are more accepting of Mastercard vs. Visa and American Express or Discover cards are usually accepted less often.
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UpperNwGuy
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

I travel often to Europe, and I always wait until I arrive in Europe before getting Euros. Getting them in the US before departure will cost you.
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by AnnetteLouisan »

Maybe it would be good to buy them in advance if you thought the decline in the Euro was a temporary dip, but not many expect that even though the ECB recently raised by 0.50. Check out this week’s Barron’s cover story on the Euro. I’d say you could even gain more by waiting by buying them there, since it could well fall further (no one buys them here anymore).
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by hunoraut »

Mollinska wrote: Mon Jul 25, 2022 2:19 pm I went to Norway a few years ago for a week and used my credit card for absolutely every purchase... I never held a kroner in my hand the entire trip.
Norway is VERY different from the rest of Europe in cash acceptance. In fact, if you held kroner, it would be difficult to use it.
Conversely, there are other countries that are card-reluctant.
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by Naismith »

Mollinska wrote: Mon Jul 25, 2022 2:19 pm I went to Norway a few years ago for a week and used my credit card for absolutely every purchase... I never held a kroner in my hand the entire trip. I use USAA and called before I departed the US to ensure USAA wouldn't charge me any weird fees and they did not... so I'd suggest calling your credit card company to make sure there aren't any additional fees added for using your credit card outside of the US.
A foreign transaction fee for credit or debit transactions isn't "weird," it is pretty standard in the banking industry. (Some Amex cards have it, USAA charges it for debit withdrawals.) That info should be clear on a bank's website, a call is not really necessary.

If you are in one of the countries where cash is necessary (I am heading to Albania) and need to get cash from an ATM, a second source of fees is the surcharge by the ATM owner. Some banks refund these fees, some refund them up to a certain amount or number of withdrawals per month. I find that Schwab (seconding the previous recommendation from Shallowpockets!) and CapitalOne360 the most reliable at giving me the cash, with no international transaction fee and refunded ATM fees.

But when we lived in Indonesia, only the USAA debit card was accepted by the local rideshare company, so I was happy to pay the 1% to have a reliable way to travel.
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by 02nz »

worthit wrote: Mon Jul 25, 2022 9:40 am Have been thinking about Apple pay. Just not comfortable about the idea of losing my phone and then what kind of a scenario? My ignorance coupled with paranoia has prevented me going all tech for payments so far but going to look into it if it means carrying in person less number of credit cards and cash. It is time I graduated :D.
As well as Apple Pay works, obviously it should not be the only payment method, you need to have at least one or two other backups. But that applies to any form of payment and doesn't seem like a good reason to not use Apple Pay.
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by 02nz »

rich126 wrote: Mon Jul 25, 2022 3:07 pm Some places are more accepting of Mastercard vs. Visa and American Express or Discover cards are usually accepted less often.
Generally any place that takes any credit card at all probably takes both Visa and MC. Many if not most hotels and higher-end restaurants and shops also take Amex. Discover acceptance was lowest, at least in the parts of Europe where I've traveled.
Last edited by 02nz on Tue Jul 26, 2022 10:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by gtd98765 »

I would avoid the Travelex ATMs that are usually in the baggage area at Heathrow and some other European airports. They have a much worse exchange rate than a real bank ATM would. At some airports there are only Travelex ATMs inside the baggage claim area, but once you are out into the main airport there are other ATM options.
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by invest2bfree »

worthit wrote: Mon Jul 25, 2022 8:41 am Dear BHs,

Is it a good idea to buy euros now (since $ has gained in value) before my upcoming trip to Europe in 2 weeks? I don't like carrying a large amount of currency if I could avoid but wondering what would be the safest and financially prudent way to take advantage of the devalued euro for my 2 week expenses. If so, where do I buy?

Thanks in advance.
You can but it is lot easier to use ATMs when needed.

I just use my credit card and whenever I need money I get from the ATMs.
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by homebuyer6426 »

windaar wrote: Mon Jul 25, 2022 8:55 am Carrying cash in Europe not a good idea. I found in years living and traveling there that your person is generally safer than in a US city but that your possessions are less safe. More pick pockets, purse snatchings, theft from hotels, etc. I just use my credit cards and get some pocket change with my ATM card. You can always check with your companies ahead of time to make sure that they will work over there. Bon voyage!
It is not difficult to remove people's ability to pickpocket you. Pants with zippered pockets or storing money in inaccessible locations, situational awareness. Not leaving any cash in the hotel. Not traveling solo. The only really tricky spot is when you go swimming.
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by GreendaleCC »

No, don’t do it.
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by JoMoney »

Buying foreign currency in the U.S. is extremely expensive. Get foreign cash at an ATM machine in the country to get the best exchange rate(s), or even better try to use a no-foreign-transaction-fee credit card for all purchases, which will keep you from having excess foreign currency to deal with.
When using your U.S. card on a foreign transaction, do not accept any offer of the machine to convert to U.S. dollar for you... it will do so at a horrible exchange rate/fee.. Your card provider will automatically convert at the best available exchange rates. The only time it may be worthwhile to accept the foreign machine's offer to convert is if you absolutely must know the precise amount in U.S. dollars being charged at the time of purchase and unwilling to accept the ambiguity of whatever odd fraction the markets constantly changing rate may be.
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by nedsaid »

worthit wrote: Mon Jul 25, 2022 8:41 am Dear BHs,

Is it a good idea to buy euros now (since $ has gained in value) before my upcoming trip to Europe in 2 weeks? I don't like carrying a large amount of currency if I could avoid but wondering what would be the safest and financially prudent way to take advantage of the devalued euro for my 2 week expenses. If so, where do I buy?

Thanks in advance.
I would recommend that you buy some Euros and carry them with you in a money belt. Keep enough in your wallet for whatever you need for a day. I also would buy in advance whatever other currencies I needed for a European trip. You don't needs gobs of currency to take with you, and as others said ATM Cards work great over there and you always get a competitive currency conversion rate. Once when arriving in London, I had problems getting my cards to work when trying to buy tickets for The Tube (subway or metro). It helped to have cash on hand.

I bought my currencies at the local AAA, the fees were 2% to 3% to convert currencies as I recall. Don't buy them at Travelex, they are a very expensive way to buy. If you have excess currency when coming back, either keep it for your next trip or sell it to someone going there.
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by neilpilot »

nedsaid wrote: Tue Jul 26, 2022 8:44 am Once when arriving in London, I had problems getting my cards to work when trying to buy tickets for The Tube (subway or metro). It helped to have cash on hand.
Don't buy tickets!! When travelling the London Underground, bus, and commuter trains you typically get a significantly better fare if you use a contactless credit card or ncf from your phone. The fare is typically the same as the Oyster card.

I use my Visa card. Google Pay, Apple Pay et al are likely just as good. Note that I'm not talking about exchange fees or rate, but the actual fare. Here's an example: When going from W Kensington to Wimbledon, the fare using a contactless credit card is £1.70 off-peak, or £2 during peak travel times. If you pay cash to buy a ticket, it's £6.30.
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by bberris »

worthit wrote: Mon Jul 25, 2022 8:41 am Dear BHs,

Is it a good idea to buy euros now (since $ has gained in value) before my upcoming trip to Europe in 2 weeks? I don't like carrying a large amount of currency if I could avoid but wondering what would be the safest and financially prudent way to take advantage of the devalued euro for my 2 week expenses. If so, where do I buy?

Thanks in advance.
When I was working, I always bought and sold currency on the employee's bulletin board from and to my colleagues. Someone was always going somewhere.
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by Artsdoctor »

The best thing for you to do is some homework before you go. Find out what your own bank's fees are while using ATMs abroad. Some fees are nominal and some fees are a bit higher. Also, find out if your bank is part of a network of international banks: sometimes, you'll withdraw from one ATM abroad without significant fees, and for others the fee is higher. Inevitably, ATM withdraws--if done correctly--will give you better rates than buying the foreign currency in the US.

As others have noted, you really won't need much cash but it's nice to have a little. Some countries, especially the Nordic countries, really encourage non-cash transactions. However, cash is always welcome for gratuities.

If you find yourself with some cash left over at the end of the trip, you can always use it towards your hotel bill. The front desk will gladly take your cash and put the remainder on your credit card. Or, if you're staying with friends, just give it to them.
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nedsaid
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by nedsaid »

neilpilot wrote: Tue Jul 26, 2022 9:13 am
nedsaid wrote: Tue Jul 26, 2022 8:44 am Once when arriving in London, I had problems getting my cards to work when trying to buy tickets for The Tube (subway or metro). It helped to have cash on hand.
Don't buy tickets!! When travelling the London Underground, bus, and commuter trains you typically get a significantly better fare if you use a contactless credit card or ncf from your phone. The fare is typically the same as the Oyster card.

I use my Visa card. Google Pay, Apple Pay et al are likely just as good. Note that I'm not talking about exchange fees or rate, but the actual fare. Here's an example: When going from W Kensington to Wimbledon, the fare using a contactless credit card is £1.70 off-peak, or £2 during peak travel times. If you pay cash to buy a ticket, it's £6.30.
After my credit card wouldn't work in the ticket machine, I walked into the small convenience store and purchased an Oyster Card. I pulled cash out of my wallet and bought the card and put probably 30 pounds on it. I used the card to travel the tube all over London. I think I put more funds on the card while I was there, I think I went to a window or something. When I left a few days later, I turned the card in and they rebated me the funds that were still on the card.
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by 2cents2 »

I have also been researching options. It sounds like conventional wisdom is not to buy too many Euros in advance.

The rate was (1.07845 dollars for 1 Euro) on Jul 14 at our AAA. Plus, if you order less than 1,000 Euros there is a small order fee of $12.00. They only take orders in person to make the initial order. Then 1-5 days later they send you a text and you return to pick up your order. They only accept cash or debit card. And, they don't buy back any unused currency when you return home.

I hate paying the $12.00 small order fee, but I don't think we need 1,000 Euros.

There are several CXI branches in my area, but they charge a $10.00 fee no matter how many Euros you order (their exchange rate on their site was 1.09235 Dollars for 1 Euro) . Looking at today's rate for Well's Fargo 1.0762 Dollars for 1 Euro (not sure about any additional fees). Google says the exchange rate for today is 1.01 Dollars for 1 Euro.

I'm not sure where the best place is to get a small amount of Euros in advance.
MGBMartin
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by MGBMartin »

2cents2 wrote: Tue Jul 26, 2022 5:07 pm I have also been researching options. It sounds like conventional wisdom is not to buy too many Euros in advance.

The rate was (1.07845 dollars for 1 Euro) on Jul 14 at our AAA. Plus, if you order less than 1,000 Euros there is a small order fee of $12.00. They only take orders in person to make the initial order. Then 1-5 days later they send you a text and you return to pick up your order. They only accept cash or debit card. And, they don't buy back any unused currency when you return home.

I hate paying the $12.00 small order fee, but I don't think we need 1,000 Euros.

There are several CXI branches in my area, but they charge a $10.00 fee no matter how many Euros you order (their exchange rate on their site was 1.09235 Dollars for 1 Euro) . Looking at today's rate for Well's Fargo 1.0762 Dollars for 1 Euro (not sure about any additional fees). Google says the exchange rate for today is 1.01 Dollars for 1 Euro.

I'm not sure where the best place is to get a small amount of Euros in advance.
The exchange rates you mention are about 5-7 cents per euro more than you would pay than getting euros from an ATM once you arrive in Europe.
So €100 cost you $5-7 plus the $10 or $12 fee not including the $.
Worst case is $119 for €100 for an effective exchange rate of $1.19 per €
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2cents2
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by 2cents2 »

MGBMartin wrote: Tue Jul 26, 2022 5:40 pm

The exchange rates you mention are about 5-7 cents per euro more than you would pay than getting euros from an ATM once you arrive in Europe.
So €100 cost you $5-7 plus the $10 or $12 fee not including the $.
Worst case is $119 for €100 for an effective exchange rate of $1.19 per €

Good to know, but if you did want to have a small amount of Euros before you left (or if you were gifting some Euros to a student that was making a spring break trip), where would you buy them?
bluebolt
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by bluebolt »

2cents2 wrote: Tue Jul 26, 2022 6:05 pm Good to know, but if you did want to have a small amount of Euros before you left (or if you were gifting some Euros to a student that was making a spring break trip), where would you buy them?
I've seen people post requests like this in local Facebook/NextDoor groups and they have gotten some replies. Probably dependent on where you live.
robphoto
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by robphoto »

neilpilot wrote: Tue Jul 26, 2022 9:13 am
nedsaid wrote: Tue Jul 26, 2022 8:44 am Once when arriving in London, I had problems getting my cards to work when trying to buy tickets for The Tube (subway or metro). It helped to have cash on hand.
Don't buy tickets!! When travelling the London Underground, bus, and commuter trains you typically get a significantly better fare if you use a contactless credit card or ncf from your phone. The fare is typically the same as the Oyster card.

I use my Visa card. Google Pay, Apple Pay et al are likely just as good. Note that I'm not talking about exchange fees or rate, but the actual fare. Here's an example: When going from W Kensington to Wimbledon, the fare using a contactless credit card is £1.70 off-peak, or £2 during peak travel times. If you pay cash to buy a ticket, it's £6.30.
another note on London: getting on a bus, you just use your contactless credit card, but you can't do two people's fares with the same card, so it's good to have a second account you can use contactless so you've each got a unique card.
neilpilot
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by neilpilot »

robphoto wrote: Tue Jul 26, 2022 6:14 pm
neilpilot wrote: Tue Jul 26, 2022 9:13 am
nedsaid wrote: Tue Jul 26, 2022 8:44 am Once when arriving in London, I had problems getting my cards to work when trying to buy tickets for The Tube (subway or metro). It helped to have cash on hand.
Don't buy tickets!! When travelling the London Underground, bus, and commuter trains you typically get a significantly better fare if you use a contactless credit card or ncf from your phone. The fare is typically the same as the Oyster card.

I use my Visa card. Google Pay, Apple Pay et al are likely just as good. Note that I'm not talking about exchange fees or rate, but the actual fare. Here's an example: When going from W Kensington to Wimbledon, the fare using a contactless credit card is £1.70 off-peak, or £2 during peak travel times. If you pay cash to buy a ticket, it's £6.30.
another note on London: getting on a bus, you just use your contactless credit card, but you can't do two people's fares with the same card, so it's good to have a second account you can use contactless so you've each got a unique card.
That's good to know. It's been 3 years since I was last in London, and IIRC the two of us used the same card, swiping it twice. I'm certainly not disagreeing with you. Were we actually paying 1 fare, not 2, and cheating the system?
MGBMartin
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by MGBMartin »

2cents2 wrote: Tue Jul 26, 2022 6:05 pm
MGBMartin wrote: Tue Jul 26, 2022 5:40 pm

The exchange rates you mention are about 5-7 cents per euro more than you would pay than getting euros from an ATM once you arrive in Europe.
So €100 cost you $5-7 plus the $10 or $12 fee not including the $.
Worst case is $119 for €100 for an effective exchange rate of $1.19 per €

Good to know, but if you did want to have a small amount of Euros before you left (or if you were gifting some Euros to a student that was making a spring break trip), where would you buy them?
In that case I would get them from your bank or AAA which ever is most convenient for you. Sure it’s a terrible exchange rate not the best way but the amount is not put you on bread and water for the next month.

I must admit, in the relatively recent past I have exchanged currency for 2 special occasions
When my daughter went to Europe to study I got her some Euros to have when she first arrived, that was 12 years ago but a situation like you described
5 years back I was heading from Europe and had about €140 left. My daughter was heading to Japan in a few weeks and as I was passing one of those awful exchange places I had a senior moment and changed €100 in to Yen so I could send it to the daughter as a when you get there gift

Other than that I religiously just rely on ATM no matter where I go.
I always like to bring some currency back with me ready for next time.
Problem with that is I still have some Chinese Yuan and I doubt I’ll be going back there so it is earmarked for those charity collections they often do on a flight.

Safe travels
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MGBMartin
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by MGBMartin »

neilpilot wrote: Tue Jul 26, 2022 6:25 pm
robphoto wrote: Tue Jul 26, 2022 6:14 pm
neilpilot wrote: Tue Jul 26, 2022 9:13 am
nedsaid wrote: Tue Jul 26, 2022 8:44 am Once when arriving in London, I had problems getting my cards to work when trying to buy tickets for The Tube (subway or metro). It helped to have cash on hand.
Don't buy tickets!! When travelling the London Underground, bus, and commuter trains you typically get a significantly better fare if you use a contactless credit card or ncf from your phone. The fare is typically the same as the Oyster card.

I use my Visa card. Google Pay, Apple Pay et al are likely just as good. Note that I'm not talking about exchange fees or rate, but the actual fare. Here's an example: When going from W Kensington to Wimbledon, the fare using a contactless credit card is £1.70 off-peak, or £2 during peak travel times. If you pay cash to buy a ticket, it's £6.30.
another note on London: getting on a bus, you just use your contactless credit card, but you can't do two people's fares with the same card, so it's good to have a second account you can use contactless so you've each got a unique card.
That's good to know. It's been 3 years since I was last in London, and IIRC the two of us used the same card, swiping it twice. I'm certainly not disagreeing with you. Were we actually paying 1 fare, not 2, and cheating the system?
There is actually a way to use the same card for 2 people.
If you have Apple Pay on your phone linked to a card then one person can use the phone while the other uses the physical card.
I think it works that way with Google Pay also.
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Topic Author
worthit
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by worthit »

Thanks all for the tips. Will use a bank ATM for withdrawing cash. Good to know about transactions in local currency is the way to go.

Migrated to Apple Pay today! Never used it before. So excited to put it to use. May be I will pilot it in the US before my departure to get the hang of it.
oxothuk
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by oxothuk »

worthit wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 8:16 pm May be I will pilot it in the US before my departure to get the hang of it.
Strongly suggest you do that. That way if you run into difficulties you can better isolate the cause.
tfunk
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by tfunk »

Safest thing to do is use a credit card without a transaction fee.

We just returned from 4 weeks in Portugal. At the airport, they charged over 12% (not transaction fee but change fee). I thought this was very high until I went to the ATM in Lisbon and they also charged about 13% with a $5 Euro fee on top.

After than, we used the credit card as much as possible to avoid these excessive fees. Not sure if all of the EU is doing this now
neilpilot
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by neilpilot »

tfunk wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 8:59 pm Safest thing to do is use a credit card without a transaction fee.

We just returned from 4 weeks in Portugal. At the airport, they charged over 12% (not transaction fee but change fee). I thought this was very high until I went to the ATM in Lisbon and they also charged about 13% with a $5 Euro fee on top.

After than, we used the credit card as much as possible to avoid these excessive fees. Not sure if all of the EU is doing this now
Maybe this is a recent change, but when I’ve heard this type of report from others in the past it turned out to be due to one of 2 mistakes they made:

(1) they used a credit card at the atm, rather than a debit card
(2) the atm was not owned by a major bank
jello_nailer
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by jello_nailer »

Globetrttr wrote: Mon Jul 25, 2022 9:45 am
worthit wrote: Mon Jul 25, 2022 8:41 am Is it a good idea to buy euros now (since $ has gained in value) before my upcoming trip to Europe in 2 weeks? I don't like carrying a large amount of currency if I could avoid but wondering what would be the safest and financially prudent way to take advantage of the devalued euro for my 2 week expenses. If so, where do I buy?
FWIW, keep a backup ATM card available. I once had my account hacked and several hundred USD taken out by hackers which managed to copy my ATM card number and PIN in Vienna a few years ago. Hackers sometimes tamper with the machines to slide in a card reader to get your info. Fidelity reimbursed every cent after they locked my account and notified me of the fraud, but it took a few days.
Or the ATM machine EATS your card. Happened to me twice. Go to school on me - The local bank does not return your card to you.
I now carry 2 ATM cards from 2 different banks, Wells/Chase. (I actually have 2 Wells cards) but also remember most of these banks have pretty low daily withdrawal limits (extra bonus of multiple cards - just in case) though I have never needed.

I will also comment on the need for cash - clearly a lot of the world is more cashless than the US. I remember a number of long haul trips I have taken where I left the U.S. with about $2 in my wallet.

Compared to when I started in the olden days, days of hand delivered airline hard tickets from Uni-globe travel agency, Faxed confirmations, Travelers checks, Phone long distance credit cards, and the dreaded currency exchange booths with predatory spreads, today's world is a beautiful thing!

So easy a cave man could do it!
Starfish
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Re: Should I buy Euros now before my upcoming Europe travel?

Post by Starfish »

quantAndHold wrote: Mon Jul 25, 2022 9:19 am The last time I was in Europe, I got 40 Euros out of an ATM at the airport, then had trouble spending it. Everyplace took Apple Pay.
Same, including eastern Europe.
Not only that but some places don't accept cash anymore. I saw that in Spain and I hear in Scandinavia is pretty common.
I always carry 2 debit cards and 2-3 credit cards besides the phone.
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