DC area -- changing >$1000 into Euros?

I’m traveling to Prague next month and my hotel needs payment in cash (they prefer Euros to Czech currency for some reason.)

My air/train connections in Madrid and Frankfurt are very tight and I can’t count on having time to change money there. Also I’ll be arriving in Prague around 10 at night so no banks will be open.

So I figured I’d better get where’s the best place in the Washington DC area to turn $1200 in cash into Euros? Obviously my local branch bank doesn’t keep that much foreign currency on hand. I could do it at Dulles just before I leave, but I hear the exchange rates at airports are horrible.

Any ideas?

Just ask them to get it for you. Unless you have to leave tonight they should be able to get it for you in short order. And are you sure they don’t have it already? $1000 worth of Euros isn’t that much for a DC area bank.

Don’t be so sure about your local bank not having the cash. I was able to get about 400 euros in cash from my local bank here, just by walking in. And I’m in the middle of nowhere. I’d expect DC banks to be more than able to get you euros.

DC has several international banks downtown; there’s a Deutche Bank on New York Avenue that can handle the transaction in the unlikely event that your own bank can’t. Yahoo lists banks of Japan, Korea and Pakistan; it doesn’t list the Bank of England, but I’ve seen one down there recently. For that matter, there’s a currency exchange at Reagan National Airport. Phone around.

Enquire just why they want Euros and not local currency…I suspect it might be because they can charge you more in total, by converting the bill using a harsh exchange rate.

All right, I’ll try my bank.

Thanks all!

GorillaMan, the hotel got excellent ratings everywhere I looked; the folks at LonelyPlanet would have mentioned any financial chicanery.

The Bank of England has branches other than the one on Threadneedle Street in the City of London?

You’re in Vienna, right down the street from me (I have a Vienna address but am not in the town limits). I went to The Galleria at Tysons II and went to the American Express office (top floor, near the Hallmark store). They do currency exchange. I was just noticing their exchange rates yesterday, which I guess are reasonable. They do not charge an explicit commission but it’s built into their rates.

I also agree that your local bank branch may indeed have lots of euros on hand. What bank?

If you’re in Vienna, you should already have euros.

:: D&R ::

An ATM or a credit card will give you the best exchange rate. Do that if you can.

I agree with ForumBot. There should be an ATM at your hotel or very nearby.

You may or may not be able to get 1000 Euros from an ATM in one transaction.

Did you keep in mind that the Czech Republic doesn’t use the euro (yet)? A normal ATM will only dispense Czech Koruna.