I will be going to Europe in a week and would like to buy a couple hundred euros before I leave (I will use credit cards for any large transactions). Where do I get the most favorable exchange rate? I work in midtown Manhattan, so therefore I have access to most international banks. Which are the best? I’m assuming this will be more favorable than using a currency exchange at the airport…
I would be surprised if you don’t find a selection of ATMs at the first airport you reach in Europe, where you can use your debit card to purchase euros at a reasonable rate before you ever need to spend a euro.
Why don’t you just take them out at the ATM machine at the airport? Thats what I usually do when I go overseas.
That’s what I always do when I go to any foreign country. You’ll almost certainly be flying into a major airport in Europe, and those generally have ATMs.
The ATM will probably charge a per-transaction fee, so it’s best to get as many euros as you think you will need when you arrive.
Don’t change dollars for euros at a currency exchange booth. Their rates are terrible. I don’t think changing currency at a bank is much better, either. I would do that only as a last resort.
This is all true, but remember for a couple of hundred bucks, it won’t make much of a difference. (I have a friend that was changing some currency and was quite proud of the great deal he got until I pointed out that he had worked half a day at saving 8 bucks or something like that)
ATM is fine and dandy, but I sometimes just change a Franklin at the cage for some quick walking around money.
I think last time I changed $20-30 before I left (either at the airport or at my bank) so I’d have something in my hands when I arrived, then used ATMs all over Europe.
Last time I went to Europe my bank got pounds for me for some ridiculously small fee (maybe $5). I asked them for $300 worth and they had the bills for me the next day.
Bear in mind that with the dollar at its current level, in much of Europe that amount will just about buy you a newspaper, sandwich and coffee…
But at least you get to enjoy them in Europe.
Liquor stores give great exchange rates… in Canada. I guess it’s true in Europe too.
Here in Colombia, the ATM’s always give the best rate of exchange. Banks and money exchange houses are in it for profit and the rate is not good. Problem is that there may be a limit for how much you can take out from one ATM.
That’s all I need to make it to the ATM.
Whatever you do don’t allow them to give you an exchange rate when you use your card. They will jack up the exchange rate a lot. I did this for a hotel and found out it was 15% or more above the normal rate.
Let your bank know that you’re travelling, so your card doesn’t get frozen for ‘unusual activity’.
Happened to me in the spring, and I hadn’t even left the UK - I was on holiday in Northern Ireland, spending a lot of money on fuel at fairly random locations.