Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t need an advanced degree in international finance just to take a trip to a foreign country?
Maybe a One World Government wouldn’t be so bad after all. Living under a totalitarian regime? Ok, that would kinda suck … but you’d never have to worry about foreign exchange rates ever again.
City-Data member markg91359 is curious as to the best current approach with regard to exchanging money for an upcoming European trip and the advisability of using his credit card to buy things while there. Fellow travelers offer some very useful foreign exchange advice, though it’s interesting to hear the disagreements as well.
For example, annerk advises to exchange some money at your local bank before embarking on a trip:
I buy enough currency for the first few days (or entire trip in countries with questionable or secure access to an ATM) from my bank. I don’t want to take the chance of the ATM at the airport being broken or eating my card and there I am, stuck without some local currency.
I also will only use a bank ATM located at the bank during business hours. That way if the card is eaten it can be retrieved by banking officials. (from personal experience)
But foadi isn’t so sure this is the best approach:
never seen an airport that didn’t have currency exchange. and i can’t imagine getting a better rate at a US-based bank branch than at an airport currency exchange booth.
when i travel overseas, i never exchange in advance. just bring a bunch of cash, then change $100 or so at the airport when i arrive. then change the rest the following day in town when i find a place with good rates.
To which annerk replies:
the currency exchange places aren’t always open in the early morning when overnight flights begin to arrive. The one at PPT wasn’t open when we arrived, and there is only one ATM–which is well known to only work about half the time and wasn’t when we got there. I was very glad to have had enough XPF for a cab and the first couple of days already in hand.
This discussion is incredibly informative and is definitely worth a read if you are planning a visit to Europe and are unsure about how to manage the foreign exchange issue. Reading it doesn’t result in an advanced degree in international finance, but it should at least come with a certification of some type.
For what it’s worth, the FlyerGuide wiki also has a robust page dedicated to Credit/Debit/ATM Cards and Foreign Exchange which used to be the source for this kind of thing. But it looks like it hasn’t been updated in about a year and so might have been abandoned. Still, it’s a wiki, which means that if you see information that is wrong you can simply correct it.
Read the City-Data thread in its entirety: Changing Money in Europe: Exchange Rates