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The Best Advice on Obtaining Foreign Currency


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  • 5 months later...
On 2/19/2020 at 10:17 PM, crdtrnr said:

I had planned on getting some Euros from my bank before I went to Spain last fall.  I decided not to, due to the fee involved.  Hard to believe, but I had a hard time finding ATM's once I got there.  Amsterdam airport, only 1 place to get Euros...then in Barcelona, finally at one of the Metro stations...I had even asked several locals (the one they did point me to, unable to use due to the banking requirements).  I ended up spending more there than if I had purchased them here, due to foreign transaction fee and ATM fees.

Next time, I will just pay the extra here. 

 

You were overlooking them.

 

LOTS of ATMs in Schipol airport.  I never have an issue getting local currency in pretty much any airport.  And most hotels also have an ATM in them.

 

As has been mentioned, ALWAYS decline the machine making the conversion.  Have the machine charge your account in the local currency and let your bank make the conversion. They will use a much better rate.

 

As for tipping, in most countries, US dollars are happily accepted.  In many countries, they are preferred.  In some countries, paying in US dollars will get a MUCH better exchange rate than any exchange system.  One place I was, paying in USD, you paid 1/3 to 1/5 the amount you would pay if you had changed to local currency at the official rate.  Granted, these are not typically countries you will cruise to.

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On 12/27/2020 at 3:01 PM, iancal said:

Always get billed in the local currency.

 

 

Absolutely.

 

One trick for getting rid of excess local currency it to use it to pay part of your hotel bill the last morning.  Keep enough to get to the airport if taking a taxi.

 

Almost every airport shop in the world will accept credit card or US dollars.

 

But currencies I am likely to use again (Euros, Pounds, Yen, Won, Bhat, CFA, Rand), I keep a bit for the next time.

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  • 1 month later...

Disclosure: I work here.

 

But Wise offers a debit card in several countries (sorry Canadian residents) that allows you to hold money in multiple currencies. I’ve used it in Germany, Estonia and Australia and it was cheaper than any of my more traditional cards

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  • 1 month later...

I have been able to purchase foreign currency from AAA, in the past (haven't travelled for a while!).  As I recall, it was cheaper than ordering through our bank.  I like to have some local currency on hand when I arrive in the country, since I might be too jet lagged to use the ATM!

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  • 5 months later...
On 7/22/2021 at 5:20 PM, SRF said:

In some countries, paying in US dollars will get a MUCH better exchange rate than any exchange system.  One place I was, paying in USD, you paid 1/3 to 1/5 the amount you would pay if you had changed to local currency at the official rate.  Granted, these are not typically countries you will cruise to.

Which are these countries where you pay only one third or one fifth in US dollars compared to the local currency?

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  • 3 months later...
17 hours ago, Mum2Mercury said:

You can order foreign currency through your bank.  You order it a few weeks /months ahead of time, and then you have to go in and pick it up, but you'll have it BEFORE your trip.  

 

This is my practice.  Depending on the currency and the bank, the currency may be available for pick-up within 24-48 hours after it is ordered.  I don't understand how such quick service works.  

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