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marilynh June 11th, 2006 05:20 PM

Purchasing Euros ahead of cruise?
Hi. Is it a good idea to purchase Euros before leaving the states? If so does anyone know of a bank that doesn't charge to exchange them? Two years ago I exchanged them at a Bank of America for no charge with an account but now they are charging $7.50. I suppose there is another $7.50 to exchange any left over Euros. Thanks.

Irish Shark June 11th, 2006 06:06 PM

I ordered my through AMEX.

Marc October 25th, 2009 03:15 AM

Just wait until you arrive in Europe and head to ATM machine. Best exchange rate and lowest (if any) fees.

Trackypup January 21st, 2010 02:31 PM

I'm never comfortable landing in a country without currency. I think the answer to your question would depend on where you live. Here in Vancouver I have a fantastic exchange place that doesn't charge a fee and their exchange rates are soooo much better than a bank. I buy Euros every pay when I know we're going on a trip and then use an ATM when needed in Europe. Check some of the currency exchange rate places if you live in a big city.

Mike M September 28th, 2010 10:01 AM

I would take Marc's advice. There isn't a major airport in the world that does not have a "bank" ATM.

Just use the normal caution you would use anywhere. Don't flash your cash, cover your pin when entering it and only use bank ATM's and not generic cash machines.

Take care,

ThomasOrtiz November 6th, 2013 09:34 AM

I will add a vote for using your ATM card. We have always used our bankcard at an ATM in the airport when arriving at a foreign destination. When we arrived in Peru, we did not find an ATM right away in the airport, but just asked our taxi driver to take us by a safe bank with an ATM to withdraw money. He was happy to do it. We have used our cards in Asian countries, Caribbean countries, and South American countries with no problems. I do suggest calling the number on the back of your bankcard and telling them you will be using the card out of country and the duration of your trip. They tag your account with the information so it is not frozen as a possible compromised card.

I have compared the rates we are charged on our bankcard and what I can get from the bank or the exchange counters in the airports. The difference is so small that we choose the convenience of using our cards. Just remember, you need to stock up on cash if you are going to destinations with few or no ATM's around. We did not see an ATM for several days while on our A mazon cruise, but that is what we expected.

Mike M November 6th, 2013 09:47 AM

Good advice Thomas!

One other thing that I have done in the last few years is to open a separate checking account that is only used for travel. My banker suggested this. You will receive a separate ATM/Debit card for that account. I have never bothered to even order checks for that account.

Make sure that checking account cannot access any of your other accounts. That way only the amount in that account can be touched. You can move money into and out of that account as you need it. I will put one or two thousand into it for travel and if I need more I just get online and transfer more or if there is money left at the end of the holiday, I just transfer it back to checking, savings, or whatever account I want.

Once again, I echo what most folks have said. Don't bother going to the bank or foreign exchange booth. Just take out money at the airport, from a bank ATM. Depending on your bank and type of account you have you will probably save money.

On my Wells Fargo account I get the current "actual" exchange rate and the non Wells Fargo ATM fee is waived. Otherwise it would be $5/transaction. Most accounts will charge a non-bank ATM fee so take out enough to get you by so you aren't paying the ATM fee over and over. I.E. Don't just take out 20 Euros.

Take care,
Mike November 6th, 2013 05:37 PM

We do exactly what others have suggested. As soon as we arrive at the foreign airport, we find an ATM and get some cash. Check with your bank ahead of time and find out which international banks they have agreements with because if you use those, then there's usually no fee.

Also, make sure your money is in your checking account and not your savings account because their ATM's do not give you the option to take money out of your savings accounts like ours do.

But you'll find ATM's everywhere you go, so you won't have a problem with that. Just make sure you let your bank know ahead of time what countries you'll be visiting. Same thing holds true for your credit cards, which we'll use alot for all of our big meals, hotels, etc.


Mike M November 6th, 2013 08:38 PM

I have found that many bank ATM's in Europe and Asia do allow you access to your Savings account if the ATM card is also tied to the savings account. It is also dependent on who you bank with and the type of account you have with the bank.

That was one of the reasons I inquired with my banker about what I could do to lessen my exposure and he suggested the separate card.

Take care,
Mike November 6th, 2013 09:26 PM

You're right, Mike, it could be associated with the specific bank. We use Bank of America and we've been in Asia and all over Europe for more than 3 months in the last few years, and and never once was offered the opportunity to withdraw from our savings, which we found strange since they partner with some of the larger banks in Europe, such as Deutsche Bank.


lulu48 November 8th, 2013 06:41 PM

The ATM card will go to the Primary account
I have a separate bank account for travel only it is a savings account

I can add funds from a linked account at another bank if I need to

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