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Old 01-06-2013, 09:04 PM   #1
ruadisneyfan2
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Getting Euros for Med cruise?

Did you do this or wish you did? AAA offers buying Euros and they'll ship them to us. Free shipping and we need to sign for them of course.

When I google converting US$ to Euros, google offers a calculator. very easy.

If we cashed in US$1000, google rate would say 757E. AAA would give us 730E. Of course google doesn't actually exchange money for us so maybe it's not a realistic goal. The best comparison would be what local banks offer or our hotel, the ship, etc.

How are the rates on the ATM machines throughout Europe? I don't want to get totally ripped off but then again, I don't want to spend a lot of time & taxi ride just to try to save $20.

What did you do?
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:23 PM   #2
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ATMs offered the best exchange rate. We withdrew 500 euros at the Barcelona airport, and then again in Naples, at Pompeii (to pay the tour guide) and again in Rome, I think. We didn't buy much to bring home because 1) there was little that we couldn't find in the US and 2) we didn't want trinkets or other things to weigh us down because we weren't going directly home after the cruise. For most purchases, we used a Capital One credit card, because they don't charge a 3% transaction fee for international purchases. This may not seem like a lot, but it can add up if you are buying plane or train tickets within Europe.

I would recommend thinking a few days ahead, and planning for that when you see an ATM. Have fun!
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:46 PM   #3
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You will never get the google exchange rate from anyone, including ATMs. AAA is not bad. A lot of people say ATMs in Europe offer the best exchange, and that is probably true. I have always had trouble using the ATMs abroad. Also, they can be a spot for con artists who will pretend to help you, then steal your card.

I have had great luck with Wells Fargo. You can order euros online and have them sent to you. Compare their rates with AAA. Free shipping for orders of $1000 USD. Some credit cards consider it a cash advance, and some do not. I like landing in Europe with some Euros.

While I don't like getting ripped off by exchange fees, that expense pales to being pickpocketed. Pickpockets are rampant in Europe, especially Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, Paris. Any large metropolitan area, really. I suggest an ankle wallet for your credit card and most of your cash, and keep a very tiny amount of cash in a decoy wallet in your pocket.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:56 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Four Swampers View Post
You will never get the google exchange rate from anyone, including ATMs. AAA is not bad. A lot of people say ATMs in Europe offer the best exchange, and that is probably true. I have always had trouble using the ATMs abroad. Also, they can be a spot for con artists who will pretend to help you, then steal your card.

I have had great luck with Wells Fargo. You can order euros online and have them sent to you. Compare their rates with AAA. Free shipping for orders of $1000 USD. Some credit cards consider it a cash advance, and some do not. I like landing in Europe with some Euros.

While I don't like getting ripped off by exchange fees, that expense pales to being pickpocketed. Pickpockets are rampant in Europe, especially Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, Paris. Any large metropolitan area, really. I suggest an ankle wallet for your credit card and most of your cash, and keep a very tiny amount of cash in a decoy wallet in your pocket.
Good point. I was in Italy in 1990 & then fanny packs were just coming around. We didn't have an issues but then again, they probably don't target broke students.

What kind of issues did you have with ATMs? Did you use a credit card or your regular debit card from home bank?
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:00 AM   #5
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I was going to suggest an ATM too. I have used them in many european and asian locations with no problem. We usually get our first cash withdrawal from the airport.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:11 AM   #6
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I was able to exchange money onboard (while at sea) . If you save your receipt, DCL will exchange euro back to US$.

I got exchanged $100 at AAA before I left just to have some. I would exchange money on board as needed. Some of the people that I was traveling with did have issues with their credit cards and had to pay cash..

At the end of the cruise, I exchange most of the money back into US$. I kept just enought for the airport.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:38 AM   #7
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Check with your bank to see what the fee is for exchanges. Also notify them you will be using the card in foreign countries so the don't turn it off. Notify credit card companies if you will be using those cards out of the country also.

It is not fun trying to contact a credit card company after they stopped your card while in Europe. We luckily got back to the US by the time they stopped the card, so the 800 number on the back of the card worked. US 800 numbers do not work in Europe.

I have found the best exchange rates on atm, then credit cards followed by money exchange services. When atm came out it was a blessing to business and leisure travelers.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:54 AM   #8
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Check with your bank to see what the fee is for exchanges. Also notify them you will be using the card in foreign countries so the don't turn it off. Notify credit card companies if you will be using those cards out of the country also.

It is not fun trying to contact a credit card company after they stopped your card while in Europe. We luckily got back to the US by the time they stopped the card, so the 800 number on the back of the card worked. US 800 numbers do not work in Europe.

I have found the best exchange rates on atm, then credit cards followed by money exchange services. When atm came out it was a blessing to business and leisure travelers.
Two very good points! Make sure your CC company knows you are traveling outside the US. If you think you will be spending a lot of money on your CC then you may want to shop for a card with fewer international fees. When we went to France & Germany in August we used a specific card that had a good exchange rate. Sorry, I don't remember which one it was. It saved us a lot of money.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:32 AM   #9
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I was going to suggest an ATM too. I have used them in many european and asian locations with no problem. We usually get our first cash withdrawal from the airport.
I agree that the best exchange rates are from ATMs. We have used them all over Europe and have never had a problem. Using an ATM in Europe in not any more dangerous than using one in any metro area of the US. Just use basic common sense and... use official bank ATMs, not those sketchy machines in the back of small stores. Be aware of your surroundings, make sure no one is invading your space. Use another member of your traveling party to be your eyes while making your transaction. We try to use machines inside of banks when we can.

I do believe it's a good idea to arrive with some of the local currency. Ordering from your bank, AAA or Wells Fargo is great for doing that. My DH travels to Europe and Asia often for work so we always seem to have some foreign currency on hand.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:32 AM   #10
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Thank you for the great suggestions.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:05 AM   #11
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I know when we arrived at the airport in Barcelona, we went to an ATM there in the airport. I was able to obtain Euro's without any issue. My daughter-in-law had an issue with her bank card because it did not have the raised numbers and would not accept the card. They ended up using my son's card to obtain Euros. We did not get a lot as we were in Barcelona for 1-1/2 days and then on to the ship for the WBTA. That was in 2010 so not sure if that's still an issue.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:08 AM   #12
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Agree about your bank. My bank did it for free, and compared to other places I checked out I got a good rate.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:18 AM   #13
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I just checked with my DH. The card we used was a Hyatt Visa. It had a $75 annual fee but we got 2 free Hyatt nights that we could use anywhere. We used them at the Park Hyatt Vend˘me in Paris on an executive suite which had a rate of more than $1500 USD per night . I think we got our money's worth.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:17 AM   #14
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I just checked with my DH. The card we used was a Hyatt Visa. It had a $75 annual fee but we got 2 free Hyatt nights that we could use anywhere. We used them at the Park Hyatt Vend˘me in Paris on an executive suite which had a rate of more than $1500 USD per night . I think we got our money's worth.
My husband received a mailing from Hyatt, and I am going to suggest that he get their Visa card for the same reasons. There's a Park Hyatt in Sydney that I have my eye on!

I mentioned in another thread that I ordered $1,000 worth of euros from Wells Fargo and charged it to my Citibank Visa. That was a mistake, as Citibank processed it as a cash advance. I was charged interest immediately, as well as a 5% transaction fee. I realized it was treated as a cash advance right away when I checked my account online, so I paid the bill immediately. If I were to order foreign currency from them again - I would use a debit card to pay for it.

I have had no problems using an ATM card in Europe. Just remember your 4-digit pin, as well as your local bank's daily withdrawal limit. Mine is $500/day - but some ATM machines limit withdrawals to smaller amounts.

I would exchange money on the ship only as a last resort. If you do so, spend it rather than change it back to US dollars - especially if the ship charges a fee for each transaction.

I use www.xe.com to check exchange rates.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:21 AM   #15
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My husband received a mailing from Hyatt, and I am going to suggest that he get their Visa card for the same reasons. There's a Park Hyatt in Sydney that I have my eye on!
Australia is on my "short list" .

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I would exchange money on the ship only as a last resort. If you do so, spend it rather than change it back to US dollars - especially if the ship charges a fee for each transaction.
If worse comes to worse, she can exchange at the airport. Make sure to spend ALL your coins as most places only exchange bills.
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