Which is the cheaper way to purchase some to start our trip? Triple A, etc.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Excellent advice. Not only ATM cards, but credit cards too.
I have been using airport ATM's for the last 16 years. I only had one problem in 2000 in Italy when the communication between Europe and North America went down (very weird occurrence). We had enough $US to convert to Lira to get a cab to the hotel. I was able to use the ATM the next morning.
This has worked all over Europe (Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, UK, Ireland, Iceland, Czech Rep.) and in Namibia in Africa.
I got some euros from Am Ex before we left on our last trip, but they charged an arm and a leg. ATM on arrivel or buying leftover euros from friends is way to go.
We, also, usually wait until we get to our destination airport and just use the ATM. We also travel with about $100 US. As long as you are arriving at a normal time, just having some US$ to convert to Euro on the off chance the ATM is down is usually enough. The exchange places are usually open.
When we arrived in Namibia 2 years ago, there was no ATM. We had the cab driver who was taking us to the hotel stop at an ATM on the way. We actually had to stop twice because not all the ATM's worked with American debit cards. We had a small panic moment when it didn't work, but everything turned out OK. We just needed to make a list of the banks that were on the American compatible network.
We rent apartments and therefore we often have to have the price of the apartment in cash when we arrive somewhere. If I do not have enough "leftover" money from my last trip then I merely buy a bunch from the local bank. There is a one time fee for a unit of money --seems like it was $5 or $10. We disperse the money between us in a money belt and legs bags. The only time we rely upon the airport ATM is when we can not buy the money like China RMBs. We have seen many people standing in the front of the airport ATM machines when the ATMs were out of money, the machine malfunctioned, or they didn't have the correct pin. One rule of thumb- never use an ATM unless the corresponding bank is open. What are you going to do if the ATM eats your card? Just my opinion.