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Which is the cheaper way to purchase some to start our trip?  Triple A, etc.


Thank you for your time and consideration.

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Usually we wait until we get to Europe and use the ATM's at the airport at our destination. You get a better rate, and you really don't need any before then. If you go to the Idyllchat archives, I'm sure you'll see the long discussion that went on a while back.

Don and Debby Wise
Don and Debby,

Thank you so much for the solid advice. It make sense.

Fred/Sue Bottini
I totally agree with the Wises.
That has been our practice also for over ten years now. When we come home from a trip we do make it a point to bring 50-60 Euro with us that we keep on hand for the next trip. This is just in case we land somewhere, have to purchase a bus ticket or something and the ATM isn't working or not readily available. In actuality, that has not happened but we just feel more comfortable having some with us when we land.

If you haven't checked out the many discussions on this subject yet, one of the most critical issues is to be sure your bank know where you will be using your ATM card and the time interval. There are a lot of uncomfortable stories from people who didn't do this and suddenly had their card disabled by the anti-fraud programs at their bank.


Excellent advice.  Not only ATM cards, but credit cards too.

I put a pre-trip advertisement in our community's weekly newsletter requesting to purchase anyone's leftover euros from previous trips (most people end up bringing some home). I was able to purchase over 200 euros at the Wallstreet Journal's current bank rate, which is better than is available to a consumer, and of course with no added fees. You not only benefit but it helps folks get rid of stuff in their bureau drawer.

Once in Europe, I exclusively use ATMs but I like to arrive with some in my pocket. I hate to hassle with an airport ATM upon arrival, when I am tired.
When the Euro declined in June, I bought a pre-loaded Cash Passport (Mastercard) from Travelex. I live near Denver and they had a kiosk at a large shopping mall, but you can also buy online. In this way I locked in a rate of $1.24 and I knew exactly how much I was spending before I left in September. The ATM charge was 1.75 Euro per transaction and worked at all four ATMs I used with no problem. There were no other fees; if I had used my debit card there would've been 1% foreign transaction fee. I can either keep the card for future use or they will buy back the Euros remaining on my card. (yes, I actually came home with money!)
ATM fees vary quite a lot. I use a brokerage ATM card from Charles Schwab. They charge no fee and refund any fees charged by the ATM provider. Thus, this is a very cheap way to obtain euros while in Europe.

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.



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