WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO EXCHANGE MONEY IN EUROPE?
How many people endlessly scour airfare comparison and hotel booking sites looking for the best deal, then waste all that effort by paying huge fees to exchange money abroad. Once you leave the country, how you pay for things can impact the cost of your trip. What is the best option? Keep watching and we will explore all your currency conversion options while traveling in Europe. But first, don't forget to like, subscribe and comment.
Avoid or minimize cash exchange. Fees can range from about 8% at banks to up to 15% at airport currency exchange booths. If you need to exchange cash, look for places that don't charge a commission. Hold onto your cash for emergencies. If you want cash before leaving the U.S., you may be able to order currency through your bank, or through a website. Rates in the U.S. are usually less favorable than abroad, though, so only get what you need for a day or two. Cash is best for: Emergencies. PRO: You'll almost always find someone who will exchange cash. CON: You will not get a great conversion rate.
DEBIT AND ATM CARDS
Use these at cash machines (ATM's) to withdraw local cash. Use bank ATM machines. Your rate will be as good as or better than a bank teller. Minimize ATM usage fees by withdrawing as much as you can each time you visit the ATM (and keep the extra cash in your money belt!). AVOID generic ATMs or foreign exchange machines, often found at airport arrival halls, which charge high fees and offer really bad exchange rates. Debit & ATM cards are best for: Getting cash in local currency. PRO: You get the great interbank exchange rate, and ATMs are widely available in cities throughout Europe. CON: Each withdrawal you make will be subject to various fees, so withdraw larger amounts less frequently than you would at home. Debit cards are usually not accepted for car rentals without additional cost and paperwork.
PRO TIP: AVOID DYNAMIC CURRENCY CONVERSION. If a merchant asks you if you would like to make your transaction in your home currency instead of local currency, say NO. ALWAYS get your transaction in the local currency or you will pay a huge fee.
Credit cards are best for large purchases such as airline or train tickets, hotel bills and car rentals. Generally, paying by credit card gives you a better rate than withdrawing or exchanging cash...as long as you clear your balance each month. The interest you pay on that balance will add to your trip costs. Read your credit card agreement carefully; a foreign currency conversion fee of about 1% is standard. If you can, consider applying for a credit card that doesn't charge foreign currency fees before you travel. However, avoid using your credit card to withdraw cash from ATMs. This is a cash advance, and you will be charged fees and interest immediately. PRO: By using a credit card for most expenses, you can carry less cash. You can also dispute erroneous transactions. And, many credit cards offer points or rewards. CON: Many, if not most credit cards have hidden surcharges for foreign exchange transactions. Look for cards that are travel-friendly. PRO TIP: The Chase Mileage Explorer Card (for United frequent fliers) and the Chase Sapphire card have no international transaction fees.
TRAVELER'S CHECKS AND MONEY CARDS
While mostly obsolete, traveler's checks provide more security than cash because they can be replaced if lost or stolen. These days, Visa and Travelex offer travel cards that are prepaid like traveler's checks, but work like debit cards for purchases and ATM withdrawals. CON: The exchange rate for traveler's checks is not as favorable as the interbank rate you get when using a credit or debit card, and very few merchants accept them for purchase these days. You'll incur commissions, shipping charges and/or conversion fees to purchase AND cash the checks. The prepaid cards have plenty of fees, too--activations fees, reloading fees, ATM charges, and even inactivity fees. In most cases you're better off using your own debit card.
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Long Note Four by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
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