Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Currency Exchange for Europe trip
Old 06-25-2009, 11:24 AM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 357
Currency Exchange for Europe trip

I heading to Norway, Denmark and France in a couple of days. I'm taking a Visa debit card and Mastercard credit card. Are these accepted most places in Europe and what sort of fees do they charge? Is there a better alternative than using plastic?
__________________

__________________
bank5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 06-25-2009, 11:52 AM   #2
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
freebird5825's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: East Nowhere, 43N Latitude, NY
Posts: 9,017
I have an overseas trip coming up in a few months also.
After reading the thread about "Was Your Credit Card Number Ever Stolen?", I've decided to go completely retro and use traveller's checks. I will do exchanges to euros on the fly as needed. I realize I will pay an exchange service fee.
It is really important to notify your credit card company of your trip ASAP.
My company told me there could be up to 3% service charge for all purchases in foreign currency. Ouch! YMMV
So I will limit my credit card use to hotel and use trav checks for pocket money, service tips and meals. Less chances of ID theft if I minimize the number of vendors.
Other more experienced travellers may chime in and tell me I'm on the wrong path. If so, all comments are welcome.

PS I've been to Denmark. Trying the smoked eel is a rite of passage and will make you major points with the locals. It was actually delicious once I got my mind off a violently wiggling eel I caught when fishing as a kid. Scared the bejeezus out of me when I reeled it in.
__________________

__________________
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney
freebird5825 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2009, 11:56 AM   #3
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 11,044
I will also be traveling to Europe in a few days. I usually take with me: 1) one or two credit cards (Mastercard and/or Amex) and 2) an ATM/debit card (VISA). The fees charged for currency exchanges depend on your bank in the US (1-3% seem standard), so give them a call before leaving (and also let them know that you will be using your cards abroad). I use the ATM card to get some cash out when I need it, but otherwise I pay for large purchases with plastic.
__________________
FIREd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2009, 11:59 AM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
DangerMouse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Silicon Valley
Posts: 1,812
Problem I see with traveller's checks is having to have your passport with you when you cash them. Personally I prefer to not have my passport out the room unless I have to, as if you lose that you open up a new bundle of problems. ATM's are the way to go, along with a credit card for large purchases.
__________________

I be a girl, he's a boy. Think I maybe FIRED since July 08. Mid 40s, no kidlets. Actually am totally clueless as to what is going on with DH.
DangerMouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2009, 12:07 PM   #5
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
freebird5825's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: East Nowhere, 43N Latitude, NY
Posts: 9,017
Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerMouse View Post
Problem I see with traveller's checks is having to have your passport with you when you cash them. Personally I prefer to not have my passport out the room unless I have to, as if you lose that you open up a new bundle of problems. ATM's are the way to go, along with a credit card for large purchases.
Excellent point for land based travelers.
However, I will be on a cruise ship and my banker will be the ship's Purser.
__________________
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney
freebird5825 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2009, 12:19 PM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,988
Quote:
Originally Posted by bank5 View Post
I heading to Norway, Denmark and France in a couple of days. I'm taking a Visa debit card and Mastercard credit card. Are these accepted most places in Europe and what sort of fees do they charge? Is there a better alternative than using plastic?

It's too late for this trip, but you can shop for a credit card that does not charge for international transactions.

I keep one in my wallet specifically for trips to Canada and elsewhere. Mine is a Capital One Visa. I wrote "International" on it in indelible marker just to remind myself what it's there for.

For my domestic purchases, I use my PenFed Visa, as it has a great rebate program on all purchases.

Interesting anecdote. I was on a trip to Canada earlier this week. I attempted to use my Capital One Visa at lunchtime at a couple of gas pumps at one station, but it kept being declined. I then used my PenFed Visa, figuring that I'd just bite the bullet and pay the transaction fee. When I got back to my U.S. home late that night, I had a voicemail message from Capital One stating that they had noticed some fraudulent use of my card and to call them ASAP.

When I called, I found out that someone had tried to charge $109 CDN of gas at the same station at approximately the same time I was trying to gas up my car. (Gas is approx. $4 CDN/gal, so this was more than 25 gallons of gas. My tank holds about 15 gallons). When Capital One confirmed that it was not me who was attempting to charge the $109 of gas, they asked me to cut up my card, they closed that account and are sending me a new card.

During my lifetime, I've had 3 or 4 experiences with fraud departments notifying me of attempted fraudulent usage of one of my cards. I'm always amazed at how quick they are to notice it.

As my card kept getting declined, I couldn't even get the pumps to turn "on". I wonder how someone was able to pump $109 of gas and then try to charge it to my card.

omni
__________________
omni550 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2009, 12:20 PM   #7
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 357
Quote:
Originally Posted by freebird5825 View Post

PS I've been to Denmark. Trying the smoked eel is a rite of passage and will make you major points with the locals. It was actually delicious once I got my mind off a violently wiggling eel I caught when fishing as a kid. Scared the bejeezus out of me when I reeled it in.
I don't think I'll be able to convince my wife to try it, but I might give it a shot. Any recommendations for a place that serves it in Copenhagen?
__________________
bank5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2009, 12:28 PM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
freebird5825's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: East Nowhere, 43N Latitude, NY
Posts: 9,017
Quote:
Originally Posted by bank5 View Post
I don't think I'll be able to convince my wife to try it, but I might give it a shot. Any recommendations for a place that serves it in Copenhagen?
Anywhere that serves food, especially lunch.
The locals may suggest it to bust your chops. Smile warmly and have a small order. It's actually very good if you like smoked fish. No kidding.

If Tivoli is on your list of things to do, go at dusk and stay until darkness. Wondrous sight!
__________________
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney
freebird5825 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2009, 05:23 PM   #9
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
travelover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,896
Quote:
Originally Posted by FIREdreamer View Post
I will also be traveling to Europe in a few days. I usually take with me: 1) one or two credit cards (Mastercard and/or Amex) and 2) an ATM/debit card (VISA). The fees charged for currency exchanges depend on your bank in the US (1-3% seem standard), so give them a call before leaving (and also let them know that you will be using your cards abroad). I use the ATM card to get some cash out when I need it, but otherwise I pay for large purchases with plastic.
I just called my CC bank to tell them that I will be in Ecuador for a couple of weeks, but may charge some things there. They said, OK, but remember that we charge a currency exchange fee of 3%. Excuse me? A charge to convert dollars into ..........dollars?
__________________
Yes, I have achieved work / life balance.
travelover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2009, 06:59 PM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: E. Wash
Posts: 1,060
Freebird another consideration if you decide to use traveler checks is that besides a fee for using the TC, is you will likely get a "retail" exchange rate on the currency conversion. The one ATM advantage is you get the interbank wholesale rate on conversion. We used a Fidelity ATM card and the service charge was only 1% and we got the wholesale currency conversion rate. The card works off your core account as a fund source. There is no charge for the card.
Good luck on your travels.
Nwsteve
__________________
nwsteve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2009, 08:04 PM   #11
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: TN Backwoods
Posts: 48
I second the ATM card recommendation. You should be able to find teller machines at every airport and train station and the exchange rate is about as good as you will find.
__________________
alvarezg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2009, 08:11 PM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
freebird5825's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: East Nowhere, 43N Latitude, NY
Posts: 9,017
Quote:
Originally Posted by alvarezg View Post
I second the ATM card recommendation. You should be able to find teller machines at every airport and train station and the exchange rate is about as good as you will find.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nwsteve View Post
Freebird another consideration if you decide to use traveler checks is that besides a fee for using the TC, is you will likely get a "retail" exchange rate on the currency conversion. The one ATM advantage is you get the interbank wholesale rate on conversion. We used a Fidelity ATM card and the service charge was only 1% and we got the wholesale currency conversion rate. The card works off your core account as a fund source. There is no charge for the card.
Good luck on your travels.
Nwsteve
Absolutely correct, if I were on land. I will be at sea on a multi-country voyage.
I already talked to the cruise line, and the Ship's Purser (bank) will honor the exchange rate du jour. I remember from my last cruise that the exchange rates were available throughout the day if you inquired in person. While I'm on shore, I will be in highly organized all day excursions and not able to wander off and find an ATM.
TY for the great info, though. I'll remember that for the next land based overseas adventure.
__________________

__________________
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney
freebird5825 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Best way to use/exchange dollars in Europe artist59 Travel Information 21 07-28-2009 02:45 PM
Opportunities in the foreign currency exchange rate. Hobo FIRE and Money 12 10-15-2008 07:42 AM
Europe Trip--Money? JPatrick Travel Information 13 04-28-2008 09:40 PM
Macroeconomists! Where does the difference "go" from currency to currency? ladelfina FIRE and Money 14 01-15-2008 10:30 AM
Moving to Europe and looking to avoid $$$ exchange rate fluctuations nun FIRE and Money 2 02-21-2007 10:11 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:42 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.