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This will be my first trip overseas and I cannot decide what to do about the currency/check issue. Those that have traveled lots, can you suggest what works and what doesn't for European trips.

Here are some of the options I am considering.
1. Take American Cash and convert some to Euros and Krona's at the airport in Copenhagen.
2. Buy Travelers checks in Euro's before I leave the US, locally or online and have them shipped to my house before I leave.
3. Buy everything with my American Mastercard or Visa and let the companies mess with converting it to the proper currency.

I am confused as to what works best and is less of a rip-off. All mention fees around 3% of the conversion.
Thanks,
MichaelD.
 

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Re: Suggestions for currency/cashier checks during OSD trip please. (Boxsterjoy)

Quote, originally posted by Boxsterjoy »
This will be my first trip overseas and I cannot decide what to do about the currency/check issue. Those that have traveled lots, can you suggest what works and what doesn't for European trips.

Here are some of the options I am considering.
1. Take American Cash and convert some to Euros and Krona's at the airport in Copenhagen.
2. Buy Travelers checks in Euro's before I leave the US, locally or online and have them shipped to my house before I leave.
3. Buy everything with my American Mastercard or Visa and let the companies mess with converting it to the proper currency.

I am confused as to what works best and is less of a rip-off. All mention fees around 3% of the conversion.
Thanks,
MichaelD.

Exchange commissions vary by the country. In Sweden, FOREX is usually a pretty good place to exchange money. DO NOT exchange money in Hotels. They will take you for a ride.

The best thing to do is check the exchange ratio netween local currency/ies and the dollar right in your bank. If that is not favorable, using a credit card is the next best thing. But it is always good to carry some (local) cash with you as Europeans are not as credit card dependent as we are.

Whenever I travel (not in Greece, where I have my own bank account and debit card) in Europe, I usually employ options #2 and #3 (from your post).

Yannis
 

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Re: Suggestions for currency/cashier checks during OSD trip please. (Boxsterjoy)

Was about one year ago....when we headed to Goteborg to get our V50..ah..the memories.....

Don't forget option #4...ATM's worked for me in Norway; we just got a couple hundred dollars of Swedish and Norwegian Kroner prior to our trip and ATM's and credit cards covered everything else...gas, shopping restaurants etc. Only used local currency for incidentals..an ice cream here, soda there etc.

Rick
 

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Re: Suggestions for currency/cashier checks during OSD trip please. (Boxsterjoy)

I would take 300.00 in AMEX travelers checks and work off the Visa and Mastercard. You can get currency to carry around at any train station, bus station or airport using the credit cards. Use the travelers checks when the currency windows are hard to find.

The Visa and Mastercard will give you the currency rate for the day. The cards are easy to replace if stolen.
 

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Re: Suggestions for currency/cashier checks during OSD trip please. (KillerB)

Also keep the travelers checks in the hotel in case your wallet is lifted
 

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Re: Suggestions for currency/cashier checks during OSD trip please. (Boxsterjoy)

On my first trip to Europe alomst 10 years ago, I brought travellers checks, and had no problems using them. Then in 2003, I brought $500 in checks with me. I was shocked when, in store after store, and hotel after hotel, no one would take them in at least six different countries. I finally had to go to a money changer in Antwerp, and sign them over for cash. Lost a lot of money doing that!

I have been back over six times since that, in fifteen different countries. The best method for getting money is as simple as having a check card (ATM card with a Visa or MC logo). I just walk up to an ATM, and pull out money as I need it. The exchange rate is always current, and the commission that my bank or the ATM's bank charges is always lower than a money exchanger. In fact, for a few of my trips, I had nothing but USD in my pocket when I arrived!
 

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Re: Suggestions for currency/cashier checks during OSD trip please. (Boxsterjoy)

we went to sweden only and took about 500$ worth of kroner obtained through our bank at a reasonable fee. we needed it immediately as the cab ordered through the corporate travel agent (volvo subcontractor) hit us up for cash and even tried to gyp us asking for dollars. he said as he pulled up to the royal viking hotel "how are you going to settle this?"

it took us by surprise, and after about 15 hours of planes and airports i told him of the deal volvo had made for us. he called his supervisor who said he did not know what we were talking about. http://********************/smile/emthdown.gif

pissed i paid him. when i told the registration woman at the hotel she called her supervisor who said this has become a problem. she asked if i got a receipt, which i did. i gave it to her, and without looking up she opened the cash drawer and reimbused me on the spot. http://********************/smile/emthup.gif

she then called the cab company and gave them the heated warning i could only imagine, i do not speak much swedish.

the cab company is "taxi 020" http://********************/smile/emthdown.gif http://********************/smile/emthdown.gif

the radisson royal viking the upped us to a beautiful busisness class room with a view of the skyline. very nice http://********************/smile/emthup.gif

lesson learned a long time ago about travel; be prepared, so yes take cash.

otherwise we used plastic with ease, and our atm card worked flawlessly at the "bankomat". que from the right outside of the box painted on the floor, and you will be well respected.

currently all my credit card charge 3% but they also had the big boy exchange rate so i thought it was fair.

DO NOT use the hotels for currency exchange as they have rediculous carges.

in sweden checks have checked out and are rare birds only workable at banks. do not use them.

plastic, and cash obtained from atms worked exactly as they do here. http://********************/smile/emthup.gif this is the way to go i think.

ps; and example of the exchage sit in sweden. inter bank rate (card cos) was 7.75 sek to the us d. at the hotel it was 7.05 buy and 7.15 cost to us. so we went to the bankomat got 2000 sek with an operational exchange rate seen on our statement two nights ago of 7.58 sek to us d. i'd say that was worth it. the dollar is down all over the wold now. i saw the sek/$ today is 7.14 and i could bet that with the fee i would be dealing with 6.7 sek to $.

sweden uses euros mainly in big or port cities and the exchange rate varies.

take local currency, if mainland europe euros, uk pounds, etc, use atms and plastic. pay attention to your vacation and do not worry about these little things that are out of your control.


best of all have a great trip

travelers checks i do not know about, but they usually work, i saw a few older folks using them.

i do not know if you could buy euro denominated t checks here though.

edit; in sweden the atm card was to be put in upside down as compared to what i was use to.
but i could get instructions in english if i wanted it http://********************/smile/emthup.gif
 

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Re: Suggestions for currency/cashier checks during OSD trip please. (Boxsterjoy)

Boxsterjoy.....

You won't need any foriegn currency until you get to Gothenburg! Don't exchange at the airport in Copenhagen....all the airport shops and eating establishments take US credit cards.
When you get to the Radisson in Gothenburg...you will see a huge building accross the way....there will probably be a rather large # of bicycles parked there! That is the Central Train Station. After you walk in the main entrance, you will see a convenience store on the left...just past that turn left and go down that main center aisle. You will see a Forex currency excahnge on the left....take a # and wait for a teller. They will exchange Travellers Cheques for you. Iwould not recommend buying the TC's in Euros....you will not get a very favorable exchange rate from a US bank AND besides Sweden still has their own currnecy..the Krona.
 

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Re: Suggestions for currency/cashier checks during OSD trip please. (hastee)

I would recommend using credit cards - VISA is the most used, and relying on ATMs for local currency. There are ATMs in the Gothenburg airport also. We used travelers checks in the past but do not bother because credit cards are so widely used for anything that would be expensive - restaurants, gas, merchandise. We also carried a bit of US cash because its useful if you ever get in a pinch.
So we had no problems at all with our trip in September to Sweden, Denmark, and Germany.
 

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Re: Suggestions for currency/cashier checks during OSD trip please. (universityvolvoOSD)

Quote, originally posted by universityvolvoOSD »
you will not get a very favorable exchange rate from a US bank AND besides Sweden still has their own currnecy..the Krona.

Actually, if you are a AAA member, you can get great exchange rates on Travelers Cheques. I just returned from the local AAA office and they were issuing (for members) Travers Cheques in Europe at $1.18 per 1 Euro. Not bad at all!

Yannis
 

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Re: Suggestions for currency/cashier checks during OSD trip please. (Boxsterjoy)

I'll second what everyone has been saying: forget the TCs and use your ATM and credit cards.
The first time I went to Europe, I took some TCs with me. What a nightmare! I ended up returning with all of them intact. Since then, I've been back to Europe many times. I just take a reasonable amount of US dollars in cash and I charge the rest to my credit cards. If I need extra cash, I use my ATM or credit card to get some cash.
Don't ever try to exchange money at any hotel unless you are in a real bind. They will do it but they'll take you to the cleaners in the process.
One other recommendation: make photocopies of all your documents (passport and credit card numbers) and keep them in your hotel (preferably, in a safe). In case any of them is lost, you will have the numbers handy.
Enjoy your trip! http://********************/smile/emthup.gif
 

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Re: Suggestions for currency/cashier checks during OSD trip please. (ig_mb)

Actually, if you are a AAA member, you can get great exchange rates on Travelers Cheques. I just returned from the local AAA office and they were issuing (for members) Travers Cheques in Europe at $1.18 per 1 Euro. Not bad at all!



Yannis....you continue to provide useful info http://********************/smile/emthup.gif even as a "lame duckie"
$1.18 is a great exchange rate! Thanks for sharing
 

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Re: Suggestions for currency/cashier checks during OSD trip please. (Boxsterjoy)

We used credit cards for purchases almost exclusively. We used the ATM card for withdrawing funds in local currency for incidentals in those rare situations where credit cards were not accepted (most cabs in Barcelona didn't accept cards; Swedish cabs mostly accepted credit cards).

If you can, use a credit card that doesn't add its own surcharge over and beyond the surcharge that Visa/MC charge. In our case, we used the credit card issued by our credit union and their only surcharge for transactions in foreign currency is the 1% surcharge charged by Visa/MC.

Also, call your bank beforehand to tell them that you plan to use your ATM card overseas. Sometimes, a few banks don't allow withdrawls in other countries unless you tell them to. In our case, Bank of America did not let us withdraw funds in local currency using the ATM card even though local ATMs did not have an issue with it. So we had to use our ATM card from another account which did not have this issue even though it is a smaller bank.
 
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