How to decide how much currency for each country?

stezbot @ 03-05-2008 00:51

it's got to the point now before the trip where we need to start looking at exchange rates. but because my boyfriend and I are travelling to a lot of different countries, we don't know how much of each currency to get. obviously there'll be more for euros and I suppose they could be changed, but this will cost I guess. We also have maestro cards which are easy enough to use but again charges I think and there'll be the temptation to spend more by using the card.

the countries we're going to are:

netherlands - amsterdam (eur🧐
norway (krone)
finland (eur🧐
germany - berlin (eur🧐
czech rep - prague (crown)
hungary - budapest (forint)
slovenia (eur🧐
italy - milan/venice (eur🧐
spain (eur🧐
then finally morocco for a break (dirham)

so 6/10 isn't that bad, but what do we do about the other 4 countries? is it best just to get all euros then change them in the countries? do they have post office free commission in most of europe like here (obviously euros would be changed to dirhams in spain)?

I have read about travel cards but you have to put a certain amount on each time, and the old school travellers cheques are a possibility again but the same problem occurs about how many cheques for each currency.

what have people done in the past with this problem? is it simple enough to use debit cards like maestro abroad to withdraw cash (i'm hsbc, boyfriend's natwest) and is it simple enough to exchange money to little lesser used currencies?

thanks 😲

admin @ 03-05-2008 09:40

Hi Steph,

For the non Euro countries I recommend that you estimate what your expenses can reasonably be for a day in each place, then multiply it by the number of days that you'll be in each place and buy your currency here.

When you go abroad the exchange rates you'll receive are significantly poorer than in your country of residence. You'll find banks, bureaus de change and little booths in shops and markets will all take very generous commissions from you, as they know that you need cash and cannot return home to get a decent rate.

If you change your pounds into Euros here and then change those into other currencies whilst abroad you'll be paying commission twice: 200% commission. That's throwing money away that you could be spending on eating, drinking, being merry, etc. Should you run low on local currency then you'll have to buy some more but your spending will be not insignificantly increased if you wait and buy it all abroad.

Don't really know about using cards except that I prefer not to make transactions that, as a tourist a long way from home, I can't feel secure about. Machine transactions, for cash withdrawl are available in many places and costs can be higher than here so it's better to withdraw several days expenditure each time. I used mostly travellers cheques, which were offered in pounds or dollars, on my first tour and, although these were accepted everywhere, ended up using a lot of time looking for, and waiting in, banks; spending alarmingly on commissions. So I don't recommend them.

I used a post office to change some pounds whilst on a trip in 05 and, though commission-free, the rate was very poor.

For buying more e😵tic currencies you'll find that high street places like Thomas Cook, which usually gives almost the best rate, will need several days notice but can supply your needs. I got Zlotys and Czech Crowns last year, from Cook's with 1 week's notice.

Hope this is helpful. It really does pay to get your currency sorted here before you go or you'll be a hostage to unscrupulous moneychangers who'll give you what they think they can, and usually do, get away with. Good luck with the planning.


iaink

stezbot @ 03-05-2008 12:44

thanks iain. so it's best to find a budget and get all the currencies here? but if necessary, buy the more 'e😵tic' currencies in their own country? makes sense. and travellers cheques are a no-no - i know it'd be difficult to find banks/bureaus in some places, especially the more remote areas like the arctic circle...but i might just mark the main ones down from my lonely planet guide, just in case.

cheers 🤣

Miro @ 03-05-2008 13:10

In most of the countries you're going to, there are atm's in every (big) town and i thought you don't have to pay commission if you are from another country within europe. The exchange rate is the international exchange rate for that valuta (is it clear? i don't know all the words in english). When i went to denmark, sweden and czech republic last year, i got my money just there from an atm and it worked quite well... (it's important to have the maestro sign on your card).

stezbot @ 03-05-2008 13:14

yes we're maestro, so miro you managed to take out money from ATM's in the currency for which country you were in? and it didn't charge you? I suppose if we did decide not to get all of the currencies back here in england for security purposes, then there's some peace of mind for the other non-euro countries. obviously we'd take out money in the big cities for example oslo...and we've been told by our banks to let them know before we leave that we're going travelling so they can check our account for any suspicious withdrawals.

thanks

Miro @ 03-05-2008 13:26

Well they didn't charge me as far as i know. In for example copenhagen, i took money from whatever atm i found and every time i could just take money out of it, some days it was a bit more in euros than other days because of the exchange rate, but that's the only thing.

admin @ 03-05-2008 16:10

Hi Steph,

No, get the e😵tic ones here too. And ask for it at least a week before you go. I always arrive with at least enough to get settled in and buy food for a day or two. All currencies bought abroad will cost you more than here. I found that I had to buy a bit more after a day or two and you can see the gleam in the moneychangers eyes as they give you whatever they want knowing that you hardly likely to protest, as you need cash right away. Do try Cook's, to see what rates they have, and Thompson's are pretty good too. All the best.


Iain


thanks iain. so it's best to find a budget and get all the currencies here? but if necessary, buy the more 'e😵tic' currencies in their own country? makes sense. and travellers cheques are a no-no - i know it'd be difficult to find banks/bureaus in some places, especially the more remote areas like the arctic circle...but i might just mark the main ones down from my lonely planet guide, just in case.

cheers :lol:

Miro @ 03-05-2008 23:57

Hi iaink,

Why do you go to moneychangers and not to an atm???

SiDUDe @ 05-05-2008 17:37

it depends on what you have and where you are. If you can get it, the nationwide debit card is brilliant. The current account is a bit rubbish, but I dont use it unless im abroad, so it sits nearly empty for most of the time. Then, I fill it up over the internet, and withdraw money from any ATM that accepts VISA. No commission, no bank charges. Cheaper than getting money here, cheaper than any other card. Win Win!


http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/cards/cheaper-spending-overseas


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