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Exchanging money

New York
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86 posts
4 reviews
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Exchanging money

Hello, I am set to arrive in Madrid very early on a Tuesday morning and since it will be my first trip to Europe, I am not sure if I should change my US dollars to Euro at the airport upon arrival, or wait till I am checked into my hotel? I am staying at the Room Mate Alicia in Plaza Santa Ana, so not sure if there an exchange place in that area?

Also, I am planning on reserving my transfer from the airport to my hotel, and paying by credit card in advance. If I don't have any Euro - can I tip the driver with US currency? What would be "standard" tip amount?

I apologize if this is a dumb question - but I want to make sure I am clear before I arrive.

Thanks in advance!

berkshire, england
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526 posts
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1. Re: Exchanging money

It would be better to change some money before you travel, surely?

You will know the "better" places for money exchange at home and won't be stuck for any expenses when you get there. During the first few days you can keep an eye out for good places to change money, or just use an ATM (check your own bank's rates & fees first though - some can be excessive).

You can, of course, change money at the airport. It is likely to be more expensive than on the high street.

No, it wouldn't be appropriate to tip a driver in dollars. What would you expect him to be able to do with it? The type of money given as a tip is hardly worth a trip to the bank to exchange, and may not even be possible if it is below a certain amount.

New York
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2. Re: Exchanging money

That makes perfect sense... thanks!

Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: Exchanging money

Forget about changing your US Dollars for Euros and use your ATM card. You do have one don't you?

There are ATM machines at the airport. And no, as already pointed out, you do not tip the taxi driver with US Dollars. They are worthless to him.

Regarding tipping. You would only tip the driver 1 to 2 euros a bag if you have a lot of luggage that the drive has to handle. Nothing more. There is no additional charge for luggage in Madrid taxis, and tipping is not done like it is in the States.

Have you read Maribel's Guide to Madrid? You can download it for free: mariblesguides.com

berkshire, england
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4. Re: Exchanging money

In many Spanish cities they actually add on a small fee (about a euro) for a suitcase in the trunk, so I wouldn't use luggage as a reason for tipping.

The European way is probably to tip *good* service rather than to tip *all* service. If he goes out of his way to be pleasant, helpful etc. I tend to round up to the nearest note, ie E13.50 becomes E15. If he's a surly sod with no manners who spends the journey practically causing accidents and yelling at other motorists, he won't get anything.

PS - Do check your bank fees for overseas withdrawals, it is the easiest way of doing it, but some can charge excessive withdrawal fees etc. You would need to know this if you decided to withdraw small amounts on a daily basis.

Australia
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5. Re: Exchanging money

Please check your banks ATM withdrawal fee and what is called a currency converting fee. Have you thought of a Travelex Cash Passport only 2.20 euro fee at ATM plus around 1% to deposit (done at home prior to leaving). Bank converting fee is around 2.5% plus!

Calgary, Canada
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6. Re: Exchanging money

Just a note regarding paying the transfer by credit card...check the details on the transfer company you're using, as we've booked with Aerocity for ours, and they only use the card as a hold, and you're to pay cash to the driver.

Seattle, Washington
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7. Re: Exchanging money

"In many Spanish cities they actually add on a small fee (about a euro) for a suitcase in the trunk, so I wouldn't use luggage as a reason for tipping."

Sorry, but in Madrid there is no additional charge for handling your luggage (by city law). Barcelona does have a luggage handling fee if the driver places your luggage in the trunk of the taxi.

I have never encountered a "hidden or added" fee for handling your luggage in any Spanish city. All costs/fees are clearly posted for you to see.

8. Re: Exchanging money

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