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Currency Exchange - Euros

Perth
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19 posts
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Currency Exchange - Euros

Hey Everyone

This is a question from a Perth local for a change! :)

I am about to head to Italy for three weeks and need to convert my Aussie $ to Euro €. I will need to carry a couple of grand in cash due to my plans.

Where would I get the best conversion rate? The currency echange rates in Perth are pretty lousy. I will be in Dubai for a night on the way in and was wondering if it may be more advantageous to convert my money there? Or would Rome be a better bet?

Looking to hear some advice from those who may have made some smart choices with this.

Cheers!

gk
Brisbane, Australia
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2,280 posts
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1. Re: Currency Exchange - Euros

I have always found the destination countries to have the best rates. I would wait until you're in Rome and then change it.

Check with your bank whether they change a fixed or % for overseas ATM use as well. You might just like to withdraw the money in Australia and carry it safely with you to avoid the charge.

Melboune
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2. Re: Currency Exchange - Euros

Generally, if you change your money at an intermediate location, you will have 2 transactions (even it it seems "seamless" to the customer). For example, if you change your AUD to Euros in Singapore, the first transaction is from AUD into Singapore dollors, then the 2nd is Sing dollars to Euros. I assume (but can't say for sure) that the same could well apply in Dubai. By having 2 transactions, you are paying 2 margins, and there's a pretty good chance that it will be more expensive than a single transaction in either Australia or Europe.

BTW, are you really sure the rates in Perth are so bad? Sure, the fees (which tend to be flat $6 - 10) in Australia are high by world standards, but it might be worth checking whether the actual underlying conversion rates offered by the major banks are really out of line (bearing in mind that whereever you are in the world, you won't get as good a rate for currency notes as for large interbank transactions).

-- G

Perth, Australia
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2,005 posts
29 reviews
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3. Re: Currency Exchange - Euros

Carrying a "few grand in cash" is a dodgy thing to do. My experience is 1) travellers cheques 2) carry about $200 in cash to get you through the first few days or any emergencies 3) clear your credit card if you can or get a new specifically for your trip with a maximum of say $5000. That way if you get your wallet stollen, lugage lost etc you won't loose all your cash as Travellers cheques are secure and having a small limit on your card prevents fraud.

cheers

HP

Adelaide, Australia
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495 posts
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4. Re: Currency Exchange - Euros

I notice the ANZ have a Travel Card,(and I'm sure other banks have as well) which you can buy in several currencies, the euro is one, and use like a Visa card, except that it is purchased and not a credit card.

anz.com/aus/…default.asp

We recently returned from Europe, including Rome, and after the mishaps to several ofour coach tour, including my husband's pocket being picked near the Colosseum, there is no way I would carry much cash at a time or even lock it in the hotel safe.

We used a credit card front loaded with our own money and no foreign exchange fee from the bank. As far as I can work out the rate of exchange was very good.

Broadbeach...
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159 posts
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5. Re: Currency Exchange - Euros

Exchange rates for cash are always heavily discounted on the published wholesale rates and it is not a good idea to fund your travel costs before leaving home with a pocket full of euros. The commission costs add to this misery and it is not adviseable to be carrying an excessive amount of cash when travelling.

What I do is to purchase sufficient foreign currency before leaving home to cover my first days expenses in the country I am visiting and then use ATMs on a regular basis to replenish my cash stocks. By using ATMs, particularly by using Visa or Mastercard, the exchange rate used is very close to the wholesale rate, and much better than the rate used to purchase cash over the counter. You do still pay commisions on these transactions and you should check with your Bank as to the precise amount, but it will work out much less expensive than purchasing cash from a foreign currency trader, and with less risk.

Melbourne
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6. Re: Currency Exchange - Euros

I travel with a small amount of local currency and two credit cards, one in credit with my spending money so that I can make a transaction fee free "cash advance" - becuase it's in credit I am not penalised. I also have a "emergency only" credit card just in case which I carry totally separately in case of theft. This is the safest way to travel and with no fees.

Greater Sydney...
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7. Re: Currency Exchange - Euros

Now that last point is a good one - keep a reserve card separate from your other(s).

My wallet went "missing" when in Canada recently, and all my cards were in it. Luckily most of our costs were pre-paid, and we used my wife's cards for incidentals and drawing cash.

No way I would carry large amounts of cash, not that we did, after that experience.

Perth, Australia
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8. Re: Currency Exchange - Euros

Whilst I agree with everyone's posts - that must be a first :-) - re not taking cash I am aware that when travelling in Italy - small country towns etc - does see a severe shortage of such facilities as EFTPOS and ATMs. A friend of mine recently travelled there for 8 weeks and quickly realised that unfortunately she needed to carry quite a bit of cash with her. Other friends leave in 3 weeks to do a similar (unescorted) tour and have taken her advice on board.

As to conversion rates - if you want to take the money with you from here - to avoid the double exchange that will occur in Dubai - been there, done that :-) - just ring around a bank or two and F/E locations such as Travelex or similar on the day you intend to purchase and then just do it.

Perth
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19 posts
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9. Re: Currency Exchange - Euros

Having returned from three awesome weeks in Italy, I have to report that the 'minimum cash in hand' travel philosophy worked successfully.

We landed there with €200 in cash. All the ATM's in big cities paid out cash no worries. Some didn't but we just went to another flavour which worked. In smaller towns (we went to plenty with only one ATM!) the machines worked just fine as long as you withdrew €100 lots. It was a little frustrating until we worked this out, but after realising that we could just keep taking €100 lots within seconds no worries.

The cash exchange rates were just ridiculous and our Wizard Clear Advantage Mastercard worked a treat. The card was never refused anywhere that had a CC facility.

Would recommend this approach to anyone and we are definitely keeping the card for future travel use.

One other thing to keep in mind, BPay takes three days to clear so keep your card well stacked in credit to make sure you don't run into to debit if you want to avoid interest charges.

10. Re: Currency Exchange - Euros

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