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Recommend an office to exchange dollars for euros?

Towson, Maryland
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Recommend an office to exchange dollars for euros?

Leaving for Italy this Sat, 10/13 and want to buy Euros at Dulles airport. Can anyone recommend a good and safe service at the airport?

DC
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1. Re: Recommend an office to exchange dollars for euros?

My recommendation is that you use an ATM when you arrive, but that's just because I don't like being screwed on the exchange rate.

Arlington, Virginia
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for Arlington
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2. Re: Recommend an office to exchange dollars for euros?

I always get my foreign currency at the airport in the foreign country when I arrive, usually by taking cash out of the ATM at the airport (overall the transaction fees end up lower). The rates you get for foreign currencies here in the U.S. are not favorable. But if you must exchange at Dulles, I think all of the kiosks are part of the same company. I've never heard any suggestion that they aren't "safe" -- their normal rates make them plenty of money as it is, so there's no reason to rip people off more than that.

Washington DC...
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3. Re: Recommend an office to exchange dollars for euros?

From what I have heard, the airport is the most expensive place to buy foreign currency. Don't know where you work, but in downtown DC there are several currency exchange offices. Also many American Express offices have currency exchanges. And you often get better rates using your ATM card at an Italian bank. Just be sure you tell your bank that you will be traveling and using your ATM card at a foreign location. Of course, for a few euros to get you started, the most convenient place may be the airport. Usually there is just one company running those, though there may be multiple locations. In other words, I doubt you have a choice of companies at Dulles Airport.

Fairfax, Virginia
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4. Re: Recommend an office to exchange dollars for euros?

You absolutely do not want to change cash at Dulles.

Your options, from the best to the worst, are:

1. Using a credit card that does not charge foreign exchange fee, like Capital One.

2. Using any other CC. Incidentally, do not forget to inform your bank in advance that you will ge using your card abroad.

3. Drawing money from any ATM in Italy.

4. Changing cash in Italy.

5. Changing cash at IAD

U.S. expats
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for Windsor, London, Dry Tortugas National Park
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5. Re: Recommend an office to exchange dollars for euros?

Actually you didn't list the very worst option--taking Traveller's cheques.

Washington, DC
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6. Re: Recommend an office to exchange dollars for euros?

In 2011, I got Euros from my bank, and there was no charge or fees, and the exchange rate was very close to XE.com's. But I always read lists like mdinai's that never list the bank exchange option, and I always wonder, am I actually getting screwed by exchanging money at my bank? Is XE.com not a good place to find the best rate of exchange? Any one know of a better place to check the best exchange rate?

Washington DC...
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7. Re: Recommend an office to exchange dollars for euros?

We use ATMs but do bring some local currency. Always use Travelex downtown. Reliable, convenient.

Fairfax, Virginia
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489 posts
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8. Re: Recommend an office to exchange dollars for euros?

If your bank offers this option it is ok the rate is probably the same as when using ATM. If they charge no fees it is even better. The problem is, not many banks do that, and if they do, you usually have to order currency in advance. And then you have to carry all that cash on you, which for a family of four and a week travel can run as high as a couple of thousands.

Fairfax, Virginia
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9. Re: Recommend an office to exchange dollars for euros?

Why do you bring local currency with you if you use ATM? To be able to walk across the arrival hall feeling that your wallet is stuffed? I go abroad several times a year, to all sort of countries, and I never ever was in a situation where I could not get money from ATM immediately upon arrival.

Washington, DC
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10. Re: Recommend an office to exchange dollars for euros?

Speaking for myself, I get cash from my bank for back-up, just in case. Even though ATM machines don't eat debit cards anymore, back in the 90s when I was in high school studying abroad, it happened three times. So ever since then, I've brought money with me.

And it was worth it in 2011, when my bank wouldn't let me withdraw as much money as they had said I would be allowed to from the Athens airport ATM. I had to call, and there were so many contradictions coming from the rep. Luckily, I had the back-up cash I had exchanged back in the States so I could pay for my rental apartment and deal with the ATM issue later.