Please sign in to post.

Should I still follow RS advice despite the latest with Brexit?

In researching money exchanging tips for our Ireland vacation in September, I found this tip on RS website:

"Don’t buy foreign currency in advance. Some tourists just have to have euros or pounds in their pockets when they step off the airplane, but smart travelers don’t bother and know better than to get lousy stateside exchange rates. Wait until you arrive at your destination; I’ve never been to an airport in Europe that didn’t have plenty of ATMs."

So, my questions are:

  1. Does the great drop in the value of the pound versus the dollar due to Brexit warrant me trading in my dollars now instead of getting money there at the ATM's, even with the exchange fees?

  2. Some of the lodging I have booked requires me to pay in pounds before we go to Ireland, but I still have time to pay it. Should I just go ahead and pay now or wait until the deadline?

Posted by
9361 posts

Why would you pay in British pounds in Ireland? Ireland uses the euro.

Posted by
20600 posts

I don't see Brexit affecting the Euro beyond a couple of pennies. Don't know why you would want to buy pounds and convert to euro. But if you think Ireland is using the pound, then you have no business getting in involved with currency speculation.

Posted by
8 posts

Dave, thank you for the link...I did try to find Brexit forums to answer my concerns before posting but didn't see this one. It was helpful.

Nancy, you are right, Ireland uses the euro, but Northern Ireland uses pounds, and also I've booked lodging in Ireland that is requesting I pay in pounds (I don't know why, I guess sometimes it's interchangable there.)

Posted by
15574 posts

I speculate that the OP is referring to Northern Ireland, which is still Ireland, just not the Republic of Ireland.

When you figure out how to predict currency moves, please let me in on the secret. I'd love to supplement my income by about $100,000 a year just playing on my computer. Now that's speculation. Several more trips to Europe would be in my future.

Posted by
8 posts

Yes, Frank, you are correct euro has not been affected much, that's why I was only asking about converting my dollars to pounds, not pounds to euros. That would be silly! Have you been to Northern Ireland? Maybe you know something I don't. Everything I've read tells me they use the pound in the north because it's part of the U.K., but euros in the Republic of Ireland.

Posted by
4809 posts

A few points;

-Yes, Northern Ireland uses the Pound, and with lodging, to pay ahead, you do not incur the "lousy" exchange rate unless your Credit or Debit card is one of those that charges a Foreign Transaction fee, usually about 3%. Is it an advantage? Well if the rates go up, then yes, if they go down more, then no.

-If you are paying Pounds in the Republic of Ireland, then someone is making a conversion for you, probably not to your benefit (maybe would be for someone from the UK). Always pay for lodging in the local currency. If someplace in Ireland proper is insisting in Pounds, that is just odd, makes no sense if you are from the US or Canada.

As for getting Pounds here, figure it will cost you 5-8%, a big hit, because you are essentially betting that the Pound will go up by at least that much, more if you want to actually save money...and even then, you might save a few dollars, unless you buy 100's or 1000's, then your bet is bigger...and you have to carry large amounts of cash with you, not a small risk.

Posted by
20600 posts

It is still a dice roll. The pound has clawed back about 3% from the recent low. It the lodging wants to be paid in pounds and you want to take advantage of the low exchange rate. Send a no exchange fee credit card and have them charge you now. You will get the lowest possible exchange rate. My guess, and it only a guess, is that pound will slowly recover as everyone adjusts to the vote, change of PM, and a better sense as to the total impact. My experience with these types of financial cycles is that that they tend to go to extremes in both directions and slowly correct. So take a small gamble and pay the bill.

Buying pounds in the US is not smart since you have to pay a premium and the pound is not going to rise enough in the next two months to recover the premium you pay for the exchange in the US.

Posted by
8 posts

Paul, thank you for your advice about paying in local currency. I went back and looked at all my bookings to check on that and the only Rep. Of Ireland booking that I'm paying for in pounds is through a "big-name, but shall remain nameless" travel website. But I'm not going to sweat it as I can pay all upfront through my no-transaction fee credit card ahead of time while the pound is down. Everything else I pay for when I get there in local currency.

Posted by
1402 posts

Many people like to have some of the currency in their pocket when they land. I did that one time in the past. AAA gave a decent exchange rate. That was before ATMs, now I use the ATM when I land, unless I have some left over from a previous trip.

I'd bet that Rick always has some cash left over from his last trip.

Posted by
17648 posts

I always make sure I have cash, about 200€, left over from my last trip when I return. It doesn't cost me anything except interest between the trips.

But today, Wells Fargo is selling euro at $232.26 for 200 euro. According to Oanda, the exchange rate right now is 200 euro for $220.16. You might get that rate a an ATM, but, depending on you bank, you'll probably pay $222.41 (1% plus no fee) to $232.00 (3% plus $5 fee) with most credit union or bank ATM cards. So you are probably looking at maybe $10, maybe nothing, to have the money in your pocket.

I can't agree with Rick on this. Airports in Europe have plenty of ATMs, but they don't always "work".

I haven't seen one, but I understand some airports are now going to only Travelex ATMs, which cost more than bringing the money with you.

I've heard stories of people arriving in Rome when the workers who fill the ATMs were on strike, and none of the ATMs had any cash.

Years ago, I arrived at FRA and went straight to the nearest bank ATM. I had three ATM cards with me - one that I had just acquired and tested the day before. When I put it in, the machine returned it and displayed, "call you bank". The second card - same thing. Now I'm getting a little concerned, but at least I have the 200 euro left over from my last trip to tide me through the weekend before I call my bank. Fortunately the last card worked. The reason for the failure of the first two cards was purely administrative and would have been rectified with a phone call, but still, I was glad I had my reserve.

If you are so sure that you will always find an ATM, before your next domestic trip, take all of you US money out of your wallet and leave it at home before flying.

Posted by
4809 posts

haven't seen one, but I understand some airports are now going to only Travelex ATMs, which cost more than bringing the money with you.

Just to clarify this point, in a number of Airports and Train stations Travelex (in addition to other banks and companies) has obtained exclusive rights to the ATM franchise at the airport, meaning all ATMs are run by them. Heathrow was one of these airports.

I suspect their interest was to offer their services through the ATM, and indeed the ATMs at Heathrow would offer to do the transaction in your home currency, at a rate offered by Travelex (This is known as DCC) However, you could decline the offer and proceed as a normal ATM transaction with no additional cost to you.

As an update though, when at Heathrow last month, the same machines no longer prominently display the Travelex logo, and no longer make a DCC offer (though they are still owned by Travelex). I suspect complaints drove them to remove the DCC offer.

In many trips, I have never run into an ATM with hidden fees or an undisclosed exchange fee. A use fee is always displayed or presented in a screen during the transaction, and the exchange rate offered as DCC. The DCC you can decline, the use fee you can decline and go elsewhere.

Posted by
3230 posts

Lee,

I never have USD in my wallet. Matter of fact, my last domestic trip I left the house with only 8 CENTS in my pocket. :-)

I am confident enough that I will find an ATM if I need cash, both domestically and internationally, that I don't even think about it. After all, the places I am going are usually not third world cash based economies and credit cards work just fine to pay for most things until I get some cash. Every airport I have been through when traveling has anywhere from 10 to 100 ATMs located around the property and it is easy to find at least one that can give me cash.