getting Euros when arriving

Can any one give me some advice on changing dollars to euros? Is there a money exchange in the Rome airport or a bank? What is the best way to exchange money when arriving? Thanks.

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
5296 posts

Leave your dollars at home in your checking account and use the ATMs to withdraw euros.

Posted by stephen
Greeley, co, usa
503 posts

Money exchanges will charge you waaaay toooo muuuuuch. ATM is the way to get your euros

Posted by Bets
3351 posts

Just be sure you call your bank and credit card companies to tell them when you are going and where you are going, before leaving, so they don't shut down your card for possible fraud when a sudden withdrawl attempt is made on your account.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
8729 posts

If it makes you more comfortable, you could exchange a small amount before leaving the States (or order some ahead of time from your bank), but in general, as the others have said, ATM is the way to go.

Posted by celeste
125 posts

Make sure to use a real bank ATM and not the "ATM" next to the money changing places. And use your debit card, with 4 digit PIN, not a credit card. All the ones we saw had a language ion option until we got into Italy, then it got a little bit weird. It's an "international withdrawal" or something like that. Maybe the frequent travelers can explain the different options better than I can. Only had an issue one time, when I think I was requesting too much in one transaction. I reduced the amount and got my money.

Posted by Brenda
130 posts

John, As the others have suggested, what you need to do is go to your bank and tell them you're going to be traveling internationally and want to be able to use overseas ATM machines to withdraw cash. They will verify your account and may want you to sign some kind of form. If you are traveling with a spouse and want to be able to use that card too, make sure the bank knows that. They won't automatically release your spouses card when they release yours.(voice of experience talking here). Your bank will probably assess a charge every time you withdraw and may have set a low limit, all of course, in your "best interests". Ask what the daily limit is for your account and if it is less than you want, ask to have it raised. The bank may balk as they did with me, until I reminded them that it is MY money and I want to be able to withdraw $500 worth of euros at a time. Wear a money belt and withdraw enough cash for several days at a time instead of incurring multiple charges. One tip: before making a withdrawal, especially in the early morning, stand back and watch someone else make a successful withdrawal before you attempt one of your own. Crooks know how to jam ATM's overnight so that you won't get your money, and trying to get it later from a foreign bank will be futile. Aside from that, using an ATM machine is just like using on in the US, except that you will be asked what language you want to use and you will be issued euros instead of dollars. So be aware of the exchange rate and don't ask for more that what the exchange rate will allow for. If you do, and the request gets rejected, just start over and ask for slightly fewer euros than your withdrawal limit will allow. Do this once, and you'll never go to an exchange service again. Bon voyage!

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
6537 posts

As a back-up, I'd have enough dollars with me to buy enough euros at the currency exchange at the airport to get me to my hotel, just in case the ATM option doesn't work. There's always a currency exchange open and even their poor rates will be better than what you'll get at home.

Posted by Charlie
Honolulu/Seattle, HI/WA, USA
2313 posts

To answer your question regarding exchanging dollars to euros: Have you used the "Search" box in the upper right hand corner? Have you checked out "Graffiti Wall - Money/Communication - ATMs: Minimizing Fees"? Both should give you some insight into the subject that seems to get asked several times a week. I just returned from my 11th yearly trip to Europe and always use a debit card tied to a checking account to access local currency in Europe from ATM machines. My debit card is issued by a local credit union that charges a 1% transaction fee and the ATM machines I use do not charge anything and give the best rate you will find. Happy travels.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
8186 posts

I'm like Chani. I carry a few hundred dollars to exchange only in an emergency. Other than that I just pick up my euros at an ATM. Be sure to let your bank know you're traveling so they don't put a fraud hold on your account (and know your bank's phone number so you can call if they do). Regarding security, I go out of my way to use only indoor ATM's (bank, airport, grocery store, department store). They are much less likely to be tampered with by crooks than one open to the street. I still ALWAYS cover my hand when I put in my PIN number so no one can film or observe my PIN (even from a tiny webcam immediately above the keyboard).

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
14122 posts

A couple of days ago, I changed planes at Phoenix. There was a Travelex counter there selling Euro at $600 for 410 Euro, a rate of $1.46/€. I looked up the rate on at the same time, and it was $1.284/€ - 410€ for $526 - so travelex was charging a commision of $74 (14%) to exchange for Euro. To get that much from an ATM with a Wells Fargo card would have cost $543 plus $10 for two withdrawals at $5, or $553 total. Using an ATM card at one of the worst rates would have only cost you an extra $27. If you want to take Euro with you, get them at a local bank, not from Travelex at the airport. The bank will charge far less than 14%.

Posted by Larry
Elk Grove, CA, USA
6890 posts

John, I'm not sure if you may be flying out of SFO or not. We usually fly out of Sacramento to Denver or Washington DC on United for our connections to Europe. Fortunately, we bring home Euros for our next trip. The reason I mention SFO is that there is a Travelex ATM (and exchange window) in the rear of the large ticketing area in the International Building. Yes, it is more expensive to use Travelex. But, I have had recent experiences to equip younger relatives with Euros before their first time travel to Europe. I go to the Travelex ATM and use my ATM card to withdraw 100Euros. You can also get Yen and one other currency from this ATM. There's a $3 service charge for the transaction and the currency exchange rate recently was 1.34 when CNBC was showing it at 1.30. A bit of minor expense but the convenience of having a few Euros is quite handy. As a surprise gift for my nephew, it was great. For first time travelers, an extra $6 or so to get 100 Euros is well worth the peace of mind. I'm not a big fan of Travelex but in this situation, it's not bad. These ATMs may also be in LAX and other international terminals.

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
1114 posts

I just talked with a representative at the Travelex office, SFO Airport, and to purchase 100€ costs a total of $159.56. Yikes! The representative stated the cost is the same at the Travelex ATM or their counter. The Oanda rate for euros as of a few minutes ago was $1.30699.

Posted by Larry
Elk Grove, CA, USA
6890 posts

@Bruce. I have the receipt and the charge on my bank statement. No such charge as you claim. I'm looking at my bank statement as I write this post and the charge was $134 for a conversion rate of 1.34. Not 1.59. Doesn't sound right.

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
1114 posts

@Larry. You got a terrific deal. Just confirmed same numbers as before by calling Travelex SFO 650-821-0928. The Travelex online rate is currently $145.16 for 100€ (plus service fee?). Again, the Oanda rate is $1.30699 or $130.69 for 100€.

Posted by Don
Rhode Island, USA
65 posts

I took a few hundred Euros over with us on two trips in the past to get started. We were able to get it through a friend of ours at her bank for no fees. I wanted to be able to go a few days and not have to worry about getting money as soon as I arrived. We just got back from an eastern European visit and because I was starting in a country that did not use the Euro, and our friend could not get that currency at her bank, I waited until I arrived there to get money. As mentioned, getting the money from the ATM in the airport was very easy. I do not use a credit card to buy anything and use our debit card exclusively to get cash from ATM's when needed and pay for everything with the local currency. I do like to bring enough US money with me so I can buy food in or near the airport before departing and upon our return depending on the time between landing and getting the train for the final leg home.

Posted by juan
whittier, ca, usa
84 posts

I went to my bank Wells Fargo,and they don't charge to exchange or buying Euro's. Try Wells Fargo you ave to be s customer,if yoy have time to open a basic acct..

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
8729 posts

Juan, what was their exchange rate? Often, places that charge "no fees" actually give you a worse exchange rate instead. Wells Fargo is not known as a place to get anything free.