A co-worker recently returned from a European vacation with 400 Euros which she would like to convert to American currency. She has an ad from Travelex which will do currency conversions but at a terrible conversion rate. What options would you recommend so that she gets the best return for her Euros?
If your co-worker lived nearby me I would buy them at the ATM rate at the time of the exchange, but alas... Wherever she tries to sell them she will get a crummy rate (Travalex, American Express), but she might try asking at her bank to see if they do foreign currency buyback and whether the exchange rate they offer might be any better. Alternately, she could simply hang on to them for a future trip.
I usually keep a hundred or so for next trip.. I wonder how she came home with so much.. I usually try and make sure my last ATM withdrawal won't be too much to finish off with. Did she buy them here?
I too usually keep around 200 euros or so for the next trip. Her best bet is to sell them to someone she knows. Can you sell it on Craigslist? If so, then she can advertise it there, and be sure to meet the person in a public place as possible (I usually do my Craigslist transactions at a grocery store near our home).
I agree with the idea to sell them to someone she knows that will be heading to Europe. A major bank might also buy them for US dollars but the rate will not be good (better than any currency exchange company though).
If she works downtown Seattle I could meet her somewhere and buy them. Send me a PM if interested.
Contact the Study Abroad or Foreign Languages department in a university near you. They have lots of people who are going to Europe and would probably be happy to exchange dollars for euros at the current exchange rate.
Geor: What are these "leftover" Euros you speak of . . .? I never seem to have any when I get back from my trips :).
Go back! That's what I always do. Or, give them to Lola. She'll put them to good use. Actually, if the webmaster is "listening", he should create a "currency exchange" on the Wall - a place where people who brought Euro back can advertise them to people going over. Actually, this is something I've envisioned for our monthly travel group, but it seems most people in our group go regularly and plan to use the Euro they bring back to start their next trip.
I bet if she went to any Rick Steves meeting, she'd find several takers.
"I never seem to have any when I get back from my trips " I always take with me a netbook and it has Excel. I long ago created an "expense report" based on ones I had to fill out when I traveled with my job. Since I have carefully research what I will be paying for my accommodations and travel, and I know from experience what I will spend per day for food, I fill out a "dummy" expense report before I go, with all my anticipated expenses and a total. As I pay for things, I take them off of my dummy report, so at any time it shows how much I need to finish my trip. At the last ATM stop, I take out just enough for my anticipated expenses with several hundred Euro left over to start my next trip.
Hi all: Thanks for your comments. My friend did a tour of Eastern Europe and did not feel that ATM machines would be reliable so she took a stack of Euros with her. She is trying to unload slightly more than 400 Euros which were left over from her trip. Lola, she has not decided whether to take you up on your offer. She would be more comfortable if the transaction was conducted in North Seattle on a weekend (i.e., she is a co-worker at the UW and cannot get to downtown during the day). George
Wow, Lee, impressed. I put as much distance as possible between my eyes and a spreadsheet while on vacation. Your discipline is commendable.
If it doesn't work out for the transaction to take place in N. Seattle, Chani's idea to go to Edmonds is a really good one. The people who work in the RS Tour Dept. there also guide some of the tours. There would probably be someone there who would be happy to buy some Euros in advance of their next trip.
Unfortunately there is no Rick Steve's meeting group in Seattle. I have tried to organize one with minimal success, even with a celebrity like Lee as the draw. I have no idea if the staff at the Edmonds store could facilitate the exchange as Rose suggests, but I doubt it. I do not bring a car into Seattle and cannot manage to get to N. Seattle to buy euros. Sorry. I wish it could have worked out for both of us.
Exchanging privately at the interbank exchange rate shown at www.oanda.com is the best method. Seattle has 12 Wells Fargo International Teller locations that should convert euros to dollars. I know of no one in the USA that beats Wells Fargo for foreign currency sales. For €400 your friend will lose about 5.5% (currently €22, about $29) on the transaction. Call ahead to Wells Fargo to confirm rates. Euro coins will not be accepted.
I wasn't suggesting that Edmonds staff could facilitate the exchange - I doubt they would get involved in that. Rather, I was thinking that one of the staff members who is also a tour guide might be interested in buying the Euros for his/her own use during his/her next trip. No harm in calling to offer; worst they would do is say 'no thanks'. Best case: they pass the word around the office and someone is interested. But a Wells Fargo International Teller is probably easier, despite the inevitable loss on the buyback exchange rate.
I see on the website that there are free travel classes in Edmonds every Saturday. My idea is that there would be people there who are planning to travel to Europe and would welcome the oppotunity to buy euros in advance of their trips.
I have to wonder though if the best exchange rate offered by the bank (which would be decidely less than that of an ATM in Europe) wouldn't be offset by the price of gas and the personal hassle of trying to meet up for an exchange or driving to RS offices. Just exchange them at the bank and move on. She felt comfortable having them with her before she went and she now knows she can use ATMs safely. I'd say she got her money's worth out of that transaction already.
Banks use an Interbank exchange rate from the day before, or that morning, to set their rate for the day. If the Interbank rate changes, the "discount" from the bank changes. Some years ago, I checked the rate everyday for several months from several banks, including WF, and compared it to the Interbank rate. I found that for selling Euro, WF was about 5%, on average, above the Interbank rate, but their rate would be higher or lower depending on how the Interbank rate had changed since they had set their rate. BofA was about 5½% higher than the Interbank rate. I haven't done a similar check recently, but a few spot checks lead me to believe this is still true. That rate is for buying Euro. Selling is discounted the other way, and often at a less favorable rate. That rate is for buying Euro. The rate for buying other currencies is not as favorable. I paid 14% for Czech Koruna last year at Wells Fargo. But then, I only got $40 worth, just what I needed to buy a rail ticket at the border, before I got to an ATM that gives Koruna. BTW, the plural of Euro, according to the central bank that issues them, is Euro (not Euros).
My co-worker with all the extra Euros has decided to sell them at a Wells Fargo branch bank near her place of employment. However, she is going to hang on to them with the hopes that her sell price will net her approximately the same amount that she spent. I warned her that the exchange rate in the future might not accommodate her but she is willing to take the risk. I like the idea of using the Wells Fargo bank to purchase foreign currency before going overseas. However, one has to be a client of the bank to minimize the fee for this transaction.