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Our AAA club travel lady told us to bring $50. a day cash, or course converted for UK. This seems kinda high. I would rather have less cash, and use debit or capital one credit card. We will be traveling for 14 days on a tour where almost everything is paid for and the trip is England, Ireland, Scotland. Thanks!

Posted by
3428 posts

Having $50-100 in local currency when you land is good comfort 'cushion'. That gives you time to find a bank associated ATM (called 'cash points' in the UK) and yet have plenty for transportation, drinks, snacks, etc. without having to use your debit or credit card for such small purchases. England, Scotland and Northern Ireland (Belfast) use the Great British Pound. The Republic of Ireland (Dublin) uses the Euro.

Posted by
237 posts

Agreeing with Toni here - some money when you land is good to have and then hit up the ATM/cashpoint early on. Cash is always good to have and smaller places and BnBs often prefer or even require cash. Be sure to tell the bank your debit card and your credit card companies is from that you will be in the UK and the dates before you go. European ATM cards have a "chip and pin" system and sometimes using American cards can come with some explanation "you'll need to swipe". If you have a credit card that doesn't charge a "foreign transaction fee" then definitely use that one. Have a good trip!

Posted by
9363 posts

You do not need to bring $50/day cash! You will have plenty of opportunity to get cash from an ATM when you need it. Just make sure you tell your bank when and where you will be traveling so that they don't block your card.

Posted by
1878 posts

Do you mean $50 for each day of your trip i.e. $700 worth of British pounds? If so, that advice sounds way off base. My advice it to get pounds from the ATM at the airport. We did it a month ago and it worked fine. As a back up, bring $100 US in case the ATM does not work, for the currency exchange desk. I never use those; have never had to - but it may give you peace of mind to know they are there. Your instincts are right in wanting to use a credit card. Not sure how well debit cards may work as I have never tried it. We aware that ATMs do not typically have the letters as they do in the U.S., so know your PIN in numbers.

Posted by
11450 posts

Your friendly AAA lady SELLS currency doesn't she lol..... Its nice to start with 50 GBPs or Euros (depending on where you go) when you START your holiday in Europe , but once there you simply take money out of your ATM.

Posted by
97 posts

That does sound high to me. If almost everything on your tour is included, you probably don't need nearly that much, unless you're paying for admissions to various sites in addition to your snacks and souvenirs. What's your $50/day supposed to cover? As for when to get your pounds and euros, you should have plenty of opportunities to do that once you arrive. I've never had a problem finding an ATM at a major airport, though I prefer to put off getting cash until after I've reached my lodgings and dropped off my bag. I usually get off the plane with only a £20 bill, just enough to be sure I can get a desperately needed post-flight coffee and a snack on the way to wherever I'm staying.

Posted by
332 posts

"Your friendly AAA lady SELLS currency doesn't she lol....." I wonder if she makes a commission on sales. Your AAA lady may never have traveled abroad. $50 worth of foreign currency per day is more cash than I would pay extra for, but you may spend that much. You are sensible to use your Capital One card and debit card; you do not want to bring home a bunch of foreign cash you already paid too much for. I recommend you read all the "Money Matters" links on Steves' travel tips page:

Posted by
837 posts

The AAA markup is perhaps the most exhorbitant, other than loan sharks. You really need no GBP prior to arrival. You can use your credit card for any airport snacks and for transportation into the city, where bank ATMs abound. There are cash machines at Heathrow, but many posts on this board have suggested that they are not bank ATMs and charge higher exchange rates. I have seen nothing about cash machines at other UK airports. All that said, the machines at the airport are likely better than a bank in Florida.

Posted by
4535 posts

Use your debit card for withdrawing cash you need from the ATM. That way you can take out just as much as you find you are needing. Buy about $100-200 worth of cash before you leave and hit the ATM when that starts running low. Do not use your debit card for point-of-sale purchases. For that, use your credit card. Many places do not accept CC's for small purchases or not at all so cash will be necessary. Notify your banks of your travel so they don't block transactions.