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where can I buy a handheld currency converter calculator?

I have googled this and for the life me of I'm only getting online sites for currency converters. I want a small calculator that I can take with me while I travel in Paris. I know my smartphone has a calculator but I do not want to take that out everytime I want to figure the cost of an item. Don't want to give the pickpockets any more incentive to rob me!

Posted by
33 posts

Try Amazon.com. They have numerous ones listed- but be careful. Some are listed as having currency exchange but when you check the specs...they don't.

Posted by
2851 posts

If you want to avoid attracting attention and being a theft magnet, you are way better off just doing the math in your head. It's pretty easy: multiply the euros by 1.25 to get dollars. Check the exchange rate each morning on your smartphone before you leave your lodging just in case it changes. But right now it is pretty good.

Posted by
188 posts

Leslie, there is an app for some smartphone it is free I have one for my
IPhone, it give me up to the minute rates and you can enter the exact euro amount and almost instantly give the dollar value or value in many diff currencies. Does use up data time

Posted by
9363 posts

I agree with just doing the math in your head. You will be buying in euro. It doesn't matter exactly how many dollars an item is. When I was in Spain in May, the euro was about $1.31. When I bought something and wondered what the dollar cost was, I just added a third to the euro price. It wasn't exact, but it didn't matter. As for a smartphone being an incentive for pickpockets, they probably have their own. Smartphones, like cameras, are not very attractive targets.

Posted by
16941 posts

I'll chime in with this: Once you're in Paris, start thinking in Euros. The Dollar no longer has meaning once you are there. With a 1.25 rate its just not that hard. It is like driving down the highway doing 100 km/hr and you see a sign that says your destination is 150 km away. The first time you think, gee, I'm doing like 60 miles an hour, and I think 150 km is about 100 miles, so I'll be there in in mmmm take 100 and divide by 60 and that's about.... wait, I'll be there in an hour and a half. Duhhh! Miles are meaning less in Europe (OK, is the UK part of Europe? Depends on who you talk to.)

Posted by
2851 posts

Like Nancy said, it is easy to do the math. You have only one new currency to deal with, not like the old days when there was a new one for each country. I cannot imagine carrying a device and pulling it out each time you want to buy something. Just take 1/4 the price in euros and add it back to get the cost in dollars. Easy.

Posted by
31591 posts

Leslie, I can well understand your rationale in not having to use your Smartphone every time you want to do a currency calculation. I also have a good Currency App on my iPhone, but it would be a nuisance to have to power up and unlock the phone every time I wanted to check something. One method you use would be to check the current rates every morning using your Smartphone. Try to find a "four banger" Calculator that has non-volatile memory (ie: memory isn't lost when the power is switched off). Enter the current exchange rate every morning in the "Memory". Each time you want to check a transaction, press "MR" and then multiply it by the amount you're checking. If that's not a good solution, you could check Magellans. If anyone will have a Currency Conversion Calculator, they will! Happy travels!

Posted by
524 posts

Leslie I am with Michael on printing the cheat sheet from Oanda. Doesn't take up any space in purse or pocket. And it is easy to use. And my math skills are seriously wanting. No need to get every possible purchase converted to the nth degree. Rounding is fine. I am just jealous you have enough money to buy something after paying for the basics of travel. Bobbie

Posted by
3755 posts

Any $5 pocket calculator is a currency converter since they all do percentages. No need for fancy gizmos. But so is your brain; doing percentages just takes a tiny bit of practice.

Posted by
7866 posts

Another vote for Michael's cheat sheet from Oanda. It is so easy to use, especially because they give you different "price points" -- I.e. 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and up and up! That way you have all the basics right in front of you and can easily get close to the number you're looking for. I "laminate" mine by putting the dollar/euro and euro/dollar (or whatever currency) back to back and then covering them in tape. Slip it in my pocket and I have it at any moment!

Posted by
11450 posts

Leslie,, in all my trips it has never occurred to me to convert everything to dollars,, unless buying a very expensive item what is exactly the point ? Work out your basic allowence per day for food and admissions in dollars, so say you decide you can spend 100 dollars a day, now,, simply convert to euros,, so lets guesstimite thats 75 euros..( it flucuates so its never going to be exact) . Now all you need to do when pricing out your meals or admissions is look in your purse and remember you have 75 euros to spend for the day.. its pretty simple. Also, just convert roughly in your head,, I have honestly never seen anyone use a devise..it seems, well frankly a bit odd and a tad too detail orientated.. ( and I am kind of fudging on what I really think) As for pickpockets ,, you will only have 75 euros in your purse ( or whatever) ,, the rest of your money will be in your hotel safe or in a money belt that you do not access in public, so your losses if you are unlucky to be picked, will be minimal.

Posted by
9014 posts

.....or whipping out a smartphone will make you look like a European tourist. It isn't just Americans that travel, euros like to take vacations as well;)

Posted by
11450 posts

Smartphones are a hot run and grab item in Paris, best not to whip it out randomly .. read about iphone thefts,,even the locals keep their iphones close, avoid using them in public ( like on the metro) as the theives just grab them and this happens to locals too!

Posted by
22023 posts

Same warning is be circulated for the L in Chicago. Not unique to Europe.

Posted by
3026 posts

Really, Pat? I saw a ton of smartphone usage in Paris, plenty of "walking and texting" going on with the locals (or just really well-dressed, French-speaking tourists)

Posted by
11294 posts

Here's my take: 1. For some items, it doesn't matter what it costs - you're going to pay. A good example is local bus fare - whether it's 25 cents or 4 dollars, it doesn't really matter. No need to convert these. 2. For many items, you want to know the approximate price, but exact conversion is not necessary. A good example is restaurant prices. You want to know whether you're looking at $10 main courses or $50 main courses, but the difference between $10 and $12 is not significant in this case. For these (again, in my experience, the majority of my expenditures), an approximation is sufficient. Right now, http://www.xe.com/ shows that the dollar is about 1.25 euros. So, just add a quarter to the euro price to get the close-enough dollar equivalent.
3. For a few items, you will want a more exact amount. This can include large purchases (where the decimal point differences can matter) or items where you want to know if it's cheaper at home or in Europe. For these few instances, you can get out your smartphone. If this still makes you uncomfortable, follow the suggestion above, and get a small pocket calculator. BTW, the warnings about not "waving smartphones around" are also made in New York, but these apply mostly to the subway and buses, and to some extent to the street, where it's easy to do a grab and run. In a store, that's not a big issue. And, as said above, if you think showing a smartphone will mark you as a tourist, think again - they are just a popular in Europe as in the US. And I second (or third or fourth, by now) printing out the "cheat sheets" on OANDA's currency converter site. You can look at these without giving pickpockets any incentive at all!

Posted by
228 posts

leslie,
for the first few days we were constantly converting euros to dollars. then, duh, it dawned on us, and we stopped converting. it won't change the amount you spend whether it's a 5 euro street sandwich, which is US dollars would be 7 bucks... you're still going to buy it for 5 euros, eat it and say yum.

Posted by
24 posts

You'll drive yourself crazy trying to convert euro to dollars. It really doesn't matter unless you're going to be negotiating high value transactions, such as purchasing property or negotiating a leveraged buy-out. Europe is just going to be a bit more expensive on average. Paris more-so. In Paris, I've paid 9 euro for a beer. In dollars that converts to...way too much, best not focus on it and instead just enjoy the trip. Make your daily budget, then convert that amount to euro before you ever get on the plane. That way you'll only have to do the math once. If you've got 200 euro per day to spend, then you can subtract from that amount with each purchase, easy peasy.

Posted by
3026 posts

But James, it's 5 Euro. What are you going to find to eat that's substantially cheaper than 5 euro, regardless of exchange rates? Maybe a currywurst for 2.80, I guess, if you're in Germany but in Paris? 5 euro for anything is a deal. I'm a bit of a cheapskate too but you have to accept the currency exchange rate when traveling. And how much time are people gonna spend shopping around for a mid-day snack if the difference in price is $2.50? 5 euro is cheap in europe no matter what the exchange rate is.

Posted by
9110 posts

Dividing by four and adding that to the original number don't exactly seem that hard to noodle. Heck be safe and add a third to the orignal number. The difference between the two methods is fifteen cents on a five buck purchase. You can do it faster than you can fish a calculator out of your pocket. Actually, if you had a calculator, you'd want to keep it in the moneybelt on account of the pickpockets and all.

Posted by
24 posts

My point was that it's all about context. Five euro for a sandwich is only cheap or expensive based on what else is available to you in the immediate area when you are hungry and searching for a sandwich. Whether it's seven dollars and a good deal based on getting a sandwich in Los Angeles or seven dollars and a bad deal in Dayton is entirely moot if you're standing in the Marais in Paris. If the sandwich is five euro at the shop you're in, and you're hungry enough to pay five euro, then it's worth it. If your budget dictates that you've got 60 euro for food each day, you have to determine how much that gets you, not how much 60 euro costs in dollars. Such calculations should be made back at home when you're budgeting your trip, not while the waiter is standing at your table. As someone who is paid in dollars while living in Europe, I'm certainly sensitive to currency fluctuations. My budgeting is simultaneously done in both currencies. It's not hard to keep in mind that 60 euro for a train ride to Berlin is reasonable but 30 euro for the salmon entree is not.