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Old 06-05-2015, 06:19 AM
 
556 posts, read 761,377 times
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The point re. the difference between "chip and PIN" and "chip and sig" is important, but I think becoming less so. Last summer I was able to use my chip and signature card for Metro tickets in Paris, but not for train tickets in Copenhagen. I think the policy in Paris is that no signature or PIN required for purchases under 50 euros (similar to the $50 policy in the US).

I'm always amused by how heated these threads get - for some reason people are very defensive about their personal money exchange preferences. I think what it really boils down to is that you need to have a plan A and a plan B. Plan A is how you intend to pay for basically everything during your trip, and plan B covers you when plan A fails. At least one of the plans should include cash. Personally, I use a chip and signature Visa as my plan A, with cash as a back up. I use my ATM card to withdraw local currency at my arrival airport. For me, getting foreign currency while in the US is more hassle than it's worth. If I happen to have some currency left over from a prior trip, I will take that. It's usually enough for a subway ride to my hotel. I also carry a couple hundred US dollars, which I can easily withdraw from my regular ATM at home, and can convert to local currency in a pinch, but I don't have to guess at how much I need to exchange in advance.
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Old 06-05-2015, 07:44 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,583,712 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prospectheightsresident View Post
The OP is in West Orange (I assume NJ), which is 17 miles from Manhattan. I wouldn't have used the place I went to as a specific example otherwise. Still, I think the point is to look around and don't automatically assume that an exchange bureau is going to rip you off, especially if you live in or near a major area.
Yup, and the bus/train/subway fares eat up any savings they might have from going to Manhattan. You can get there for free assuming you buy and unlimited ride Metrocard. Not so easy for someone who lives in NJ. And despite what many New Yorkers think, not everyone in northern and central NJ commutes to NYC.
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Old 06-05-2015, 09:51 AM
 
2,143 posts, read 3,558,484 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpheels View Post
The point re. the difference between "chip and PIN" and "chip and sig" is important, but I think becoming less so. Last summer I was able to use my chip and signature card for Metro tickets in Paris, but not for train tickets in Copenhagen. I think the policy in Paris is that no signature or PIN required for purchases under 50 euros (similar to the $50 policy in the US).

I'm always amused by how heated these threads get - for some reason people are very defensive about their personal money exchange preferences. I think what it really boils down to is that you need to have a plan A and a plan B. Plan A is how you intend to pay for basically everything during your trip, and plan B covers you when plan A fails. At least one of the plans should include cash. Personally, I use a chip and signature Visa as my plan A, with cash as a back up. I use my ATM card to withdraw local currency at my arrival airport. For me, getting foreign currency while in the US is more hassle than it's worth. If I happen to have some currency left over from a prior trip, I will take that. It's usually enough for a subway ride to my hotel. I also carry a couple hundred US dollars, which I can easily withdraw from my regular ATM at home, and can convert to local currency in a pinch, but I don't have to guess at how much I need to exchange in advance.
Agree with just about all of this. On my recent trip to Europe, I took with me one debit card and two credit cards. The debit card I used to take money out at ATM machines, it really helped that I talked with BofA before I visited to see what their alliance partners are in the countries we went to. They only charged the 3% fee, all the other fees were waived as a result.

Didn't think about exchanging dollars for euros before going on my trip as I read numerous websites and pretty much all of them suggested to change it when you get there. OP, London is very expensive. We were there only 2 days but we ran through 300 pounds total. Money doesn't seem to stretch as far as it does in say Barcelona or Rome.
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Old 06-05-2015, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Middle of the Pacific Ocean
11,675 posts, read 6,281,571 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
Yup, and the bus/train/subway fares eat up any savings they might have from going to Manhattan. You can get there for free assuming you buy and unlimited ride Metrocard. Not so easy for someone who lives in NJ. And despite what many New Yorkers think, not everyone in northern and central NJ commutes to NYC.
True, but perhaps the OP works or otherwise plans to go to Manhattan before the trip; I don't know, but such a reality wouldn't be surprising/unusual for someone who lives where the OP does, which is another reason for the specificity. Still, my general point holds equally true about searching for fares in large NJ cities. As I mentioned in a previous post, Newark is 8 miles away from West Orange. Jersey City is 14 miles away. Maybe I'm misreading your post, but I don't see what is so controversial about what I'm writing. Either the Manhattan/Newark/Jersey City options and potential options will or won't be possible/cost-effective for the OP. The point is that its worth a shot to research other options and not to discount currency exchange bureaus outright!
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Old 06-05-2015, 10:19 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,583,712 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DomRep View Post
Agree with just about all of this. On my recent trip to Europe, I took with me one debit card and two credit cards. The debit card I used to take money out at ATM machines, it really helped that I talked with BofA before I visited to see what their alliance partners are in the countries we went to. They only charged the 3% fee, all the other fees were waived as a result.

Didn't think about exchanging dollars for euros before going on my trip as I read numerous websites and pretty much all of them suggested to change it when you get there. OP, London is very expensive. We were there only 2 days but we ran through 300 pounds total. Money doesn't seem to stretch as far as it does in say Barcelona or Rome.
Agree. We went through around 2000 pounds in two weeks. Our flat was paid for, most of our sightseeing was prepaid, we even had Oyster cards with balances. Groceries were 150-200% what they are at home, the people who claim they eat a cheap pub lunch for five pounds--I don't know where, because the least expensive item on a lunch menu at a pub (even away from the tourist areas) was 8 pounds for a cheese sandwich and chips. The least expensive lunch we had was at a EAT or Pret a Manger, but those weren't very good or very satisfying and were still almost double what a similar meal at Subway would have been here in the US.

London was by far the most expensive city I've ever visited. New York and San Francisco--even Disney World--seems cheap by comparison. Rome is dirt cheap by comparison.
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Old 06-05-2015, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
7,680 posts, read 16,098,271 times
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You can cut costs in London a fair amount if you work it. A sandwich-fries-small soft drink or beer combo at a typical London chain pub will run you about six pounds (ie. about what it would cost in the States since you don't tip when you order at the counter and prices are VAT-included). You can plan out museums and other attractions so you're clustering the pay ones on the same days and using London Pass, and then saving the large number of free ones for days before or after the pass. And it you can tolerate a bit of a slog, taking the plain old tube from the airport to hotel saves a lot of money compared to cab or Heathrow Express train.
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Old 06-05-2015, 10:21 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,583,712 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prospectheightsresident View Post
True, but perhaps the OP works or otherwise plans to go to Manhattan before the trip; I don't know, but such a reality wouldn't be surprising, which is another reason for the specificity. Still, my general point holds equally true about searching for fares in large NJ cities. As I mentioned in a previous post, Newark is 8 miles away from West Orange. Jersey City is 14 miles away. Maybe I'm misreading your post, but I don't see what is so controversial about what I'm writing. Either the Manhattan/Newark/Jersey City options and potential options will or won't be possible/cost-effective for the OP. The point is that its worth a shot to research other options and not to discount currency exchange bureaus outright!
The problem is that you insinuated that anyone who gets there cash in other ways or has to pay more to do so is an ignorant rube. You couldn't be further from the truth.

I use my bank. The convenience is worth an extra .25% in lost exchange rate rather than spending hours trying to save a few dollars. Time is money.
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Old 06-05-2015, 10:23 AM
 
Location: Middle of the Pacific Ocean
11,675 posts, read 6,281,571 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachmouse View Post
You can cut costs in London a fair amount if you work it. A sandwich-fries-small soft drink or beer combo at a typical London chain pub will run you about six pounds (ie. about what it would cost in the States since you don't tip when you order at the counter and prices are VAT-included). You can plan out museums and other attractions so you're clustering the pay ones on the same days and using London Pass, and then saving the large number of free ones for days before or after the pass. And it you can tolerate a bit of a slog, taking the plain old tube from the airport to hotel saves a lot of money compared to cab or Heathrow Express train.
Agreed. I stayed at a serviced apartments hotel when I was there (booked via Priceline Express Deals for about $70 a night . . . Express Deals is another option to save money if the OP hasn't booked a hotel yet or otherwise doesn't have housing taken care of). The place was actually really, really nice. I bought breakfast foods and some lunch items from Tesco and saved a bunch that way, too.
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Old 06-05-2015, 10:28 AM
 
Location: Middle of the Pacific Ocean
11,675 posts, read 6,281,571 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
The problem is that you insinuated that anyone who gets there cash in other ways or has to pay more to do so is an ignorant rube. You couldn't be further from the truth.

I use my bank. The convenience is worth an extra .25% in lost exchange rate.
No, I didn't I stated my own experience as an initial matter of getting a great deal from an exchange bureau. I also mentioned earlier that I've heard that banks are generally to be avoided as they charge higher rates; when shown that this wasn't universally true, I didn't challenge that point and let it go. In response to comments stating unequivocally that exchange bureaus were ripoffs (those comments, not mine, insinuated that people were ignorant rubes for not following their advice and for using exchange bureaus . . . in fact, one user even called people like me "fools"), I provided evidence to the contrary. I am not suggesting that the OP not try banks; I'm merely giving my perspective on exchange bureaus and how they are not to be automatically discounted.

The problem with your posts is that you're doing an awfully lot to discredit exchange bureaus as potential reasonable options. As I stated before: either the exchange bureaus will work for the OP or they won't. But they shouldn't be discounted outright as many have essentially stated in this thread, especially in light of where the OP lives. Again, I don't see why that's so controversial.
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Old 06-05-2015, 10:32 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,583,712 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prospectheightsresident View Post
No, I didn't I stated my own experience as an initial matter of getting a great deal from an exchange bureau. I also mentioned earlier that I've heard that banks are generally to be avoided as they charge higher rates; when shown that this wasn't universally true, I didn't challenge that point and let it go. In response to comments stating unequivocally that exchange bureaus were ripoffs (those comments, not mine, insinuated that people were ignorant rubes for not following their advice and for using exchange bureaus . . . in fact, one user even called people like me "fools"), I provided evidence to the contrary.

The problem with your posts is that you're doing an awfully lot to discredit exchange bureaus as potential reasonable options. As I stated before: either the exchange bureaus will work for the OP or they won't. But they shouldn't be discounted outright as many have essentially stated in this thread, especially in light of where the OP lives.
I never said they were never an option. I do think it's beyond stupid to spend hours calling around or money and time to get to one that isn't very convenient. I also KNOW that in most of the US, an exchange place is not going to offer the best option.
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