U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 06-05-2015, 02:37 PM
 
Location: Myrtle Creek, Oregon
12,237 posts, read 12,495,497 times
Reputation: 19379

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by prospectheightsresident View Post
One common piece of advice I'm finding, however, is to try avoiding exchanging currency at a bank, as they generally have very high rates.
It depends on the bank. The megabanks are professionals at screwing over their customers, but smaller banks, credit unions or local S&Ls often give much better service.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 06-05-2015, 02:40 PM
 
Location: Myrtle Creek, Oregon
12,237 posts, read 12,495,497 times
Reputation: 19379
Quote:
Originally Posted by prospectheightsresident View Post
That's the problem I had when I traveled to China. I called my bank and clearly let them know that I'd be in Beijing for the Olympics. I even gave them exact dates of travel. When I arrived in China and tried to use my card, however, I was locked out. And, as I was without a phone and had limited access to the internet (not that I'd feel comfortable logging into my online banking account in China), there was literally nothing I could do. Thankfully, the bank had the sense to call my parents' house and they let them know (again) that I was traveling. Thus, the problem was taken care of within a day. Still, I could've been really screwed. That's a big reason why I always exchange money before traveling.
Nowadays you would just install the Skype app on your smart phone and spring for the $13 charge for unlimited international calling anywhere you can find wifi.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-05-2015, 02:46 PM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,583,712 times
Reputation: 13019
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Caldwell View Post
Nowadays you would just install the Skype app on your smart phone and spring for the $13 charge for unlimited international calling anywhere you can find wifi.
Keywords highlighted.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-05-2015, 05:28 PM
 
Location: Middle of the Pacific Ocean
11,679 posts, read 6,281,571 times
Reputation: 11521
Quote:
Originally Posted by shellymdnv View Post
I think that your information about the exchange bureau was extremely useful. What annerk fails to realize is that even if the information isn't helpful to the OP is can be useful to someone else reading this thread. I like to think that threads like this should serve to both answer the OP's question as well as provide useful information to future readers. As you have mentioned people have heard general advice on this topic mainly take money out from the ATM when you arrive and that anything else is a waste of money so what is the person to do who wants or needs to have cash before arrival to do? In this thread we have learned ordering currency from your bank can be convenient and inexpensive especially compared to the common currency exchange companies, that most people agree are the worst option, but we have learned that there are bureaus out there that can offer rates as good as or even better than banks. We have also learned about other things to take into consideration like bank and credit card transaction fees, and to check with our bank to see if they have alliance banks.

The only useless thing I have seen is an attack of someone for providing information that a specific person may or may not be able to use even though it can of use to many others.
Thanks, and that's a good point. Likewise, I've found your posts helpful and informative.

Yeah, I didn't understand some of those posts either as nothing I was posting was really controversial, and only had the potential to be useful, either to the OP or, as you mentioned, to users in general.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-05-2015, 05:31 PM
 
Location: Middle of the Pacific Ocean
11,679 posts, read 6,281,571 times
Reputation: 11521
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Caldwell View Post
It depends on the bank. The megabanks are professionals at screwing over their customers, but smaller banks, credit unions or local S&Ls often give much better service.
Good to know! As others have mentioned, even what I wrote isn't universally true about all of the mega banks, so I'm definitely learning more and more about the benefits of using banks for currency exchange under certain circumstances.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-05-2015, 05:33 PM
 
Location: Middle of the Pacific Ocean
11,679 posts, read 6,281,571 times
Reputation: 11521
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Caldwell View Post
Nowadays you would just install the Skype app on your smart phone and spring for the $13 charge for unlimited international calling anywhere you can find wifi.
Very true. Also, the FaceTime app works wonders. When I was in Beijing, though, I had the most basic of cell phones and had no tablet of any sort!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-06-2015, 10:05 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,583,712 times
Reputation: 13019
Quote:
Originally Posted by prospectheightsresident View Post
Very true. Also, the FaceTime app works wonders. When I was in Beijing, though, I had the most basic of cell phones and had no tablet of any sort!
FaceTime only works if both parties have Apple phones/pads and both are connected to WiFi. I don't think you will have success calling your bank with it in an emergency.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-06-2015, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Myrtle Creek, Oregon
12,237 posts, read 12,495,497 times
Reputation: 19379
Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
FaceTime only works if both parties have Apple phones/pads and both are connected to WiFi. I don't think you will have success calling your bank with it in an emergency.
I pretty much just stick with Skype. If I have the bandwidth, I can video chat from my phone to any phone or computer, but the really nice thing is the subscription that allows "unlimited" international calling. Most countries you can only access land lines, but that works fine for making hotel reservations, calling airports, banks, etc. In the US and Canada (and other countries) you can call cell phones too, so if you are feeling lonely and want to call home and chat for an hour, it's free. You can even video chat from around the world.

https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA1...-special-offer
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-06-2015, 05:09 PM
 
Location: Middle of the Pacific Ocean
11,679 posts, read 6,281,571 times
Reputation: 11521
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Caldwell View Post
I pretty much just stick with Skype. If I have the bandwidth, I can video chat from my phone to any phone or computer, but the really nice thing is the subscription that allows "unlimited" international calling. Most countries you can only access land lines, but that works fine for making hotel reservations, calling airports, banks, etc. In the US and Canada (and other countries) you can call cell phones too, so if you are feeling lonely and want to call home and chat for an hour, it's free. You can even video chat from around the world.

https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA1...-special-offer
The google voice/gchat phone also works great. Although, as I found when I was in Sydney, there were problems trying to reach Magic Jack members via this method.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-07-2015, 07:17 PM
 
556 posts, read 761,377 times
Reputation: 687
I've found it useful to pay for a package of international text messages. I did some solo travel in Europe last summer, and bought a package of 50 texts for $10 through AT&T (all texts had to be used within one month of purchase). I was able to text family back home to check in periodically, which gave everyone some piece of mind. I'm also willing to use my US cell phone in an emergency and just eat the cost of the international roaming - not ideal, but certainly a reasonable safety net that will work for most people from developed/high income countries while visiting other developed/high income countries. I don't have any reason to make non-emergency phone calls while traveling (others might, depending on needs and travel style). Accepting that I can use my regular phone in an emergency eliminates any need for me to get a prepaid phone or SIM card while traveling.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top