Avoid buying currency at airports, warns watchdog

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by sobore, May 29, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.e-tid.com/avoid-airport-exchange-rates-warns-watchdog/79601/

    Which? research shows that travellers get ‘a significantly better deal’ by ordering currency in advance online to collect at the airport.

    The consumer body warned: ‘This year’s holidaymakers should avoid exchange their travel money at airports bureaux de change or they could lose out on their foreign currency.

    ‘Airport exchange rates are notoriously poor, but Which? found that you could get a significantly better deal by ordering in advance online and collecting when you fly.’

    Which? researchers checked exchange rates at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and Manchester over a six-week period and found airport bureaux de changes offered ‘persistently low rates’, worse than high street outlets and much less than online.

    However, it noted that Travelex and American Express only require four hours’ notice for advance online ordering, ‘so it’s possible to cut things fine and still get a good deal’ if travellers want to collect their cash at the airport.

    For those who prefer to buy their foreign currency face-to-face, Which? said: ‘There are good deals to be found on the high street, although our research suggests that shopping around is worthwhile.’

    Read More: http://www.e-tid.com/avoid-airport-exchange-rates-warns-watchdog/79601/
     
  2. Counsellor
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    Counsellor Gold Member

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    That exchange offices in airports frequently offer less favorable rates than elsewhere ranks right up there with "Sun rises in the east" as a startling news story. :D

    And I'm not sure that buying foreign currency in your home country is such a bargain, either. A few years back I needed to go to Rio (OK, maybe "wanted to" is better than "needed to" but anyway . . . ), so I priced Reals with AmEx, to be picked up at one of their offices in Washington, DC. I found their rate to be awful, particularly compared to that reported in oanda or the Financial Times!

    I have a "no transaction fee" credit card (two in fact, one from Chase and one from Citi). Also have a bank ATM card. Used those on the trip, either using the ATM card for walking-around cash at about 1.5% exchange fee, or occasionally picked up the dinner tab for the group and got (local) currency from the other members of the dinner party to cover their shares. That gave me walking-around money at no exchange fee, and also earned me points on the "spend" charged to my credit card.

    Much better alternatives.
     
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  3. DTWBOB

    DTWBOB Silver Member

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    Why is this news?

    DTWBOB
     
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  4. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Because not everyone is a seasoned traveler and it is advice that bears repeating.
     
  5. Aktchi
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    Aktchi Silver Member

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    I would be an embarrassment to educated travelers, but I need so little forex that I usually just opt for convenience. For a one week trip to Tokyo, for example, I would change $100-$200 at NRT upon arrival, for misc cash expenses. The rest goes on credit cards. If I need more cash, I would use an ATM in the city.
     
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  6. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Why not use an ATM at the airport instead of the exchange place? Don't think they are more convenient than the machines, and certainly I haven't found them to be cheaper.
     
  7. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    Between my no surcharge credit card, and my rebate-ATM-surcharge ATM card, currently Argentina is the only country where I obtain funds via other, more favorable, methods.
     
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  8. Aktchi
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    Aktchi Silver Member

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    I have done that too, but ATMs generally spit out large bills. Dealing with a person at a counter, I can get the right currency mix for phone calls, beverage vending machines, etc. (they don't like to make change if you are not their customer). On $100, the differential is not worth worrying about. As I said, I just go by need and convenience.

    If I need money in town a few days later, by then I have plenty of coins, maybe that's all I have left, :) and just need more money, so large bills from ATMs are just fine.
     
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  9. Street Smart Traveler

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    Agreed, I prefer to use ATMs at airports. If I really have to exchange cash, I only get the bare minimum: just enough to pay for transport into town and buy my first meal. Then I go to a bank or a money-exchange place with good rates to get a bigger amount.

    I went to Bangkok and Hong Kong so many times, I had my favorite money exchange shops in those cities that I'd hit up on every visit. Happy to share if anyone needs more info. Just send me a private message.
     

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