Where to do foreign exchange?

@tolted (191)
May 12, 2010 10:40am CST
Hi guys, before you travel abroad where do you do your foreign exchange? I will soon be travelling from the UK to the United States and need to change some money from pounds to dollars. Please can you tell me where to explore apart from the airport (too expensive!!!). I am looking for where I can get the cheapest exchange rates. Thank you in advance.
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5 responses
• United States
12 May 10
For foreign exchange when it comes down to money its mainly at the airports is where you can exchange your money into ours. Or you have to find a bank that will exchange your money to dollars. I have never traveled out of the State. But many people have told me those are the best places to exchange money at.
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@owlwings (42016)
• Cambridge, England
12 May 10
Airports are ALWAYS the most expensive place to buy foreign currency. The cheapest is usually a prepaid card for the country you are visiting followed by foreign currency from your bank (or other local banks). In the UK, the Post Office is quite competitive but I don't know if the USPS does a similar 'no-commission' deal for ready cash. It's never a good idea to carry a large amount of currency with you unless your hotel (or whatever) has a safe storage for the bulk of it. The fact that you can use Mastercard and Visa nearly anywhere is probably worth the small extra you pay on transactions (unless they are very small or very large).
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@tolted (191)
12 May 10
thanks strawberry. i agree with owlwings...the airport is pretty expensive so I won't be trying them. A bank seems to be a better option. cheers!
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• United States
12 May 10
Your very welcome.
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@maximax8 (30126)
• United Kingdom
12 May 10
You could find out the rate of exchange from Thomas Cook, a number of different banks and the post office. You are likely to get better deals on the high street than at the airport. Very often commission is charged. I find it useful to get large amount of low value notes rather than a few notes of a high value. One dollar notes are wonderful when I can get them. Also ten and twenty dollar notes are fantastic. I hope that you will have an excellent time in America. I shall be visiting Canada next month. So I will getting hold of Canadian dollars soon.
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@tolted (191)
12 May 10
Thanks for the thomas cook idea. I obviousily have to do some investigation before I decide on what route to take. I have heard about checking the high street as well. Why do you think large amount of low value notes are better than few notes of a high value. Am curious? Have fun in Canada :)
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@owlwings (42016)
• Cambridge, England
12 May 10
I found that the best was the Post Office. You do have to balance commission and exchange rates (the PO has no commission but may have slightly higher exchange rates). Don't forget that your Debit or Credit card works in the US (so long as it's one of the universally accepted cards) and that you can get cash from ATMs in the States. There is a commission charge for drawing cash and for paying by card (plus your bank's conversion rates, of course). I, personally, found those charges acceptable, but you may find that a better solution for you might be a prepaid card that you can load from your Current Account to be used specifically in US Dollars. It is never a good idea, of course, to carry large amounts of cash with you. It depends a lot on where you are going, how long you intend to be there and whether you have a safe place (when you are there) to store the bulk of the cash that you don't intend to carry in your pocket.
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@tolted (191)
12 May 10
Ok so post office, prepaid card or using my debit card. Those are my options so far. I need to make a decision, FAST! I agree carrying large amount of cash is a bad idea. Thanks for the reminder though.
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@oldchem1 (8144)
12 May 10
Think the Post Office is about he best there is no commisssion charges at all there
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@tolted (191)
12 May 10
I have tried to post office once but I think there exchange rate is high. Thanks for the info though
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@Transformed (1262)
• United States
14 May 10
For getting currency for the desired country, make the trip and once arriving to the country, find a place that does an exchange of currencies. There are dozens of them in the major cities of most places.
@tolted (191)
19 May 10
thanks but my understanding is that it is cheaper to change in your country before travelling or am i misinformed?