Euro Sense: When and Where to Buy Euros?

by Parisgirl on January 15, 2008

by Parisgirl | January 15th, 2008  

euro.jpeg
How low can the dollar go? I wish I could bling my magic wand and tell you that by summertime the dollar will soar like an eagle, but sadly, I have no such promises for you. Remember this is reality – here and now in January, 2008 – not reality TV.
I am much less optimistic than the Oxford Club report was, way back when, at the beginning of 2005, for example.

So, here’s my advice to any Parislogue readers contemplating an upcoming trip to Paris: Buy as much of your trip as possible in dollars i.e. dare I say this? Consider package tours. I know for those of you who are freewheeling types, this may come as a shock, but considering the cost of airfare to Paris, which is going to be one of your major expenses, why not combine airfare with a fixed hotel room rate? I noticed Air France’s site offers a ‘Bon Appetit‘ five day trip which includes, airfare, airport to hotel transfers, hotel accommodation, daily continental breakfast, a walking tour, a cooking class, and a hand-made chocolate class with a French host. All this for under $2000, depending on your hotel choice. Their second option, the ‘Paris Affair’ includes a Bateaux Mouches river cruise and a night on the town at the Paradis Latin.
So, that’s my first word of advice is:
Buy as much of your trip in dollars, i.e. airfare, hotel lodging, excursions, car rentals before you go.

How and where to buy Euros before you go:
In never hurts to have some Euros in your pocket (by the way Euros are becoming more and more the ‘currency of choice’ worldwide so you can keep your Euros for future trips).

My advice in past posts is to buy some Euros in advance at your local bank. (When I last wrote my last Buying Euros post, you could buy 700 Euros with 1000 U.S. Dollars. Today, Jan. 15, 2008, you can’t even get 650 Euros.

HSBC is one bank that I questioned about buying Euros. HSBC does sell Euros to its bank customers. Be sure to ask your bank about any fees and make sure they’re competitive (and convenient) with such services as AAA (American Automobile Association) which charges a 2% fee based on the amount of the transaction. AAA offices can get the money to you overnight – some banks take, would you believe – a week?

http://www.parislogue.com/travel-tips/buying-euros-before-you-go.html

How does this compare with an online service such as Travelex.com? Well, here’s today’s example.
The current exchange rate is 1.00 US to .675 Euros.
For an exchange of 1000.00 US to Euros, AAA quoted me a 662 Euros AFTER a 2% transaction fee.
Compare that to Travelex which offered me 622.91 over the internet. (on Jan 15, 2008)

Using Credit Cards and Cash Machines in France

Yes. Use them – within reason.
The common advice is to use your credit card for most transactions while in France. Fine and good if you have a credit card (some of us travelers don’t) Paying on credit also means that you’ll come home from your dream vacation with a whole bunch of bills to pay. So, I’ll be unorthodox here and suggest paying as much up front as you can. Splurge on one really good meal (where you might want to use a credit card) Note: American Express is less and less used in Europe these days. Mastercard and Visa are both accepted practically everywhere. Discover Card is not accepted in Europe. If you’re using a credit card at cash machines, you’ll need to know your four-digit pin number, however at restaurants and shops, you can still authorize with your signature in most cases.
Bon Appetit Tour

Package Includes
Round-trip airfare on Air France
6-night hotel accommodations in Paris
Round-trip shared transfer from airport to hotel
St-Germain-des-Pres gourmandise walking tour
Cooking class on French cuisine
Hand-made chocolate class with French host
Paris city map
Continental breakfast daily
Hotel taxes and service charges
Airline fuel surcharges

Paris Affair

Package Includes
Round-trip airfare on Air France
6-night hotel accommodations in Paris
Round-trip shared transfer from airport to hotel
Continental breakfast daily
Hotel taxes and service charges
Bateaux Mouches River Cruise
Paradis Latin Show with Glass of Champagne
Paris city map
Airline fuel surcharges

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