We are leaving on the 12th of July '14 on the Paris and Provence tour. I would like some advice on how much money to take with me. Where is the best place to exchange into Euros? Likewise on returning, where is the best place to change back into dollars? My wife and I made a trip to Paris, Geneva, and Florence many years ago. We consulted books in the library for rental apartments in these locations. It was our goal to live like the locals, use laundramats, etc. My wife spoke very little French, but the people were very understanding and helpful. We had many interesting experiences, such as getting on the wrong train and everyone gasping and offering advice. Whatever went wrong was viewed as an opportunity to learn and enjoy, This trip will offer many different experiences that I am sure we will also enjoy. But, I highly recommend the unguided tour to see the way locals enjoy their country.


  • edited July 2014
    In general, regardless of country, the best place to get cash is at an ATM. We start by getting 200 (Euros, Francs, etc.) at the airport upon arrival and get more later if and when we need it. They usually give the best and most current exchange rate.
  • I get starting money from AAA and hit ATM or use my Capitol 1 credit card. I have manged to end up with no money to exchange on the way home.
  • We've never gotten any Euros or other currencies ahead of time. We always get the new currency at an ATM after we arrive. If we have leftover Euros or whatever other foreign currency is involved, we leave it as part of the tour director's or driver's tip. Because we put most purchases on our Capital One card, we rarely need a lot of the foreign currency.
  • did anyone have problem using ATM's with a regular credit card versus the newer, less available chip and PIN cards?
  • Definitely going to an ATM is the way to go. I'd recommend letting your bank know ahead of time that you're traveling and where you'll be. My bank was able to give me "sister" banks where I did not incur any extra fees.
  • edited March 2015
    Plainfield wrote:
    did anyone have problem using ATM's with a regular credit card versus the newer, less available chip and PIN cards?

    While Europe is shifting to this (Chip & Pin), we haven't encountered an ATM which wouldn't accept non-chipped or Chip & Signature cards. Anecdotally, the card issue seems to be greatest at what might be viewed as locally-focused unmanned POS terminals like subway stations. Many US card companies now offer the Chip & Signature cards which we've been using (primarily because they are also no foreign transaction fee cards) without difficulty, but our ATM bank card is straight swipe-strip.

    Just a guess, but since ATMs get used by tourists as well as locals, they seem to be more US-friendly (since we're the main hold-out for Chip & Pin...huge POS base which needs to be updated to accommodate them here).

    You should be fine.
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