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We're going to London...exchanging $...ouch!

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We plan to travel with two of our daughters to London, and I have only just figured out how much money it's going to cost to get, well, money, in pounds, that is. I tried to exchange for some at my bank and discovered that they charge the usual 3% conversion fee PLUS an additional $13. Our debit card will also be expensive, charging the 3% and also $5 for each time we need to get money from an ATM in London. The credit cards might work, especially AMEX, which charges only 2%, but we'll need some cash in pounds to get from the airport to the hotel, right? Any suggestions on the best way to minimize the gouging??


Thanks, as always!



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Are you a AAA member? I've always done my pre-travel purchases of currency there.


And, despite the inconvenience, I still carry Traveler's Cheques abroad rather than use my debit or credit card. Too many people I know got stuck when their card was eaten by the machine.


And, especially in someplace like London, the AMEX office is easy to find for cashing the cheques with a minimum of hassle.


Just my $0.02. :)

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Same here. We ordered currency through AAA before we went and brought AMEX travelers checks that we got at our credit union. The credit union didn't charge us a fee to get the checks and we got them in 100s. Then in London we cashed some every day or two as we went. The AMEX offices didn't charge any fees at the time we went and the exchange rate was supposed to be reasonable. I have heard that tweezers might work to get stuck cards out of ATM machines, but we never used an ATM in London. We did use VISA for purchases, but not for withdrawals.

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I can't find the article on CNN now, but I'm pretty sure they recommended Capital One as a credit card you can use abroad without extra fees. I would call them and ask. Also, I would not try to use a debit card abroad because it does not offer the protection against theft that a credit card does (and also doesn't give you protection in case something breaks or isn't up to par).

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