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Best place to exchange AU$ to Euros?

Gumba

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF with my husband and two boys in March 2018
Planning a winter CF in 2019/2020
As per title where am I likely to get the best exchange rate? Home in Australia, Paris or SJPDP/Spain? I have about 150 euros (for 4 of us) and staying in a hotel the first couple of nights (prepaid) so its not imperative that I have euros straight away..

Leaving in just over 6 weeks so getting down to the nitty gritty!!

thanks
 

ConnieAdriano

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past 2016:Sarria - Santiago
Past 2018:Central CP & Finist-Muxia-SdC
Future 2020:Via Francigena
Hi there, we always exchange some aussie dollars at home so we can roll straight away when we land in any country. The other really great thing we now do is get a cash passport card or multi-currency debit card. This is separate to our regular bank cards. We slowly top it up with aussie bucks at home and nominate which currency we want it converted to on the card. We get the exchange rate on that day and get charged nothing when we use the card OS. It keeps our home accounts safe and you can have more than one currency stored on the card. Many banks, and even Australia Post do these cards. We use 'CashPassport' and have done so for years now with no issues. cash passport.com.au
Good luck on everything, been camino
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
In order to avoid the commission on the exchange rate I opened an ING Everyday account and use its debit card to withdraw money from ATM machines in Spain. ING do not charge any ATM fees and use the daily international mastercard exchange rate - whatever that happens to be. So no commission or markup.

Also any withdrawal fees charged by the operator of the ATM machine will be rebated by ING.

I used to use a Commonwealth Bank Money Card (a multi-currency debit card) but the downside was the commission on the exchange rate, and usually a charge by the operator of the ATM machine.

I also have a 28 Degree Mastercard credit card for the few places that take credit cards - large hotels! It also has no commission or mark-up on the exchange rate and is cost effective as long as you only use it for purchases (not cash withdrawals) and pay it off within the interest free period - like all true credit cards the interest rates are ruinous.

ATMs are common, so, provided you have the ability to withdraw money from a debit card, there is no need to carry large amounts of cash.

A few years ago Choice (Australian Consumers Association) did run a comparison on travel money cards, but it is probably out of date now.
 
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kaje

Member
Camino(s) past & future
No camino(s) yet. Camino Primitivo in May 2018.
Everest Base Camp April 2015
Out of curiosity, and this is not to detract from the OPS post, is it wise to carry cash in euros for the whole trip ? Thank you kindly.
 

Fletchonides

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP - Pamplona (2014)
Pamplona - Burgos (2016)
Burgos - Leon (June 2017)
Leon - SdC (June 2018)
Out of curiosity, and this is not to detract from the OPS post, is it wise to carry cash in euros for the whole trip ? Thank you kindly.
It is a balancing act between the number of days you will be walking and the amount of cash you will need. If you were walking for a week I would say that it would be OK to bring the cash, but any longer and you concentrate all your risk into a big wad of notes. Many places only take cash, but I would try and take enough for a week, and withdraw more cash when in cities like Pamplona, Burgos, Leon etc.
 

Gumba

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF with my husband and two boys in March 2018
Planning a winter CF in 2019/2020
Thanks ConnyAdriano - have never heard of CashPassports - will look into it.

Kanga, thanks for the tip on ING - I have an account which I haven't used for ages - I will resurrect it! We have a 28 Degree Mastercard; as we plan to stay in hotels most of the time, we are hoping it will get more use.

kaje, not really sure what you mean - are you questioning carrying money or the currency of euros?

Fletchonides - herein lies my problem... I dont know how much money (cash) to carry... We are a family of 4 walking, but we are staying mostly in hotels (some albergues with private rooms) so.. dont need money for albergues, but there are 4 mouths to feed - 2 of us needing coffee and wine! We are planning to give the kids 5 euros/day for spending money for their own snacks/drinks and to keep some aside to buy trinkets in Santiago/Madrid on the way home..
 

kaje

Member
Camino(s) past & future
No camino(s) yet. Camino Primitivo in May 2018.
Everest Base Camp April 2015
@Gumba
My humble apologies if my queation seemed vague. I was asking about the possibility of taking lump sum cash in euros for the entire duration of the trip vs having to continously withdraw from ATMS, or paying by card.
 

Gumba

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF with my husband and two boys in March 2018
Planning a winter CF in 2019/2020
Oh! Sorry kaje, I see what you mean. I have yet to walk however the popular belief is to carry enough for a few days for safety reasons..
 

kayagee66

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
Le Puy - Roncesvalles (2016)
Figeac - Cahors (2017)
Stevenson Trail (2018
@Gumba
My humble apologies if my queation seemed vague. I was asking about the possibility of taking lump sum cash in euros for the entire duration of the trip vs having to continously withdraw from ATMS, or paying by card.
It all depends on the risk you want to take of losing your money or having it stolen. Personally i don't think there is a big risk, but there is always some. I always carried around €500. I've heard of things being stolen, but i don't recall any stories of people being robbed from the person. I'm sure it happens rarely.
There is a risk of pickpockets in cities. I always kept my cash on me. Never in a bag i might leave or get stolen.
There is no accounting for stupidity though. I was sleeping in my shorts once and the money belt thing that was in my pocket was digging in my leg. So i took it out and strapped it to the bunk bed next to my head.
When i got up next morning i left without it. Didn't realise until i'd walked for 4 hours.
I rang the albergue and they found it. I took a taxi back to pick it up. It contained my passport, bank cards, all that cash that i had apart from around €40 in notes and change that i like to have handy at all times.
Take money, passport etc everywhere with you. Toilet, shower etc.
 

kayagee66

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
Le Puy - Roncesvalles (2016)
Figeac - Cahors (2017)
Stevenson Trail (2018
If, like me, you keep a day's money in your pocket, say €40 for example. When you go to a shop or bar or wherever you want to spend money, you won't need to get a big wad of cash out that might be seen by an opportunist.
 

kayagee66

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
Le Puy - Roncesvalles (2016)
Figeac - Cahors (2017)
Stevenson Trail (2018
Always try to keep a stock of loose change. It comes in very handy often. I've seen many irate cafe/bar owners with no change because everyone has handed over 10's and 20's for a €1.50 drink.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Generally the camino is a cash economy. Private tourist accommodations usually accept cards but at most albergues you pay in cash. ATMs are found in most of the major villages and towns. Never carry a lot of cash but always have some tucked away ONLY for emergencies.

Whatever your budget and whichever card(s) the emergency cash need not be much but might be very useful when an intense storm knocks all power out and no ATM works or during a long holiday weekend when the machines are 'milked dry'. As always it helps to be prepared!

See this earlier form thread for more info re ATMs along the CF way.
www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/atms-on-camino-frances.46635/

Good luck and Buen camino!
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
There are multiple threads regarding daily expenses. 20 to 30 Euros per day seems to be the norm but that includes lodging, so assuming you are using a credit card to pay for hotels/hostals that accept them a family of four is going to require about 40 to 80 Euros/day for food, etc.
 

frasert

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
April/May 2013 SJPDP to Burgos
April/May 2015 Burgos to SDC or Leon to Finesterre (undecided)
+1 for ING everyday account
I just used through USA and all those horrendous $5 USD were rebated back from any ATM
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
As per title where am I likely to get the best exchange rate? Home in Australia, Paris or SJPDP/Spain? I have about 150 euros (for 4 of us) and staying in a hotel the first couple of nights (prepaid) so its not imperative that I have euros straight away..
Leaving in just over 6 weeks so getting down to the nitty gritty!!
thanks
G'day @Gumba - only one place - here in Oz. You are unlikely to be able to change money in St Jean and in Paris (CDG Airport especially) you will get a poorer rate. Have you tried pre-ordering (on line) from Travel-Ex Money Exchange or considered getting a Travel Money Card (CBA issue them through Master Card) - you can load them with international currencies - euro / US dollars / GB Pounds etc. They then function as a debit card - however most major banks in Spain (Santana! ) will charge you a E2.20 fee to use their ATMs - smaller regional banks and private ATMs will charge up to E5.00
Hope this helps. Cheers
(Oh one other point - don't forget to tell your bank that you will be travelling o/s - tell them all the countries you will be going to and the approximate dates. It can save an embarisment of having your credit or debit cards declined). ;)
 

Boot of the Beast

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017 Camino Frances
Some of the ATMs really sting you with fees. I read somewhere that Deutsche Bank didn't have fees on ATM transactions. You can find them in larger towns. Also if you buy something on your credit card don't choose the option of paying in A$ as this is nothing more than an invitation to accept their shonky exchange rather than that of your own bank.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Camino (2016), French Camino (2015), Northern Camino (2017)
In order to avoid the commission on the exchange rate I opened an ING Everyday account and use its debit card to withdraw money from ATM machines in Spain. ING do not charge any ATM fees and use the daily international mastercard exchange rate - whatever that happens to be. So no commission or markup.

Also any withdrawal fees charged by the operator of the ATM machine will be rebated by ING.

I used to use a Commonwealth Bank Money Card (a multi-currency debit card) but the downside was the commission on the exchange rate, and usually a charge by the operator of the ATM machine.

I also have a 28 Degree Mastercard credit card for the few places that take credit cards - large hotels! It also has no commission or mark-up on the exchange rate and is cost effective as long as you only use it for purchases (not cash withdrawals) and pay it off within the interest free period - like all true credit cards the interest rates are ruinous.

ATMs are common, so, provided you have the ability to withdraw money from a debit card, there is no need to carry large amounts of cash.

A few years ago Choice (Australian Consumers Association) did run a comparison on travel money cards, but it is probably out of date now.
Kanga is right, ING works wonders in both Australia and Spain, and their fees are very small if you tell them you're gonna travel. I used both ING CC and Commonwealth Money Card and the fees with Commonwealth were just too high.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
Addendum - beware - always make sure you get your withdrawal in the local currency - say "no" when the machine asks if you want the machine to convert your currency. You want your own bank to do the converting, not the ATM machine.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
...I always carried around €500. I've heard of things being stolen, but i don't recall any stories of people being robbed from the person. I'm sure it happens rarely.
There is a risk of pickpockets in cities. I always kept my cash on me. Never in a bag i might leave or get stolen.
.
Sadly yes, there have been a few reports of large thefts of cash - some nationalities do carry wads of euros, and I've heard of one person who was robbed in an albergue. The reported amount was several thousand euros, the entire amount the person thought was necessary for the trip.

There are ATMs at least every few days. I withdraw about 200 euros and replenish as necessary. Make that 300 if it is France!
 

Alan Pearce

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones 2008, del Norte 2009, VdlP 2011, Ingles 2014, Camino de Madri 2015, Frances 2017
I always get about 300 euro at a time, both to start my trip with, and later when topping up in Spain. I get my cash in Australia from my local Post Office, where they claim to give you the best exchange rate [certainly better than the banks] available in Australia. They also promise to have the money available for you to pick up from the branch within 2 working days.

I have used the Cash Passport for years, and although their exchange rate is worse than some it only adds about 25 euro to the overall cost of my trip each time.. Last year when I had to get a replacement card sent to me in Spain - don't ask why! - it arrived in Santiago within 2 days of my phone call.

Alan

Be brave. Life is joyous.
 

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