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Have you used a Travelex card?


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Hi everyone!

I won't be doing the Camino for a little while yet but I am conscious of the world's economy changing so drastically that I would like to begin to buy euros while the rate is still more reasonable than I believe it will be in the future.

I did some research and it appears that once can buy a Travelex cash passport for a flat rate of $10 and a minimal fee for your initial order and you can add money to it any time (presumably a good thing to do if the exchange rate goes in the USD's favor) with no further fees.

Is this true? Also, if you used this card while on the Camino how did that work out for you?
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My thoughts at the moment are that the Euro still has a way to fall in value. The economic situation in Europe is BAD. Greece is the worst and may even be forced to leave the Euro. After Greece comes Spain - severely hit by the cessation of the construction industry which has been Spain's salvation for the last twenty years.
My gut feeling would be not to buy Euros at the moment ....
Buen camino!

We bought one and brought it to Spain with us, but I lost my Visa card and Travelex would not accept American Express when I wanted to restock the card. Also, along the Camino, most of your purchases will be too small for the store or albergue to let you use the card. I could only use it for purchases over 20 Euro. So in the end we just used our debit card to withdraw cash and used the cash for everything. Of course Bank of America is soaking is with fees, but we're a stuck with them!
I used the Travelex card on my camino last year. I always paid in cash for what I needed and withdrew money as I went, usually every 5-6 days. I have 1000 euro left on the card for my trip later this year, which is more than I will need, so I hope the euro stays strong so I can spend the remainder next year. Just in case the euro does falter I will also take with me this year a debit card from an Australian bank and if needs be use it in the same fashion. The bank card however charges a higher [lower?] conversion rate and also charges $4.50 each time I withdraw money.


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Hi lynmcd

I used a Travelex card to withdraw cash as many places would not accept it for small payments. The disadvantages outweighs the advantages: there are service fees for every transaction; my bank charges fees for every top up of the travelex card; the actual exchange rate is not clearly shown; commissions are charged for every withdrawal unless it is from a travelex outlet which are far and few on the Camino; you have to put in a large amount to hedge against currency fluctuation; when you withdraw money you may find that funds have been used up as there is no clear record of the balance after every withdrawal.

For a worry free travel use your bank debit card for the odd travel, if you travel a lot in foreign places then there may be worthwhile considering using the Travelex card. Travelex has now changed to issuing a Mastercard cash card, you can get these cards from your bank without tying you to Travelex.
Thanks, all! Guess I'll just do some smart withdrawls along the way and eat the fees as opposed to potential hassles.

Gosh...will Spain even be using euros by the time I get there??? :shock:
A Euro is already 10 cents less than I paid in April, so do not rush to buy any! The ATM fees and exchange rate vigorish from your bank are considerably less than the cost at an airport or city currency exchange. The ATM fee is the same if you get 20E or 300E, so minimize the number of transactions. Be sure to inform your bank that you will be using your card in France, Spain, and/or Portugal. They may deny your transactions if you don't.
I have used it every year since 2008, but only for withdrawing cash from ATMs. I have had no problems. Yes the fees are high, but so is the convenience.
Our card was a Travel Money Card, Pre-paid Mastercard. It cost 2 euros per withdrawal and the maximum per day was 250 euros, so we withdrew the maximum each time at the ATM making sure that we used a Mastercard ATM.
There was no fee to load with euros, but a minimum of 100 euros per charge up, which was OK. They would also send money by Western Union if the card was reported lost/stolen.

We withdrew the euros as we left Spain and cashed the last of my card in when we got home. We also checked online that there were no hidden ATM charges or 'odd transactions' and the log-in system was very secure. We looked at other options but this worked best for us. We also carried a credit card but hardly used it. Spain is very much a cash economy in many places.

Note that this was a UK issued card. I have had a Travelex which worked in a similar way.
How to Successfully Prepare for Your Camino
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
The Travelex cards really have only one purpose - to make purchases at automated kiosks and vending machines (parking structures, train stations, some bike rentals) that require a European-style chip-and-PIN card. It is not wise to use them as cash sources, I don't think -- use the ATM or debit card instead. I do carry one, with a few hundred euros on it, as a supplement to my other cards. And it worked well in the train and metro stations.

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