Subject: Re: High cost of Euros at US bank

My advice would be to not pay the usurious exchange rates of most U.S. Banks. Every major airport in Europe will have an easily accessible and easily usable ATM. Just ask as soon as you clear customs.

To use an ATM in Europe, make sure you have a 4 digit PIN. Also the ATM will only be able to access your checking account, not a linked savings account. You should be able to have 300 Euros in your pocket within minutes of landing, and at an exchange rate commensurate with the best Interbank rate (plus perhaps to 1 percent.) Getting coins would be a problem no matter the method you use, however. Buy a cup of coffee in the airport with one of your newly minted Euro bills; you'll need it, and you should get some coins in change.

If you are still nervous, carry some traveller's checks with you. The worst case would be that you have to cash them at one of the ubiquitous currency exchange banks at every airport. Even there your exchange rate will be far better than what you'd get from your bank in Wyoming. In truth though, I haven't carried traveller's checks with me to Europe in years. It is totally unnecessary, since ATMs are absolutely everywhere.

Joel, in Chicago