Exchange rates can be good or bad and are usually very ugly! A vacation can suddenly cost you much more because you exchanged money at the wrong place.
Most people are unaware of how expensive exchange rates can be. The World Bank sets rates each day. These are what we see on the Internet. Everyone charges higher rates than these so they can make money. The question is how much higher. Exchange booths at the airports are the worst. DO NOT USE THESE PLACES! You could pay as much as 25% higher than the World Bank Rate. That means a Euro rate of 1 Euro costing you $1.10 would really cost you $1.38 or $.28 cents more on every dollar you spend. A $3,000 vacation becomes $ 3,840. Could use have used that extra $840? Banks are the lowest but their rates vary a lot. Shop around. Banks that don’t stock foreign currency will charge their suppliers rate plus add their own on or charge a flat fee.
On top of that many credit cards charge a fee on top of their already inflated rates. Today many credit cards are offering no fee foreign purchases. This does not include getting cash at an ATM! The extra fee is dropped but they still inflate the World Bank Rate. These cards however, are usually your best rate for foreign purchases. Shop around for the best card.
If you are moving very large amounts of money like to buy a home beware! 100,000 euro purchase would, at the above rates, cost you $138,00. That is $28,000 over the World Bank Rate. There are brokers in the UK and some in the US that will give you World Bank Rates for large amounts of exchange and NO fees. You send them dollars and they place Euros into your foreign bank account.
Every dollar you save can help pay for your trip. Exchange your left over Euros back to dollars is very ugly. You lose another 25% on the exchange or more. These Euros cost you an amazing 50%. We go to Italy so often we never change Euros back to dollars. We just hold on to them until the next vacation. If we need a few Euros so we would have some cash in Europe, we would order money at a local bank with favorable rates. Then charge most things in Europe on our no fee credit card.
George & Jo Anne