Do We Need to Get Euros Before We Leave for a Trip to Germany?
A trip to Germany is expensive enough without the additional costs of exchanging money. At home, exchange counters in airports will charge you fees and commissions when you trade in your dollars for euros. However, you don't want to land in Germany without any local currency in your wallet. Get some euros before you leave for your trip to Germany, but only enough to cover your initial arrival expenses. It's better to get most of your euros from ATM machines after you land.
Buying Euros in America
When you land in Germany, you'll have immediate expenses such as a taxi ride to the center of town or a snack in the airport while you wait for your hotel shuttle. Use an ATM at the airport, or have a stash of euros available when you land. You can exchange money at the airport before you leave the United States at a money counter in the terminal. To sell dollars and buy euros you will have to pay a conversion fee charged by the company changing your money. Some cities also have currency exchange centers located in malls or business districts where you can buy euros for less before you go to the airport. Check with your local bank as well, where you'll get a better exchange rate than at the airport.
Buying Euros in Germany
The best place to get euros once you arrive in Germany is through an ATM machine. Just like in the U.S., ATMs are everywhere in Germany – airports, hotels, train stations and attached to banks and other commercial centers. Fodor's recommends ATM machines as the cheapest way to convert dollars to euros, even though most banks will charge a fee for foreign withdrawals. If you are uncomfortable using an ATM in Germany, you can go into the bank to exchange dollars, cash in traveler's checks or have a teller withdraw euros from your account. You can also find banks willing to exchange money inside post offices.
Credit and Debit Cards
Call your credit card company and the bank that issues your debit card before you leave for Germany to let them know you will be using your cards there. You can also ask the representative about the fees you will be charged for withdrawing cash or making purchases in Germany. Paying for large expenses by credit card will ensure you get the best exchange rate. Paying by plastic also means you don't have to worry about counting your euros or exchanging your dollars.
Keep a small supply of U.S. dollars with you when you go to Germany. Dollars are good to have on hand in case of an emergency or if you are unable to get any local currency. Retailers and restaurants often don't accept traveler's checks anymore, but you can exchange them for euros at most banks. Pay attention to exchange rates before you leave and after you arrive. Current rates can be found via your bank or online.