Posted by: marymarthatours | August 18, 2013

Money Matters, 2013

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For those of you traveling with us this year on the Quilts & Textiles of England & Wales Tour, or if you are planning your own trip to the UK, I have some great news. The US dollar is currently stronger against the pound than it has been for two years.

I aim to share with you some money smarts in this blog entry and point you in the direction of some sources with more detailed information. You might want to “bookmark” the websites I am passing on for future reference.

Currency Exchange Rates:

I like to track the comparative value of the dollar to the pound and Euro by watching one of the many on-line currency converter sites. I like the following one:www.oanda.com because it has a graph to compare the two currencies over 30, 60, and 90 days to watch the trends. In 2008, the pound was worth $2.00; now the pound is worth about $1.55. It’s like having 25% more money in your wallet. Just think of all the fabric or gifts you can now afford to purchase and bring home!

Traveling with Money:

There is no safer, easier or cheaper way to travel with money than by using your debit and credit cards. Unless you like to give away your money, do not use foreign money exchange services; you will pay them a high fee for the service. ATM machines are all over Europe and at all airports. Use debit cards to obtain cash from cash machines and credit cards for store purchases. Write down the information from the back of your cards and keep it separate from the cards. I take several cards just in case a machine “eats” a card or for any reason a card does not work or is “lost”. If the card is lost or stolen, you’ll have the information for contacting the company. Be sure to contact your bank and/or credit card company before you leave on your trip to alert them that you will be using your cards in distant locations. This will prevent your company from blocking use of your card as theft prevention. An excellent source of detailed information on traveling with money is my Seattle area neighbor, Rick Steves’, “Money 101” article: http://www.ricksteves.com (go to “Plan Your Trip” then to “Travel Tips” then to “Money Matters” then to “Money 101”.

Money Safety:

Technology has done great things for we honest folk, but it’s also being utilized by thieves.  ATM machines can be compromised and scanning equipment allows thieves to take the numbers off your cards even while they are in your wallet.  We recommend that you avoid using the ATM at airports and train stations if possible.  And carry any cards which uses RFID (Radio Frequency Idenification) technology in a RFID blocking case, wallet, or passport pouch.  Rick and the following site have good information on how to travel safely with your money. This website is packed with good advice — leave it to the young to know all the ins and outs. http://studenttravel.about.com/Ir/travel_money (go to “Travel Money Matters”)

Money Etiquette:

Before you travel to other countries check out matters regarding money etiquette and safety in that particular country. Find out about: tipping, how to pay for food at restaurants, the risk of pickpockets and scams, the safety issues of using on-street ATMs, etc. If you are traveling to The Czech Republic or Slovakia, I would be happy to share with you some helpful money-related information for these countries.

Martha’s Advice:

Travel to Europe now while the dollar is strong and always travel Money Smart.

(by Martha)

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