Is It a Good Time to Visit Spain (from a Currency Point of View)?

As much as I love seeing the variety of colors and faces across international currency, knowing when and how to exchange money abroad can be quite the dilemma. Traveling to Spain or elsewhere in the Eurozone? Today’s guest post from Peter Lavelle should help you decide if now’s the best time to exchange your money for euros.

Money, money, money, money...

Money, money, money, money… (photo credit)

Are you a planning a holiday to Spain, for a week of sol, surf and sangria? Or, like Kirstie, do you intend to relocate to Spain entirely, and live la vida Madrileña (it’s like la vida loca, but with more Ana Botella.) If so, in between packing your bags, jotting down all the great things you want to see and do, and brushing up on your Spanish, you’ll need to exchange currencies. And, until Spain decides “¡Basta ya!” with the whole shared currency business and relaunches the peseta, that means getting your hands on some euros. Given this, how can you make sure you’re getting the highest euro total for your pounds, US dollars or whatever currency you’re starting with? In short, is it a good time for you to exchange currencies? Find out, with the article below!

Is it a good time to exchange…

1. … pounds for euros?
You bet it is! Just last week Britain’s pound sterling hit a 9-month high against the Eurozone’s common currency, of 1.20. Moreover, odds are good that the pound will push even higher in the coming weeks, and in 2014. Why? Because the UK’s economy has awoken from its 5-year slumber, and is currently expanding at the fastest pace in the industrialised world! So, whether you’ve got your heart set on a fortnight on the Costa del Sol, or planning inmersión total en la lengua Castellana by moving to Spain, you can be sure you’ll get a good exchange rate.

2. … US dollars for euros?
Not so much, I’ve got to admit. America’s greenback is currently at its weakest against the euro in 9 months and, in the short term at least, could get weaker. “Whyzzat?” I hear you ask. For one, it’s because for the first time since 2010, the financial markets aren’t running around like headless chickens scared that the euro might collapse. Truth be told, the common currency is looking more solid than it’s done in quite some time. Second, just as the Eurozone has bid “Buenas noches, por fin” to its crisis, the United States is saying “Hola, ¿qué tal?” to its own. Rumours that the US might not raise its debt ceiling, and hence not pay its debts, are weighing on the dollar like the albatross on the shoulders of Coleridge’s mariner. With this in mind, if you’re in the US, and thinking of coming to Spain, I’d hold off before you buy your euros!

Walter White wonders if Lydia is wise in expanding the trade to Europe. If only he had this post.

Walter White wonders if Lydia is wise in expanding the trade to Europe. If only he had this post. (photo credit)

3. … Canadian dollars for euros?
Alas, no. Canada’s loonie dollar (as its known, because of the image of a water fowl on the $1 coin) is now lower than at any time in 11 months versus the common currency. However, this doesn’t have a tremendous amount to do with Canada itself, strangely enough, but the fact that Canada’s economy is so inextricably tied to America’s. In other words, so long as the debt ceiling is making headlines in the 50 States, you can expect the Canadian dollar to stay weak against the euro. So, if you’re Canadian and want to go to Spain, wait til the US Congress gets its act together before you exchange currencies!

4. … Australian dollars for euros?
Tie me kangaroo down, sport, it’s a good time to buy euros! The Aussie dollar presently stands at 0.70 against the common currency, the highest since July. This is because, though Australia’s economy has seen better days (there’s talk of recession Down Under, for the first time since 1992), Australians still have it far better than Greeks, Portuguese or Spaniards, where living standards have fallen  precipitously since 2008 and unemployment is sky-high. Given this, the Lucky Country may not be as lucky as it once was, but the Australian dollar still trumps the euro, which is great if you’re going to Spain!

Oh, the money here is just too pretty! I can't take it!

Oh, the money here is just too pretty! I can’t take it! (photo credit)

5. … New Zealand dollars for euros?
Who said a kiwi couldn’t fly? New Zealand’s kiwi dollar is at 0.6150 against the euro at the time of writing, close to its highest in 4 months. Why? Because New Zealand’s economy is going absolutely gangbusters following the earthquake in Canterbury in 2011, what with all the reconstruction. So, while a natural disaster is hardly the ideal reason for an economy to be doing well, there’s no doubt it’s giving the New Zealand dollar a lift. Which, of course, means you’ll get far more euros when you exchange currencies!

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¡Que disfrutes de España!

5 Responses

  1. Ma says:

    well the Euro is always quite strong so North Americans will get little money when changing it, whereas it is quite good for Europeans visiting the USA.

    as for the best time for money exchange, it really depends on the place you change it…it must be an official site like a bank where you always get the exact amount (back in 2010 i made some change at Philadelphia airport and i got “robbed” because i received less dollars than i expected, and it was illegal because the guy didn’t ask for my passport and i got no receipt or ticket)

    in 2012 while on holidays again, this time in New York city, i went to a shop in Manhattan just to buy presents, and they had money exchange (it really looked illegal too as if they did it without registering it, again i got no receipt or ticket nor was i asked for my identity, and of course i got less than the official exchange).

    good post!

    • Pedro says:

      sorry for my name above! don’t know what happened! my names’s not Ma, jaja

    • Kirstie says:

      Yeah, you definitely have to be careful! Strangely, when I was traveling Eastern Europe this summer, we exchanged money at one place that gave us a better rate than the current exchange rate. I wasn’t complaining!

      • Pedro says:

        i often ask myself how those gift/souvenir shops in Manhattan have money exchange service as if it were like buying a cup or glass with a picture of the statue of liberty.

        it seems that in the USA, there’s no law that forces to identify and register those who exchange money and the amount of it as we do have in Spain so Hacienda (your IRS) controls everything.

        you got more money? then i can tell you that you did accept it full of joy 🙂

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