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Paris for 5 Nights then Italy for 10 Nights... HOW MUCH MONEY DO I NEED?

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Hello everyone. My fiancee and I are first time travelers to Europe so I'm naive to some things. We're eloping to Paris then Honeymooning in Italy (Venice, Florence and Rome)

Obviously my question is vague in the sense that you can completely go nuts and stay in 5 star hotels and eat at the priciest places but realistically - staying in 3 star hotels and eating/dining in normal settings with the occassional splurge on dinner, etc... what can I expect to spend? I have about $10,000 planned.

Also, as a follow up question - how much $ to Euro should I exchange in the States, prior to my trip. I dont feel like traveling with alot of money for security reasons... I was thinking about $1000 which is approx 700 to 750 euro (on me).

Will I be able to use my Citibank Mastercard over there? Do they charge alot per transaction? Questions like these is what Im not sure about...

When I go to ATM - it obviously spits out Euros, right? What can I expect to be charged, etc?

Thanks for your help!!!

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    I'll answer a few but haven't been to those places in Italy and it appears you aren't going to be in Paris much, anyway. FOr costs in Paris, I would have suggested budgeting maybe 250-300 euro per day for the two of you, not being cheap about it (for hotels and meals, etc.). So I guess that would be $300-375 per day, I guess, although you can certainly go cheaper if you want (I'm thinking a nice 3* hotel may run 175 euro).

    I don't bring any euro from the US with me anymore to Europe, I just use the ATMs at the airport upon arrival. Worse comes to worst, you can usually get into town with a credit card (by taxi or Air France airport bus) and use an ATM there. Or exchange dollars at the exchange desk at the airport, if you really had to, but some ATM should work.

    Mastercard is widely taken in Europe, no problem. "They" doesn't charge anything for your credit card if you mean European businesses, it is Citibank that will charge you for using it abroad. You'd have to check with them, but I think it is 3 pct of the charge.

    ATMs do give you euros but they usually have screens where you can choose a language as far as I've seen. Again, the ATM won't charge you anything, your bank will, so ask them. IF it is Citibank again for your ATM card account, I don't know but suspect it will be 3 pct for the charge and maybe some other flat ATM fee, but I don't really know. Good idea for you to call them anyway to give them a heads up that you will be using it in Europe (both cards) so they wont flag the charges or ATM withdrawals as suspicious and close it down.

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    I think Christina has covered most of your questions - follow her advice.

    $10,000 will more than cover you for 15 days in Europe, even if that includes airfare. You can stay in less expensive 2 star hotels if you're concerned about your budget.

    Eating is cheaper if you avoid the high tourist areas. Walk a few blocks away and the prices drop substantially. Some things that add substantially to your food budget:

    - eating outside. Take out is the cheapest, more expensive is eating sitting at a table inside, more expensive yet is eating at a table outside. Of course you'll want to sit outside at times but be aware of the price differential.

    - soft drinks are very expensive, usually more expensive than house wine. Refill your water bottles at the hotel tap or at one of the many fountains in Rome (you'll see other doing this).

    - restaurants will usually want to serve you bottled water but you can ask for tap water which is free.

    One concern I have is have you prepared to get married in Paris? Do you have residency? There's tons of paperwork to get married in Europe. You can't just show up and get married.

    You should get a couple of guide books and read the introduction sections which will give you lots of insight into European travel.

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    Presuming your $10K budget excludes airfare you should be absolutely fine. That works out to slightly over 500 euro per day, plenty to cover decent accommodation and pleasant dining.
    Agree with not exchanging currency in the US, just getting from ATMs when there. There are ATMs all over the place including at the airport when you arrive. Other things to keep in mind -
    Your MasterCard will work just fine almost everywhere. The exception might be tiny little places which do not accept credit cards of any kind. You may run across some hysterical stories about US cards not working with European "chip and PIN" systems which you can ignore. There are a very few places where a US card (with the magnetic strip technology) will not work, mostly things like unattended toll booths, self serve gas stations or some vending machines/kiosks, but otherwise your card will be just fine, especially in the large cities which are on your itinerary.

    AVOID using your credit card to get cash from ATMs, instead use an ATM/debit card linked to your bank account. Cash advances done using a credit card typically charge outrageous interest which begins accumulating the second you make the withdrawal.

    When you do use your credit card, be sure that if a merchant offers you to run the charge in dollars you decline. This is a legal but thinly veiled scam known as dynamic currency conversion (DCC) which increases your costs. Insist that the charge be run in the local currency.

    There will be a limit on the total amount you can withdraw each day using ATMs; this is set by your bank. Check to be sure it is at a level that will work and if necessary ask for a temporary increase.

    There may also be limits on the amount you can withdraw from any one ATM at a single session. This is set by the local bank and you cannot change it.

    Usually each ATM withdrawal will incur a fee for use of a foreign ATM (just like when at home you use an ATM that belongs to another bank) as well as whatever other charges your bank adds for foreign currency exchange. When making an ATM withdrawal, take out the maximum allowed to avoid having to go back again and incur additional usage fees.

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    Check with your bank to see if they have any partner banks in Europe. I'm with Bank of America, and in Italy I could use BNL Paribas ATMs with no international withdrawal fees.

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    You can find decent 2* hotels in Paris for a more reasonable price.

    Go to the local charcuteries and patisseries for impromptu simple lunches.

    I usually bring along a couple of plastic plates and silverware, all packed in my stowaway luggage. Makes for a simple, cheap lunch. Wine can also be cheap if you refill your one liter water bottles at the appropriate stores.

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