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20 day trip to Madrid,Paris,Venice and Rome

20 day trip to Madrid,Paris,Venice and Rome

Sep 3rd, 2012, 03:31 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2012
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20 day trip to Madrid,Paris,Venice and Rome

My wife and I are going on our 1st Europe trip. my ques. Is how much US$ cash on hand vs. credit card should we take or is it better to pay everything via credit cards. Any suggestion would help. Thanks
oriole1251 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2012, 03:58 AM
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CC are not always readily accepted. So you have to use cash at times.
Use an ATM to obtain cash when you need it.
American Express is not widely accepted.
ribeirasacra is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2012, 04:09 AM
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I think ribeirasacra may be talking more about Spain when cays CC are not always readily accepted - they are in France - even at places like McDonalds and in Italy as well but some hotels may charge a surcharge for paying by cc.

CC vs ATM cash - advantages of CC you do not have to carry wads of cash around - but figure out which is better for you - many CC's impose 3% on foreign transactions (some do not) and ATM withdrawals are what your local bank charges - ATMs in Europe do not charge anything so contact your local ATM issuer to see what charges are and also contact your cc issuer to compare charges and then use whatever is better.

AMEX is fairly widely accepted in France. Discover Card is never accepted in Europe IME.

How are you traveling - by car or train or plane - if going by train consider the Eurail Select 3-country Saverpass for Spain, France and Italy - valid on trains in all the countries. For lots of great info on European trains check out these IMO fantastic sites - www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.seat61.com and www.ricksteves.com.
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2012, 05:20 AM
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I believe the OP asked specifically about US dollars. We usually take a couple hundred and keep it squirreled away in case something happens to our ATM cards and we temporarily need to get Euros or if there is some problem at either end of the trip at the airport in the US.

We generally use Euros (or whatever the local currency) for most things rather than credit cards, though we've never had a problem with our VISA or MC being accepted.
artsbabe is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2012, 05:51 AM
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If you want to stick $100 in 20s in your sock as emergency cash fine. But do not bring or change any dollars at all. Ue you credit cards for whatever possible (Visa and MC ar4e accepted almost everywhere, AmEx at most non budget etablishments, Discover is not supported at all in europe and Diner's Club doesn't apper to be accepted anywhere).

For cash in the local currency, you pull it from an ATM with your bank card (from your checking account).
nytraveler is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2012, 06:42 AM
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They are all Euro countries, well they were at least this morning, so if you see a good rate can get some extra cash.

And you need about 100 Euros when you first arrive for cabs and a meal and incidentals

Remember the you need a 4 digit pin in Europe and see if the bank you use has branches in the cities you are visiting AND they have ATM's. You can usually save some money on fees.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2012, 06:54 AM
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Don't exchange dollars for Euro at "CHANGE" stations in airports or anywhere else. You will pay a fee even in reputable banks. For cash, always us ATMs. Even if there is a small transaction charge it is far less than change fees.

We use credit cards wherever possible - always Visa or Mastercard. Builds up the miles so we can go back again!
mamcalice is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2012, 08:09 AM
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Thank you all for your wonderful and useful reply to my question. My wife and I will consider all your replys. Thanks
oriole1251 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2012, 08:34 AM
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Even if there is a small transaction charge it is far less than change fees.>

but keep in mind that many ATM issuers (those here that you get your card from - usually your local bank) often charge a flat fee of $5 (plous a % of the total) like mine does so do not if that is the case use an ATM for say a $30 withdrawal but take the max - often about $250 as you still have the same $5 fee.

ATMs TMK all pay the same fee about no matter where they are - in airports or in towns.
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 4th, 2012, 02:55 AM
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PalenQ was correct when they said I was talking about Spain ...I should have made that clearer and thank you for pointing that out.... I have never been in any Mac here in Spain so I would not know if CC are accepted in Spanish ones.
I would never think about taking my local currency when travelling away from home...Like trips to the US or NZ I never thought about bringing Euros...If you have problems with CC or ATMs then it is surly more useful to carry around contact information of your back. This way you can stop a card if it is lost, and then order a another one to be delivered.
ribeirasacra is offline  
Sep 4th, 2012, 04:04 AM
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always carry a cusion of cash - euros in this case - say $500 or so in case your cards do not work - highly unlikely and bring as many cc's as possible - get cash from the ATM do not bring it from home or you will lose a lot on exchange for typical exchange transactions Stateside.
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 4th, 2012, 04:21 AM
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And notify your bank and cc company of the dates you will be in Europe so they do not mistakenly put a hold on your card to prevent fraudulent use.
mamcalice is offline  
Sep 4th, 2012, 06:01 AM
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US cash we take about $100. Other than that we take the Euros we had on hand from the last trip and I keep 3 20 cent coins and a 50 cent just in case for the loo!

My Capital One card, at least at this point, does not charge 3% foreign transaction fee like my Visa and Am Ex cards do, so I use it almost exclusively when I use a card. We take cash out of ATMs as we go and have not been charged for that by our bank (which may change--our bank was just gobbled up by a larger more bureaucratic bank).

Am Ex doesn't need to be notified of overseas travel IME but both MC and Visa do and my bank USED TO not require notification but (as we found out with rejected debit transactions) now does. So as noted above be on the safe side and let the bank/CCs know.

Also look into "Dynamic currency conversion" where they offer to let you pay in dollars or euros. My understanding (which may be off) is that you get a bad rate if you pay in dollars in these cases.
annw is offline  
Sep 4th, 2012, 08:38 AM
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I now let my ATM and CC bansk know exactly what countries I am going to and say that is all - I do not authorize charges from any other countries - in light of occasional cc or ATM fraud in Italy or other places were thieves at times get the card number and PIN number and have purchases from Romanian banks later pop up.
PalenQ is offline  

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