ATM or Travellers Cheques

Old Jun 6th, 2001, 10:00 PM
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ATM or Travellers Cheques

My husband and I who reside in Canada leave towards the end of the month for a 2 week vacation/reunion in Italy.I'm of the opinion that we should have no difficulty in accessing ATM's except possibly in Manarola however my husband feels we should also carry travellers cheques. Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.
Old Jun 6th, 2001, 11:39 PM
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My husband and I spent time in Rome and Florence in October 1999 and brought along travelers checks and ATM card. The ATM card was by far the best way to go. Most places don't want to accept Travelers checks and if you go to one of the many shops to exchange them for cash they all charge a fee. Put your ATM card in the slot and out comes the currency of that country. We found the same ease of use in the other countries we visited including Switzerland, Netherlands, and France. You may still want to take a few travelers checks in case you encounter bank closures, which we were told could happen without warning. Have a great time.
Old Jun 7th, 2001, 12:10 AM
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Keep in mind though that a machine may take in your ATM and it may not come out again. This happened to me in Italy late one Saturday night and I was leaving in the AM. There was no way to get in touch with anyone at the bank. Try to use it only when the banks are open.
Old Jun 7th, 2001, 05:10 AM
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If you like to be prepared for all contingencies, you may want to bring some American Express traveler's checks. Know ahead of time where the American Express offices are located at your destinations. You never know when at ATM may swallow your card, the magnetic strip may become compromised, etc. If you don't need the traveler's checks, you can just deposit them into your account when you return home.
Old Jun 7th, 2001, 11:04 AM
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All good advice. We used ATMs most of the time in Paris, and saw that the exchange bureaus were closed a lot. Our last morning we need a few extra francs and were turned away from Cooks (5 more minutes and we'll open). TWO ATMs 10 feet away. Those people will be out of business if they don't make some changes. Took Trav cks just in case and were very careful about what machine we put the card in. If the light wasn't on or the screen wasn't lit or the bank wasn't open, we used the trav cks at the cambio.
Old Jun 7th, 2001, 11:13 AM
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Try to use as little UK cash as possible. Using credit cards in the UK gets you the best exchange rate - and no commissions paid to a bank / bureau du change.
Old Jun 7th, 2001, 11:14 AM
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I can't speak to Italy but I always carry travelers' checks as a backup and use them frequently when rates are good. I don't agree with the last post which seems contradictory on the inconvenience of opening hours for bureaux de change but then says they had to go there as they won't use a bank except during banking hours. Yes, you can't use a bureau de change in Paris before maybe 7:30-8 am because they aren't open yet, but banks aren't either. This is not really a big problem as they are open all day and into the evening, they are open much more than banks. I think some people don't have the right attitude towards TCs--IMO they are not supposed to replace local currency, they are just a convenient (and perhaps safer) way to transport money abroad; you then exchange them for local currency at a bank or bureau de change. Yes, you can try to use them instead of local currency in stores, but I would not do that, it's a very touristy thing to try to do, anyway. Anyway, in Paris (and some other places I know) exchange rates are very competitive with ATMs for travelers' checks, but I don't know the custom in Italy on that, which might make a difference. If you get them free, by all means, take them, why not (I would only get them in your native currency so you can easily deposit or use them back home if you don't need them on your trip).
Old Jun 8th, 2001, 02:14 PM
m shaw
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Take some travelers checks(American Express) as a back-up. I had no trouble using an ATM card in Cinque Terre,we stayed in Riomaggiore. My companion was happy he had back up travelers checks as his ATM card would not work in Europe. He had spoken to his bank before leaving,but it still did not work. The best exchange is via the ATM card,but take some checks as a back-up and avoid a potential serious hassle. Have a great time..I want to go back!!!Maggie
Old Jun 8th, 2001, 02:31 PM
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I'll echo the very reasonable advice given so far. Credit Cards and ATMs are the BEST way to go, but bring a few hundred $ worth of TC's just in case.
Old Jun 9th, 2001, 07:52 AM
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to the top for Maureen

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