Bank Machines Florence, Venice, Budapest

Old Jan 29th, 1998, 07:03 PM
  #1  
Katalin Leduc
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Bank Machines Florence, Venice, Budapest

We are going to Europe in May and are wondering what
to take for money. Travellers Cheques, or just use
the bank machines if they are available. I was wondering if we should take some currency with us
from Canada to Italy? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
 
Old Jan 30th, 1998, 05:36 AM
  #2  
Lanny
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Greetings from Ottawa. I have been in both Italy and Hungary in the past year so perhaps my experience is illustrative. Travellers cheques are more of a hassle than they are worth, and many places charge you for the privilege of giving you your cash. A pox on all their houses! Bring them if you want, but use them to pay hotel bills etc. or cashing them at the hotel front desk for local currency, aware as you will be that you will pay through the nose for this privilege. For the countries you are going to I would rely instead on a combination of credit cards (Visa best one, Mastercard second, AmEx is not accepted in as many places), bank cards and a small amount of cash. If your credit card is so authorized you can use it in bank machines to withdrawn money in the same way a debit card can be used to access your current bank account. I suggest you use your travel agent and prepay those things you can before you leave Canada -- hotels, Eurail passes etc. This will reduce your demand for cash infusions once overseas to food and tourist purchases. There is ready access to bank machines in Florence, Venice and Budapest but be prepared for the fact that some machines do not take certain cards. Check with your bank and your credit card company as to what the signs on the machines in Europe should say for your cards to work. Several systems exist and your card will not work in some of them. The only place I experienced difficulty using a card was in Budapest where I had to shop for machines on a couple of occasions that would work with my Canada Trust debit card. Even ones that were supposed to work in certain machines sometimes didn't which was infuriating. I also had trouble getting cash withdrawals using my Amex card, there, but succeeded once I could find the right machine. Do not carry large amounts of cash on you in either country, and keep your cash and credit cards inside your clothing and close to the body and not in a purse or wallet where they may easily be stolen by pickpockets and purse-snatchers at work in these countries. One of my friends was picked clean in the Sistine Chapel while he gazed in awe at the ceiling fresco the quick-fingered thieves who work these attractions wiped him out in a matter of seconds. Other than that, you have picked three of the most marvellous cities in Europe to holiday, so do enjoy!
 
Old Jan 30th, 1998, 09:07 PM
  #3  
Katalin Leduc
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Greetings to you from nice warm Victoria, B.C.
Thanks so much for replying so fast with great
information for me. We will do as you suggested.
Didn't like the idea of travellers cheques too much
anyway. I hope all your ice has melted by now.
We were in Montreal during the great 1998 ice storm.
Hope all is well in Ottawa. Thanks again,
Katalin Leduc
 
Old Jan 31st, 1998, 07:35 AM
  #4  
Ann
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I experienced the same problems with travelers checks last year in Scandinavia so will take none with me to Italy this summer. I understand the problem with pickpockets, etc. but is a money belt inside clothing necessary? What about fanny packs? Can they be as easily unhooked and snatched as a purse or a wallet in a pocket?
 
Old Jan 31st, 1998, 12:49 PM
  #5  
Val
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HI!Iam also from Victoria and am going to Europe on a cruise in May.We were told if you are going to draw money on your Visa make sure you put some extra money on you visa before you leave to avoid interest.Have a great trip!
 
Old Jan 31st, 1998, 03:52 PM
  #6  
Lanny
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Hi Katalin and crew: Glad my experience is of use. Fanny packs are perfectly fine, I just look like hell in one so I choose not to use them, but be wary as I know at least one person who had the pack cut off them by a thief in Genoa. This is of course not routine, but best you keep your wits about you. Re the Ice Storm of '98. Funny you should ask. My son and I live 40 kms south of Ottawa towards the St. Lawrence and the U.S. border. We lost power on the evening of Sunday, 4 January, long before the succession of three or four days of ice storms deprived most people of power and we were out until the late evening of 17 January -- a total of 13 days. We could not leave -- we have 60 animals including a herd of milking goats we could not abandon, so our only choice was to stay and tough it out. Fortunately, we have a wood stove which I had up to now been deathly afraid to use (friends died in a house fire when I was a child and wood stoves scare me) which did yeoman duty keeping us warm (I still had to sleep in two sets of clothes, with two dogs wrapped in blankets with me for added warmth, and sleep was 2 hours long after which I had to get up and replenish the fire to keep what heat we had going), a friend in Manitoba located a generator and shipped it via Air Canada on day 7 so we could finally pump water and run a couple of lights, and beyond that the Canadian military were fantastic. I never knew how much electricity (we heat with it so we were doubly dependent) matters until we lost it. I do swear, if this happens again, I am moving -- the only decision being whether I choose the south of England, Italy or southern Spain, each of which I dearly love. I can tell you however, I do not intend to die in this Canadian ice box! I hope your experience in Montreal was less daunting! Lanny
 
Old Jan 31st, 1998, 09:38 PM
  #7  
Katalin Leduc
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Hello again, I am glad your power is on and things are back to normal. I was glad to hear that the military was great because these days they get a very bad rap. My husband spent 21 years in the military but is now retired. I am glad all your animals were fine too. We were lucky in Montreal because we were in the north end of Montreal and our power went out the night before we were heading home. Also we were the only plane to fly out on the morning of January 9th. The gods were looking after us. We arrived in Victoria to a beautiful sunny day. It was nice to get back, but I felt very bad for all the people back there who had to get through that very tough time. Anyway I wish you a beautiful spring, and an even better summer. You deserve it.
Bye for now,
Katalin
 
Old Jan 31st, 1998, 09:42 PM
  #8  
Katalin l
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Thanks for the info. Hope you have a great cruise.
Where will you be cruising to in Europe?
Katalin
 
Old Feb 1st, 1998, 07:28 AM
  #9  
Val
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We are sailing on the inaugural cruise of the Grand Princess.It sails from London to Istanbul with stops in Athens,Monte Carlo,Nice,Florence and 2 other spots I can't remember.We plan to spend a few days in LOndon before the cruise.Like you I don't miss Ontario.Living out in Victoria is wonderful,isn't it.
 
Old Feb 1st, 1998, 11:10 AM
  #10  
WRJ
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To the question of whether fanny packs are a good idea: They are not. My wife calls them "gypsy attractors" -- not only do they mark you as a promising target; they are easy to take unless you add extra methods of securing them. I do use one to carry non-valuables some times; but I have modified it so that at least two clasps have to be undone to get into it. The best defenses are under-garment money belts, decoy billfold, and awareness.
 

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