Best way to manage cash in Italy

Mar 30th, 2006, 07:36 AM
  #1  
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Best way to manage cash in Italy

Whenever possible I will be using credit card for payment while on my month long trip through Italy this summer. I found out that Capital One does not charge any exchange fees with each charge. Knowing that there will many places (hotels/restaraunts/etc) that will require cash euro, what is the best way to minimize my fees? I have not found a way to get around ATM fees (at least by the local establishment). Are AMEX travelers checks the best way to go? Thanks for any help you can provide.
ianni is offline  
Mar 30th, 2006, 07:44 AM
  #2  
 
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Travelers checks, no, no, no. Hard to cash. ATM's. What will the cost of fees be compared to the total cost of your trip? Trivial. Get enough money for a couple of days at a time to minimize the impact in the rare event of getting your pocket picked or losing it. You may want more in rural areas. Enjoy yourself and don't worry about $25 in fees over a whole vacation.
Ackislander is offline  
Mar 30th, 2006, 07:46 AM
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Travelers Checks? No, no, no. Hard to cash.

ATM's, yes. What will the cost of fees be in relation to the total cost of your trip? Trivial, even if you withdraw money daily.
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Mar 30th, 2006, 07:48 AM
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If you wish, carry a few travelers checks for an emergency--and plan to bring them home with you untouched. Few businesses accept them. Going to a bank isn't much better because fees are very high. Ask your bank to increase the daily withdrawal limit on your ATM card so you can keep your withdrawals to a minimum. Keep one day's spending money in an accessible place and keep the rest in a secure place like a money belt. Here's the URL for a very helpful article on changing money in Europe: www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/moneytip.htm.
TimS is offline  
Mar 30th, 2006, 09:31 AM
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Even with ATM fees it is still the best way to go, imo. Just take your maximum amount when you do a withdrawl. Bank of America charges me $5 which is the highest I know of, but I get enough money at a good rate of exchange to last for 3-5 days.

TC's are a big pain and mean finding a bank that will cash them, and likely charge fees to do so. They are fine for emergency money, but not what I'd want as my main method.
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Mar 30th, 2006, 09:45 AM
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P_M
 
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Ditto to the above. ATM fees, even at $5 a pop, are still a lot less expensive than fees to cash TC's. At least with the ATM you'll get a good exchange rate. With TC's you'll get a terrible rate every time. Also there's the convenience and ease of using ATMs. TC's should only be used in an emergency.
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Mar 30th, 2006, 09:48 AM
  #7  
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And just for the record, there are a lot of Deutchebanks in Italy. If you use one of their ATMs, Bank of America won't charge you a penny! (of course that only works if your bank is Bank of America).
 
Mar 30th, 2006, 10:14 AM
  #8  
 
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I used my HSBC ATM card earlier this month in Italy and wasn't charged a fee at any of the places I chose--always bank ATMs. And the exchange rate came out to about $1.20 = 1 euro.
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Mar 30th, 2006, 10:40 AM
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Hi Janni,

Important to know: most of the museums will take ONLY cash, and often require exact change! Keep a collection of small bills for admission fees, audioguide rental. Even though these are heavily touristed sites, they are toally unprepared to handle giving change for all the 50E bills the tourists get out of the ATMs.
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Mar 30th, 2006, 11:23 AM
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What Dayle says is a good tip for all purposes. That's the one drawback of using ATM's... that you get big bills. I keep it in mind and use the larger denominations in a big grocery store or restaurant, and hang on to the smaller bills for taxis, newstands, small shops and vendors, etc.
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Mar 30th, 2006, 05:54 PM
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<<That's the one drawback of using ATM's... that you get big bills.>>

If your withdrawal amount can be in any multiple of ten, withdraw 90 euros, 140 euros, 190 euros, etc.
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Mar 30th, 2006, 06:09 PM
  #12  
lfolsom521
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ianni

Just returned from Italy. Not sure about minimizing fees, but we were told for security reasons, one can take out a maximum of 250.00 euro per day. If you are traveling with someone else on the same account, they can take the maximum as well. When there is a fee for using an ATM, I always take out the maximum.

I think the fee is worth the convenience.

Enjoy!
 
Mar 31st, 2006, 03:18 PM
  #13  
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Grazie everyone for these good tips. I found out from my bank (whose card works at all Cirrus and Pulse ATMs) that I can raise my withdrawal limit for the duration of my trip...if I'd like. This may help for those 5 day hotel bills that are due at checkin
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Apr 1st, 2006, 08:07 AM
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Janni,

I would never pay a 5 day hotel bill in advance! Which hotel is asking you to do this?
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Apr 1st, 2006, 08:12 AM
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Neopolitan
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Dayle, I was wondering the same thing. Maybe ianni meant "apartment" and not hotel?
 
Apr 1st, 2006, 12:27 PM
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Neopolitan--so Deutchebank ATMS can be accessed by BofA accountholders with no fee?? That is good news...we will be in SML, CT, Pisa, Florence, Sienna (and possibly San G), Rome, and Venice.
Do you recall if this bank was prolific and easy to find??
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Apr 1st, 2006, 12:39 PM
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Yes, we spotted them pretty easily in the larger towns. I believe that Deutsche Bank is the largest foreign bank in Italy, but you may not find them in the smaller towns.
Here is a link to finding all their Italy locations:
http://tinyurl.com/jrdaf
 
Apr 1st, 2006, 01:33 PM
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Maybe to get a cash in advnce discount? Still, I wouldn't do it, just in the off chance that there was something terribly unsatisfactory about the hotel.
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Apr 1st, 2006, 01:51 PM
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Neopolitan--thanks for the link! Yep, they are everywhere, even SML. The only place I didn't find a listing was in the CT towns, but our home base for there is SML. Thanks again!
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Apr 3rd, 2006, 07:50 AM
  #20  
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Here is the B&B in Rome that required full cash payment at checkin...I got a great rate of 65e per night, double with shared bath, with breakfast, in June. http://www.babredrose.com/home.html Seemed to get good reviews.
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