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Converting dollars to euros in the States before trip?

Converting dollars to euros in the States before trip?

Old Aug 13th, 2015, 11:40 AM
  #21  
 
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<I haven't used an ATM card in probably 20 years.>

zenfoodist, Then you really need to get one for international travel.

That's truly the best advice anyone can give you. I don't know how long your trip is (I haven't been following your planning like some others here) but I can't imagine carrying enough cash on me to fund an entire European vacation.
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Old Aug 13th, 2015, 11:44 AM
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And you're right, it's only 25 threads! suze
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Old Aug 13th, 2015, 11:51 AM
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Let me get this straight: because the OP has shown enough faith in this board to ask lots and lots of questions, she is fair game for rudeness (from the usual rude persons, I might add)?
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Old Aug 13th, 2015, 11:52 AM
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We usually buy about 150Euros from our US bank shortly before leaving for Europe (if we don't have any left from our last trip). That way we don't have to find an ATM at the airport upon arrival. We then get more Euros from an ATM whenever it's convenient for us.
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Old Aug 13th, 2015, 12:06 PM
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Hey zenfoodist,

Don't sweat the small minds whose whole identity seems to be wrapped up in being Uncle Scold and Auntie Eye Roll on Fodor's. You should read their trip reports (and not only of them dare to write them). Their trips are disasters (and they blame it on other people).

If you are still going to Barcelona and Rome as part of this trip, and are bringing all that cash, you really must find a way of securing that cash on you most securely, as you will be preoccupied shepherding others and Barcelona and Rome do have talented pickpockets.

Otherwise, I would spend as much of it as you can in the first few days and then rely on ATMs and credit cards.

Also: It looks like it might cool down next week!

Have a wonderful trip!
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Old Aug 13th, 2015, 12:09 PM
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Sorry typo: "only some of them dare to write (trip reports)." And then even if they do, the regular "Fodorites" come in to tell them no matter how many stupid mistakes they're photo snaps are the most beautiful pictures they've ever seen.
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Old Aug 13th, 2015, 12:10 PM
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more typos -- but I give up! Still too hot to be correcting everything! Buon viaggio!
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Old Aug 13th, 2015, 01:12 PM
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I always get Euros before we leave, as I like having cash upon arrival and I won't use the currency exchange kiosks in the airport because of the huge fees they charge.

Using the ATM is your best bet. But if you cannot obtain an ATM card before your departure, then getting euro before you leave and using credit cards is your second best option.

I can't believe you are leaving next week! Buon viaggio!!
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Old Aug 13th, 2015, 01:15 PM
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Sandralist,

Thank you for the encouragement. Initially I had thought I would bring about 10K in cash, split between my husband and myself. Obviously, I will not be doing this. Other than our driver and the captain of our charter in Positano (both have asked to be paid in cash)I am fairly sure I will be able to put most things on credit card. Food is a very big focus on this trip, and we have spent hours and hours and HOURS getting our restaurants just right. I never thought to see if many of these establishments will accept credit cards, but now I will. The Pristine Sistine, Colosseum, Sagrada Familia, Picasso Muesum etc have all been paid in advance and on credit cards. Basically I will be paying for 5 people to eat (very,very well I might add but you know me from Chowhound I believe so I don't need to explain) each day for 14 days and for all taxis, trains etc. I had wanted to use cash for this, but I won't. I'll deal with it.

Our Chase Saphhire card has no foreign transaction fees, so this is excellent. I will figure out the debit card. My husband said we definitley have one. I just haven't used it in two decades. He swears we used it on our last trip to Spain because he recalls us having to change our passwords from 6 to 4 digits or something like that. My memory is awful.

I am THRILLED it looks as though it will be cooling down a bit. We have some non- Sicilian family in Avellino and they had emailed this news to us yesterday. Yippee!

So long as everyone's health remains good, I am confident we will have a most memorable trip. We are excellent travelers and have always made the best of all situations.

Thank you all to all who provided constructive advice. It is genuinely appreciated.
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Old Aug 13th, 2015, 01:18 PM
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Zen, don't worry, I am not a newbie and buy money before leaving if I don't have enough left over from previous trips. I have a money market account and my bank treats me very well so get enough for the apartment balance. I also take two atm cards since I seem to have the worst luck getting them to work. One is a credit union and my husbands nor mine would work in Northern Ireland last May. I had a PNC debit/atm card and it did give me money. Would not work in France but then worked in England another trip. I gave up on them. Needless to say I get a bit concerned. I like having cash for small items, cabs, trains etc. My Mom never had an atm card. She just went to the bank and got her cash as you do.

http://thriftynomads.com/best-travel...t-debit-cards/
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Old Aug 13th, 2015, 01:19 PM
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Pegontheroad on Aug 13, 15 at 11:57am

"My bank charges $5.00... On my last trip I used my debit card a good deal for small items, and when I returned home, I was annoyed to find a little charge for each purchase--about 3%. In the future I will pay for small items with cash and larger items with my credit card, which no longer has a fee for foreign charges."

Peg, if your bank charges $5.00 per atm withdrawal, you might check to see the % they also charge on the money you withdraw. My bank charges $5 unless I use a partner bank PLUS the 3% overseas transaction fee, so using cash may not be the way to avoid that unless you switch banks for overseas use.

Something to check out, which I'm doing before our next trip.
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Old Aug 13th, 2015, 01:24 PM
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Certainly glad you are not taking 10K in cash, the thought of that almost makes me hyperventilate. I think you will find that most of the restaurants you have booked will take credit cards. We do not travel anywhere near as gourmet as you have planned, but find we need cash less and less frequently in the bigger cities.
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Old Aug 13th, 2015, 01:25 PM
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I'm glad to hear you have a Chase sapphire card! Put as much as you can on the card. We spent 10 days in Paris last year and found we could put almost everything on our credit cards. I came home with most of the cash we took from the ATM.

Also, just FYI about your debit card - use it only to take money from ATMs. Debit cards do not have the fraud protections that credit cards have, so don't use it for purchases.

I hope you have a wonderful trip!
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Old Aug 13th, 2015, 02:08 PM
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Socaltraveler,

Lest you think I am a food snob, I am actually looking to avoid the Michelin- starred, Gambero Rosso endorced places and try for the smaller off the beaten path locals spots. Especially in the Amalfi area. One of the places I called to check told me they would even take my American dollars because they are visiting relatives in NYC in October. Yes!
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Old Aug 13th, 2015, 02:17 PM
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USD are a bit passe in Europe these days, General Patton being dead an' all. You might try a carton of Luckies and some nylons south of Naples.

Worth a shot, anyway.
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Old Aug 13th, 2015, 03:30 PM
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Sandra
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Op
Don't bring tha much cash - pickpockets love people who carry cash.
My wife just got pickpocketed (only 100 €) and yet we pay attention. Cash is not a good idea.
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Old Aug 13th, 2015, 03:34 PM
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Zen, give them a fair exchange rate. My friend that owns an Irish pub here collects all his euro for trips by accepting euro from customers.
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Old Aug 13th, 2015, 05:16 PM
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Flpab,

Of course! I am all about being reasonable and a goodwill ambassador I'm not one to haggle at all which actually disappoints some people who seem to enjoy the art!
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Old Aug 13th, 2015, 05:33 PM
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There is no need to "convert" any money at all. Doing so will ensure that you get the worst possible rates.

One should pay for everything possible with credit cards and pull walking around money from ATMs associated with a bank - taking enough to last 3 or 4 days to avoid multiple charges from your bank.

If you MUST have a little cash when you land change $100 at the bureau de change in the airport. The rate will be awful but for $100 it really doesn't matter.

And I think wandering around carrying large amounts of cash - in any currency - is just asking for trouble - even more dangerous than at home due to the possibility of confusion/inattention leading to either loss or theft. Just doesn;t make sense.
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Old Aug 13th, 2015, 05:36 PM
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Don;t know about not getting an ATM card. You should be able to walk into your bank and get one attached to your checking account on the spot - or delivered overnight.
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