First Time to Europe

Old Jun 18th, 2002, 08:13 PM
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First Time to Europe

I'll be going to Europe in November (Netherlands specifically) and I was hoping you could help me with some questions.

1. Passports. I heard some hotels will ask you to give them your passport at the front desk. I've been told not to surrender my passport under any circumstances. What should I do?

2. Money. Is is a good idea to rely on ATMs or do you prefer to take travellers' cheques? Has anyone ever had a hassle?
Old Jun 18th, 2002, 08:24 PM
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The desk clerk will only want to view your passport. You'll need to fill out a form at the hotel which will ask certain questions -- your permanent address, telephone number, length of stay, your passport number and expiration date. The form basically asks for identification, however, I am not sure what the purpose is. Possibly someone that works in the travel industry within Europe could answer this question in more detail, but your passport is returned to you immediately. However, I have heard that some inns and B&Bs will hold onto your passport until you pay your bill -- but these are only for inns and B&Bs that don't accept credit cards and expect payment either in full or a partial payment upon arrival. Your passport will then be returned to you. I've had innkeepers and desk clerks ask to see my passport many times, but I have always secured my room by credit card.

Regarding ATMs and travelers checks -- you can do a search on this site and get a variety of answers. I have used my debit card throughout The Netherlands and never had a problem.
Old Jun 18th, 2002, 08:31 PM
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Never been to the Netherlands but been to Europe dozens of times. I always bring a little bit of currency for the country I'm landing in. Also maybe $50USD in case ATMs aren't working in the airport. But currency exchange rates usually are horrible and there are always fees. I ALWAYS use my Atm card. You get the exchange rate from the country your account is in. For me it is always a better rate. Keep it in mind.
Old Jun 18th, 2002, 08:49 PM
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In Italy, Spain and Portugal we had to leave our passports at the front desk at many hotels. Not sure what the purpose was, maybe they wanted to fill out the forms at their leisure, maybe they had to photocopy them and there wasn't a machine right there, who knows. Anyhow, we always got them back within an hour or so (by the time we had freshened out and went out again). Personally I wouldn't make a scene about it, especially if you aren't fluent in the language. You're just going to come across as a paranoid American. Everyone else just leaves their passports without a fuss.
Old Jun 18th, 2002, 08:53 PM
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You don't need to surrender your passport in the Netherlands. In some cases, they will make a photocopy and that's it. Don't worry.
Use ATMs. Cheaper and easier than Traveller's cheques.
Old Jun 18th, 2002, 11:07 PM
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In many European countries, you must register with the local police on arrival. In almost all cases (i.e. unless you're told otherwise) this will be conducted by the hotel you stay in, and in this case you need to surrender your passport for a few hours while they process your details. Don't worry, I've done it dozens of times...!!
Old Jun 19th, 2002, 02:27 AM
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Whether you´ll have to leave your passport for an hour or overnight depends on a hotel (and country, I guess). If they want it, just leave it. You´ll get it back latest the next morning. The personel has to deliver info to the local police, and they usually like to do it when all the hassle at the desk has ceased. Nothing happens to your passport, and you are 100% certain to get it back. If you refuse to leave it you´ll just create a hassle people will find ridiculous.
Old Jun 19th, 2002, 02:36 AM
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Yes, it is perfectly fine to leave your passport with the front desk of a hotel. I always leave my passport with them for the duration of my stay. When they offer to return it, I just ask them to lock it up in their hotel safe for me until I check out.

Russia is the only country I have noticed so far that REQUIRES you to surrender your passport for the duration of your stay. The rest just take it for a couple hours or overnight.
Old Jun 19th, 2002, 02:54 AM
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Most European hotels I have stayed at have asked for my passport. I've never had any problems apart from one hotel in Barcelona which wanted to keep it throughout our stay. Shortly before leaving I asked for it back only to be given someone elses passport.

They had accidentally mixed them up. Luckily that person hadn't checked out so my passport was sitting there in their room's cubbyhole. If they had checked out without looking inside their passport lord knows when they would have noticed and I would have been stuck.

I usually carry a photocopy of my passport with me anyway incase of loss.

If you are particularly uncomfortable with this, what you could do is show your real passport, then if they need to keep it to copy details, ask if they can use the photocopy since you would like to keep the real one with you.

If you find this hard to do without giving a reason, then just say that you will need it to exchange your travellers cheques at a bureau.

Old Jun 19th, 2002, 03:30 AM
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why do I think this is a troll? what a disgusting user name you have chosen for yourself. you are obviously an idiot. or a 15 year old boy. or both?

for those who don't understand, type into your browser and type his name into it. (minus the 77us)
Old Jun 19th, 2002, 03:44 AM
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Ah, I see you're another troll with no good input for this thread. Get over yourself, the questions were valid, and that's what's important.
Old Jun 19th, 2002, 04:48 AM
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Message: Jimbo is right. It's a good question and needs to be reviewed every few days. What really bothers me is all the different responses. Look at Leslie. Am sure he/she has never stepped foot in Europe. What a idiot. People believe what is write here and if you have no first hand knowledge stay away. Get it.
Old Jun 19th, 2002, 04:52 AM
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Also, forgot to mention, with respect to using ATMs, these are generally very good, but I was in Pisa a couple of days ago on a Festival day and visited nine machines with no luck, having to resort to a 5% commission cash advance from a change outlet. So travellers cheques may be a good backup plan if the commission on them is lower...
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