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How much money is enough?

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Nov 30th, 2014, 05:57 PM
  #1
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How much money is enough?

I am sending my daughter on a school trip to Europe for three weeks next year (she will be predominantly going to Rome and France). The only meal she will need to pay for each day is lunch. Other than that, she will just need spending money. Can anyone recommend a reasonable amount of money (in euros) to send with her?
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Nov 30th, 2014, 06:28 PM
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If you are talking about cash, my answer would be, "Very little". I would open a separate account for her and give her an ATM card with a comfortable balance. She can then withdraw local currency from ATMs as needed. If she runs short you can always top up her account.
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Nov 30th, 2014, 08:50 PM
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40 euros a day should be plenty. It depends a bit on the age of your daughter, shopping habits etc. in Italy, lunch can be bought for ten euro or less.

Soft drinks (aka sodas for our American brethren) are very costly.

A plastic card to draw cash from an ATM is a very good idea.
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Dec 1st, 2014, 02:26 AM
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A plastic card is certainly the way to go, rather than give her lots of cash that may be at risk if she's sharing a room or in a hostel. You can add money if that's necessary. The only thing here is that she would be charged each time she makes an ATM withdrawal and if she takes €40 daily the charges will be disproportionate. Taking larger amounts might be less secure.

As far as amounts are concerned, it depends on what she's likely to buy on top of lunch and drinks. How old is she and is she likely to want to buy clothes while away?

As Peter says, €40 per day should be good for food and drinks, but you'll need to judge if anything extra is warranted.
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Dec 1st, 2014, 08:11 AM
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Do what nukesafe suggested. (1) you don't want her carrying a ton of cash, (2) turning her native cash to euros in Europe will have a worse exchange rate than drawing from an ATM, (3) turning native cash to Euros in her native land (US?) will be a bad deal too. And if you are American, you will pay 6-8% above the true exchange rate, minimum, to exchange dollars to euros at a US bank.

Get her a capital one account or a credit union account that has a low minimum balance and low foreign exchange transaction fees. Cap One and most CUs do not charge for transactions in foreign banks (check this for the specific account), therefore Rubicund's warning - "The only thing here is that she would be charged each time she makes an ATM withdrawal and if she takes €40 daily the charges will be disproportionate" - would not apply. If you get her a generic account at a major bank (read: BoA, Chase, Regions, random local bank), it may charge per transaction and charge high exchange fees (my Chase account charges 3.5% and $3 per pop - that sucks . . . and explains why I have another account for traveling abroad).

Do NOT get her a visa/MC cash card or similar (bad exchange rates and/or fees).
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Dec 1st, 2014, 01:18 PM
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This reminds me of my first trip to Paris in 1971 -- I went with a college group for one month in January. The trip cost was I think $700 and included airfare (charter flight), hotel for a month, including breakfast and dinner, and day trips to Reims, Versailles, Fontainebleau and Chartres, plus a couple plays in Paris. I brought $100 with for the month's spending money and that would have been enough, but we were allowed a weekend to go wherever we wanted, providing we let the chaperone know, and several of us decided we would go to London, so my parents sent me another $100, which covered a student roundtrip plane fare to London, hotel, and several admissions while we were in London.

I think an ATM card is probably the best way to go, drawn from a separate account.
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Dec 1st, 2014, 04:51 PM
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You also tagged this post for the UK - which is another reason to get the separate account with an ATM. It's far easier to have the ATM spit out pounds than for her to change dollars to euros, dollars to pounds, and possibly euros to pounds.
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Dec 1st, 2014, 05:11 PM
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What BigRuss said in both his posts.
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Dec 1st, 2014, 06:15 PM
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The charge at the ATM is going to depend upon which bank that ATM card is from. Yes, we know about the thing of using a bank that the home bank has an ATM agreement with which simply cuts out the out of network charge (in my case that is $5.00). But my bank charges a fee for foreign currency withdrawn which is a percentage of the amount.

Not all banks do this; many credit unions do not. You need to find out what YOUR bank's policy is in terms of withdrawing foreign currency using an ATM card.
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Dec 2nd, 2014, 05:32 AM
  #10
 
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We opened a Schwab account, which provides no ATM fees worldwide, if a fee is charged Schwab will refund it, no minimum balance, and a few other perks.

One other tip: Suggest to your daughter to only use a Bancomat, ATM, connected to a bank. if the machine eats the card she can go inside to retrieve it.

Buon viaggio,
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Dec 2nd, 2014, 06:18 AM
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>>>I am sending my daughter on a school trip to Europe for three weeks next year (she will be predominantly going to Rome and France).<<<

If your daughter is traveling with a student tour company, it will depend on which company. The budget tour companies nickel-and-dime the students for everything. Breakfast can be very poor as can the dinners. Often for lunch, they will stop somewhere the students will have no other options (restaurant in the countryside in route to next destination).

If she is under 18, you will have to open a joint account with her for the ATM card. Credit unions usually offer the cheaper fees for ATM's along with the few mentioned above. Some regular banks have high fees for foreign transactions. You will need to notify the bank close to the dates that your daughter will be using the card in Italy so they won't block it.
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Dec 2nd, 2014, 02:03 PM
  #12
 
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kybourbon has mentioned something that is absolutely essential -- notify the bank that you will be using the card overseas; they will ask you the dates and places.

Also, have her write the card's international contact phone number (most allow collect calls for lost cards) somewhere safe, in case there is a problem -- lost card, etc.

SS
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Dec 2nd, 2014, 09:40 PM
  #13
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Many thanks, all, for your very helpful advice!. R.
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Dec 3rd, 2014, 05:04 AM
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Here I thought we were going to have a philosophical discussion on the need for money 'how much is enough?'
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Dec 3rd, 2014, 06:59 AM
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Carlux... re: your daily travel budget

You can always benefit from a little more, and you can always get by with a little less.

Is that philosophical enough for you? (By philosophical, I mean a nice-sounding generality.) [No flaming over this, please.]

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