How Much Travel Cash?

Old May 10th, 1999, 04:57 PM
Marie S.
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How Much Travel Cash?

I need to know about how much cash to take on our trip to 8 days in Italy and 4 days in France. I have $200 in lire and $100 in francs. I'm thinking we can charge almost everything and this $300 in cash will get us by for incidentals we need to pay for. Am I right? Should we also take Traveler's Checks? How much? Is it really easy to find and use ATMs in Italy and France? We will be by Lake Maggiore, and Tuscany in Italy and Nice in France. We're leaving in a few days and I would really appreciate a quick reply. Thanks.
Old May 10th, 1999, 05:15 PM
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The amount you have with you is about right for incidentals. Credit cards are accepted just about everywhere, except for small b&b's and restaurants. ATMs are everywhere, so you won't have a problem getting cash (remember two things: most European ATMs accept NO MORE than 4 numbers in a PIN, so change yours if you have more; most banks have daily limits (like $200) for ATM withdrawal, so ask to have yours increased to accommodate.
Old May 10th, 1999, 07:05 PM
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With regards to ATM also make sure that your primary account is where your money is because Italy's ATM's are not set up for more than 1 account per card. Meaning if your ATM card is linked between your savings and checking and your checking account is primary you can only access checking.
Hope this helps
Old May 10th, 1999, 10:07 PM
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Hi Marie -

This question is one of those very personal ones. It really depends on how you do things. If you eat lots of food from street vendors and small restaurants who may not take credit cards, you will probably need more. If you really stick to more major places, this will probably be fine.

My advice: In light of the fact that sodas can often be $2 from street vendors and little snacks can be $5+ each, I would recommend $40 per day for two people. This is $180 more than you have planned. It's true you can always get money from the ATM's, but you would hate to count on it and then have a problem.

My husband and I just went to Paris last month and ended up coming home with $200 we didn't have to spend. We just like being prepared.

If this sounds like too much, I would up it at least another $100. Especially if you plan on buying little keepsakes here and there.

Have a great trip!
Old May 11th, 1999, 08:16 AM
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I agree with Lynn about needing more cash. I don't think it matters whether you take it with you, or plan on getting it from an ATM, however. But I would just be prepared that you may not have enough. I find that the more inexpensively you plan on doing things (like food) the less likely it is that you will be able to use a credit card. In fact, one of my hotels for this trip doesn't accept credit cards. Also, if you plan on seeing a lot of museums or churches that charge entrance fees, you will probably want to use cash. We find that entrance fees and snacks can come to more than you anticipate.
Old May 11th, 1999, 06:19 PM
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I definitely agree with taking more cash which I learned the hard way! I thought I'd charge everywhere and also use my ATM card. Well, credit cards are not as widely accepted there as they are here - 2 of our hotels didn't accept them, local tours don't accept them, some restaurants don't, even some stores don't or they have a minimum purchase amount. And, much to my unpleasant surprise, my ATM didn't work at all over there except when we got to Garmisch, Germany and I went on base to an American bank! I use all the time at home without fail and in Garmisch without fail and I have a 4 digit pin not starting with 0, so that's not it. My guess is that the expiration on the card read 04/02, so maybe the 02 was a Y2K-type problem. So, if you can get an ATM card with a 99 expiration date that may work for you, but be prepared in the event that it doesn't! Traveller's Checks are a waste of time - the only places that take them, mostly, are hotels which usually take credit anyway. I wouldn't bother with them. Have a great trip!
Old May 12th, 1999, 05:27 AM
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I definitely don't want to start another ATM thread, but I will add that I used my ATM cards in Italy last fall with a 4 digit pin and had no trouble at all. By the way, you need to know the digits for your pin, there are no letters on the machines.
I was in larger cities (Florence, Venice, Rome, Siena) and there were ATMs everywhere.

I agree that you will probably find you will need more cash, those incidentals add up and as noted you're not going to use a credit card to charge a snack or a souvenir. But the ATM card can' get you more cash easily.
Old May 13th, 1999, 06:18 PM
Marie S.
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Thanks to all of you for your helpful replies and well wishes. I'm taking the $300 cash in lire and francs but have money in my checking account so we can get more from the ATM machines. I'm counting on all of you that I'll be able to find them to give me more money-- funny how we trust strangers in this website. Anyway, we're off! ...Marie

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