How should I handle the money issue

May 25th, 2005, 10:22 AM
  #1  
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How should I handle the money issue

Hi.

Leaving on Friday for 4 days in Florence (Villa La Vedetta) and 3 days in Venice (Londra Palace).

My question is about getting Euros. Should I only bring enough to get me to my hotel and through any emergencies? Go travelers checks and cash them in once I get there? I dont want to inconvenience myself if the difference isn't substantial. Am i better off getting enough Euros to last me at least the first few days of the trip?

Thank you for the help in advance.

Rob
robinnyc is offline  
May 25th, 2005, 10:32 AM
  #2  
rex
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Three words: ATM, ATM, ATM.

Bring a few euros, if you insist and if you anticipate that it will bring you some peace of mind. Not too many though, since each one you buy before arriving in Europe will represent 5 to 10 cents spent unnecessarily.

No to travelers' checks except for a few rare circumstances (they might help you solve some business problems if you are traveling on business, or if you are responsible for someone else's children, for example, and want to have a safety net to pay for... say... their medical bills while traveling or an unplanned trip back home).

Best wishes,

Rex
rex is offline  
May 25th, 2005, 10:32 AM
  #3  
 
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ok, here's a popular opinion (not just mine)
Traveler's checks don't seem to me to have any advantages in today's world, with the possible exception of this:
If you were to lose all your cash and all your credit and debit cards, but not your traveler's checks (??), you could cash those. Unlikely scenario.
TC's also cost at the purchase end (usually) and always at the cashing end. Even if they are in euros, you would be charged extra fees to cash them in a bank or hotel desk. Individual merchants mostly don't want to deal with them anymore. If uncashed, you are able to redeposit them into your bank account when you return home.

With regard to getting some euro before you go: Some of us (me included) like to arrive with local cash in our pockets, to cover us in the (unlikely) event that the airport atms or exchange desks aren't available. We get a less advantageous foreign exchange rate by getting euros from our banks in the US (is that where YOU are?) and we say we don't mind this because it's one less thing to think about when landing in Europe. I always specifically ask my US bank for euros in small bills, so I can easily use them for tips and such upon arrival. ATMs tend to offer larger notes.

Those who just get their euros at the arrival airport rightly point out that they get a better rate for their dollars.
elaine is offline  
May 25th, 2005, 10:33 AM
  #4  
 
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This subject pops us about once a week. Almost every international airport has an ATM where you can access your account in euros. If you feel safer carrying enough to get you to your hotel by all means do that but I just wait till I get to the desination airport, hit the ATM and I'm off. I think ATMs and Credit Cards have made Travelers Checks a thing of the past.
AisleSeat is offline  
May 25th, 2005, 10:37 AM
  #5  
ira
 
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Hi rob,

The only reason you would want TC's is for emergency backup. Bring them in USD. You can deposit them when you return.

Some folks like to have about $75 in euros when they arrive. Get them at the departure airport. You'll lose about $4.

ira is offline  
May 25th, 2005, 10:42 AM
  #6  
 
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This subject has been beat to death on Fodors Travel Talk site. Many people are almost livid when talking about any other method than ATM!. ( I still stay "to each his own"!)
My Husband and I always get LOTS of euro from our bank before leaving USA> and really ...it is not all THAT much difference in price. ( we did ,however, use ATMs.on two occasions... in GErmany and N. Italy., and it was fine).
You don't have time to get euro ordered now, if you are leaving this Friday...but I'd pick up a few if you can...and then you'll just have to rely on ATM's.
mari5 is offline  
May 25th, 2005, 11:01 AM
  #7  
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Thanks for the responses. I appreciate it and it sounds pretty clear to me that ATM's are the answer.
robinnyc is offline  
May 25th, 2005, 12:07 PM
  #8  
 
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I've been told that the exchange rate in the ATMs at the destination airport is higher than the exchange rate elsewhere in the foreign country. I haven't researched the matter, but you might want to look into exchanging more of your money after you get to your hotel/destination.
letour is offline  
May 25th, 2005, 12:10 PM
  #9  
 
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I would take enough Euros to get me out of the airport in case you do get there and either cannot find an ATM or find one that isn't working (which happened to me when arriving at Milan's Linate airport once).

IMO TCs are more trouble than they are(n't) worth.
AuntIda is offline  
May 25th, 2005, 12:12 PM
  #10  
 
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I take:
200-300 euro, CHF, whatever
200-300 US dollar
an ATM card
1-2 credit cards
no travelers checks
suze is offline  
May 25th, 2005, 12:37 PM
  #11  
 
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Remember the daily limits to ATM withdrawals. I always take about $100 in local currency, and then restock once I'm there. I also carry some "dinosaur" Trav. checks just in case. I can easily redeposit them once I'm home with no problem, unlike Euros. And, I take 2 cards, with one of them being AMEX. I prefer to pay cash for hotels & meals; easier and sometimes cheaper that way.
eliztrav is offline  
May 25th, 2005, 01:06 PM
  #12  
 
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I haven't used travelers' checks in years, but my recollection is that there was a fee for getting them, and a fee for cashing them. Is this still correct?

Say I buy a $1000 TC. How much would it cost me? And if I redeposit it, do they return all my money, or just the $1000?
clevelandbrown is offline  
May 25th, 2005, 01:14 PM
  #13  
 
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The issue with Traveler's Checks is not merely the fees. TCs are very difficult to use in many places in Europe. In many places you have to go to a bank to cash them so they aren't useful during evenings and weekends.
mamc is offline  
May 25th, 2005, 02:51 PM
  #14  
 
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and when your credit card doesn't work in the foreign ATM for some STRANGE reason???

(Sound familiar, anyone?)

nice to have a back up.
lincasanova is offline  
May 27th, 2005, 09:54 AM
  #15  
 
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We have just been discussing traveler's checks on another thread. I can buy traveler's checks for free through AAA, although I don't know what it may cost vendors to deposit them into their accounts. Cleveland Brown: Some people recommend buying TC in dollars so that you can cash unused TC back into your account. I don't know if your bank would charge you to receive them.

Here's the Fodor's thread:

Alternative forms of payment: traveler's checks
letour is offline  
May 27th, 2005, 10:11 AM
  #16  
 
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I spent 30 days in Europe last Sept, did not use travelers checks, did everything thru ATM and credit card, my advice to anyone is that Euro's are great got rid of all of them, however if you are going to England before or after be very careful, the lb is very different from the Euro. I am so glad I am doing a layover in Heathrow, this Sept, at least I can buy a coke and get rid of the lbs I brought home
SiestaLinda is offline  
May 27th, 2005, 10:21 AM
  #17  
 
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Linda,
If you need to "get rid of" any any more currency of any kind I'll give you my address.
AisleSeat is offline  
May 27th, 2005, 10:25 AM
  #18  
 
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You know Aisle Seat that is a great idea and thread for this forum, I cannot be thee only one in the world that comes back with currency that I will not use, turns out on our trip to Africa this Sept, we do have a layover in Heathrow, but weird, somethimes that just does not happen. And like I said, I am using it to buy a coke--maybe better to donate or something?
SiestaLinda is offline  
May 27th, 2005, 11:16 AM
  #19  
 
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I bought trav. chks free from AAA, and there was no cost to deposit them back in my account once home. I always cashed them at a bank or AMEX office, and never tried (or wanted) to cash them in an individual retail shop or restaurant. That's not how I use them. But, cost of cashing in depends on where you do it & what the rates are there. I use them as backup, and only cashed any 2X in my last 2-week trip.
eliztrav is offline  
May 27th, 2005, 11:30 AM
  #20  
 
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<ATMs tend to offer larger notes.>

Since ATMs dispense cash in €10 increments, itís a good idea to request an amount that is not a multiple of 50 (90 or 140 or 190, for example). However, when I forgot to do this, I found that the machines that I used (BNP Paribas for one) either offered a choice of denominations or routinely gave a 50, two 20s, and a 10 on a €100 withdrawal.
MargrietVanderBanck is offline  

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