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Leaving soon, still need to chat with PROs

Leaving soon, still need to chat with PROs

Old Mar 15th, 2004, 03:58 AM
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Leaving soon, still need to chat with PROs

Allright now, I am leaving on April,1.
I did call my cell phone Co to open my line.
I did call my bank to tell them I am leaving to Europe. I will use their cc and ATM card.

Should I call my other cc companies too ?

I am still in the woods about how much Euro to take with me and where to get those the best ? Should I ask my bank or buy at airport ?

Another fun thing. I read so many threads on what gifts to bring to European friends and a lot of those where "Ketchup, Maple syrup,
candy and stuff, frige magnets too" And I just spoke with my friend from Hamburg and she told me that every supermarket out there has whole section of US products, so she said "You would look very silly at customs if they decided to check your luggage with Ketchup".

I found it very interesting as so many people suggested to each other bringing those items. Were they joking ?

Yeah, and I am still never started packing...
I can not decide between m_k advise vs everyone else ))
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Old Mar 15th, 2004, 04:05 AM
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Ziana--as to gifts for European friends, we always take things that can only be found locally. For example, we are from Maryland, so we might take local foods that are unique--like Berger's cookies. Most places have some sort of foods, crafts, liquors, etc. that is unique to the area--something that won't be found in the American section of stores in Europe.
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Old Mar 15th, 2004, 04:18 AM
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I would notify any other credit card issuer (the bank) if you think there is a chance you may have to use it as a back-up.
I would make sure I knew the phone numbers to call in case any of the credit cards you take with you are lost or stolen so you can get them replaced...write the numbers down and keep them in a secure place.
I would only take the credit cards, ATM card(s), and any other documentation, etc., that would be USEFUL...unless you think you'll need your US driver's license, for example, LEAVE it and anything else like that at home...your passport is your best identification.
Make a copy of the data page in the passport and keep that separate in case IT is lost or stolen..having that data page helps speed the replacement process.
I would get just enough money in advance to get myself to the FIRST ATM in Europe..often at the airport. Use ATMs to get all your cash (assuming that cash is coming directly out of your checking account and is not a "cash advance" against your credit card balance) rather than using hotels, ANY of those change-making kiosks (run y banks or otherwise), etc., because using the ATM will get you the BEST exchange rate.
Have a great trip.
 
Old Mar 15th, 2004, 05:41 AM
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So it is not a good idea to take more Euros from the bank to not to waste time going to exchange spots in Europe ?

Thanks
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Old Mar 15th, 2004, 05:59 AM
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Take enough euros to get you through the first day. I usually bring $100-$150 worth. After that, use the ATM. And yes, notify any credit card company whose car you'll be using during the trip.

Better get to that packing I leave March 30 and I "packed" this weekend.
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Old Mar 15th, 2004, 06:13 AM
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Yes, it's true you can get ketchup, maple syrup, magnets, etc. at most large grocery stores in Germany (Germany even has a couple of Wal-Marts). We lived in a small town in central Germany and had no trouble getting any of those things.
What we could NOT get in Germany was bleach (we brought our German relatives some spray cleaner with bleach in it from Belgium and they were really happy to have it) and, oddly enough, coriander/cilantro (dried or fresh). Those were probably the only two household items we missed while we were living in Germany last year.
Another thing we gave our relatives was your basic large-sized Rand McNally road atlas. U.S. happenings are often on German news and they enjoyed using the atlas to look up where the events had taken place. They also loaned it out to friends who were visiting the U.S.
Re euros, I always recommend landing with about $100 worth of euros in your wallet. In denominations no larger than 20s, FYI, as some places are reluctant to take 50s and up. Both your bank and the airport will probably give you a below part exchange rate, but I'd go with the bank anyway and not worry about getting them at the airport. After that, use your ATM card.
Re airport ATMs, I prefer to avoid them because a) there can be lines b) they may not be up and running (at the Brussels airport, for example, on my last two trips the ATMs were temporarily "hors service", once because the drivers who brought the cash to the ATMs were on strike and once because the bank's computers were screwed up. You never know!).
BTilke (Brussels)
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Old Mar 15th, 2004, 06:14 AM
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ira
 
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Hi Ziana,

Notify the banks for any CC or ATM card you are taking.

Get Euro, if you need them, only from ATM machines.

Change about $100 into euro at your departure airport. It will be an additional $3 or so, but you won't have to look for an ATM in a strange place when you are jetlagged.

Use your credit card as much as you can.

Local fridge magnet souveniers are popular with many people.
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Old Mar 15th, 2004, 06:14 AM
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ira
 
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PS,

Have a great trip.
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Old Mar 15th, 2004, 06:52 AM
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Called bank again, they will send me Euros for $15 processing fee.

Thanks to all and keep them coming please
ira, )))))))))))))
how will they distinguish Local magnets?
Thanks, I need some cheering up !
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Old Mar 15th, 2004, 07:33 AM
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I should probably not open this can of worms at this late date, but are you sure you want to use a US cell phone in Europe?? If you are mostly making local Europe calls, you may wind up paying for calls to be sent Europe/US/Europe. Have you checked threads here about cell phones?

Yes call any credit cards you intend using (and you should have at least one back up card in case the main one is lost/stolen/rejected).

I agree to take enough Euros for the first day or few days to avoid lines at the ATM at the airport.

If your friends like wine, American wine is usually much more expensive in Europe.

Yikes, StCirq, you're already packed??? I haven't even bought all my clothes yet & I leave before you!
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Old Mar 15th, 2004, 07:38 AM
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claire,
I was about to use my cell phone mostly to receive calls from US.
I don't think I'll use it much within Europe as we are planning to wonder togeather.
I am going to call T-Mobil now...
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Old Mar 15th, 2004, 07:57 AM
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I am glad you warned me, I just spoke w T_Mobile and they said I will be charged not long dist, but roaming.
If I called my husband who is w me in Paris we both will be charged $0.99 per minute. And if my Mom will call me from US I will still be charged the same price. I was told before if my Mom will call me - it is free, so I thought fine, she'll call all the time.

Now it is all different.

They suggested to unlock SIM card and buy another one from European vendor.

Can someone suggest pricing and where to get it in Paris and if it'll still work in Germany .

O, Thanks you guys.
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Old Mar 15th, 2004, 08:12 AM
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Ziana, you can probably buy one at the airport, but definitely at any France Télécom or Orange or FNAC store in Paris.
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Old Mar 15th, 2004, 08:21 AM
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Will it make difference money-wise?
Thanks
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Old Mar 15th, 2004, 09:19 AM
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Ziana: I don't know. I've only purchased one phone, and I never shopped for one at an airport. Mine, which I purchased from Orange, cost about $80, before the dollar dived.
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Old Mar 15th, 2004, 09:46 AM
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Nothing is easy, right ?
StCirg, when you bought your phone - what did you used it for ?
Could you call US ?
After you return is that phone good for anyhting ?
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Old Mar 15th, 2004, 10:21 AM
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Ziana:

I use my French phone for business and pleasure while traveling, mostly to get and make calls from the USA, but for other countries sometimes as well. It works in Spain and Italy, too - probably other countries, but I haven't had it long enough to try it everywhere. No, it does not work in the USA, but I'm in France often enough for it to have been a good investment. Actually, I think it's a good investment for anyone who wants to be able to keep in touch with people while in Europe.
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Old Mar 15th, 2004, 10:30 AM
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Ziana:

If you are successful in getting your phone un-locked by T-Mobile (i.e. they provide you with the codes to unlock your phone), then you can buy pre-paid phone cards that comes with a new SIM card. These provide you with a phone number and 30-60 minutes to make/receive calls/text messages fromn/to anywhere. The last one that my wife bought when we were in France was from Vodaphone and it was about Euro30 - Euro40. You can always buy "re-fill" minutes from any Vodaphone store or tabac shops.

We travelled from France to Spain and the same pre-paid card worked.

I remember that we've also used Orange and they are priced similarly.
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Old Mar 15th, 2004, 10:42 AM
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taylor_made, THANKS.
I've just spent an hours reading all the
"cell" posts and still got no clue on what to do.
I called T-Mobile to unlock SIm and they are fine
with it, I have to call in 24 hours to get number
from them. Thanks to you I know now to buy prepaid
card as you wonderfully put "with your new SIM card"
and I should be good to go, right ?

Thanks so much
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Old Mar 15th, 2004, 11:32 AM
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Ziana:

I'm glad I can help.
Just one very important thing - you have to make sure (you may already know this) that your T-Mobile phone is a tri-band in order to operate in other country's network.
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