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Using Sleep in Italy, how do I handle getting Euros for lodging?

Using Sleep in Italy, how do I handle getting Euros for lodging?

Nov 12th, 2009, 07:02 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2004
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Using Sleep in Italy, how do I handle getting Euros for lodging?

I realize that the euros topic has been covered greatly, but I couldn't find my situation in the posts I read. We are coming into Rome over the holidays and arrive on a Sunday evening. We are renting from Sleep in Italy, and we need to give the apartment owner our total amount for the lodging less a very small down payment in euros. While I realize that the ATM approach is the best, in this case, I have to have $1700 in euros which is not going to work with my ATM card. Also, the $ continues to fall so what if I were to purchase now, I guess gambling that the $ falls further. For such a large $ amount, I want to make the best decision. Any advice from you experienced travelers?
mosey is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 07:09 AM
  #2  
 
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You say "we" are renting so I guess that may be several people each with one or more ATM cards. If two people each make two withdrawals of $450 (300E, a common ATM limit in Italy), you'll get all you need. Just make sure your accounts' daily limits are high enough for this; the ATM's per-transaction limit can be overcome by making several withdrawals in succession (at the same or different ATMs).

If this plan does not appeal, buy before you leave.
kayd is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 07:13 AM
  #3  
 
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I recently rented from them and had to do the same thing.
I bought my euros in advance, in the US, before I left. I was traveling with 3 other adults so we split up the money so that not one person was carrying it all.

I bought the euros from a currency exchange place in downtown LA. Their mark-up is only 3% which is the same rate I would be charged getting the money from an ATM using my citibank card.

I've done this twice now and it's worked well for me. I like the security of knowing I'm all set when I arrive with the apartment payment. I use ATMs to get cash while there for the rest of my trip.
Kristina is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 07:14 AM
  #4  
 
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Ooops, sent the above post too soon. If I were in your position, needing the cash on a Sunday night, I might get some Euros in advance just in case the ATMs run low at the end of a weekend. Also, if you are stuck, your landlord might be willing to accept half of the payment on your arrival and the remainder the following morning once the ATMs are restocked; Ask very politely.
kayd is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 07:34 AM
  #5  
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kayd, it is my family (two teenagers w/out ATM cards). Still too much for my husband and I to split up with ATM withdrawals. I would have to get my bank to raise our limit, and I really don't want to do that for security reasons.

Thanks, Kristina, I think I will do this. It has a lot to do with ease of mind, and one less thing to think about when I am tired and traveling with teenagers. I just didn't want to be paying so much more due to poor exchange rates here. My husband and I will use our ATM cards for the remainder of the trip.
mosey is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 07:41 AM
  #6  
 
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mosey-if you have time, shop around for the best exchange rate. I use www.oanda.com to check the rate and then try and get as close as possible to that.
Kristina is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 08:26 AM
  #7  
 
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This is posted several times already, but it needs repeating I guess: if you are a AAA member you can order large amounts of Euros from them ahead of time without having to pay commision; you pay what banks pay when buying Euros. I have done it many, many times, spent quite a bit of time doing the research leading to this which has worked quite well. Much like you I have been in the situation of having to arrive with substantial Euros in cash. That said, NOT all AAA Clubs apparently do this, I am fortunate mine in NY does. Otherwise, another venue is to order them through your bank but be ready to pay in the upwards of $30/transaction.
Viajero2 is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 08:40 AM
  #8  
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Thank you for repeating yourself! I am having the hardest time using the new format to research specific information, and I didn't come across yours previously, Viajero2. I have been contacting banks, and I am a AAA member so I will call them.
mosey is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 08:47 AM
  #9  
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Well, my AAA agency only handles traveler's checks. Hmmm!
mosey is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 08:49 AM
  #10  
 
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mosey- if you live in or near a city which gets a fair amount of international tourists, you may be able to find an exchange place like I did rather than going to a bank or ordering online for a fee.
Kristina is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 09:06 AM
  #11  
 
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hi mosey,

I'm in the same position, arriving in the late evening and having to pay over €800.

here in the UK you can buy euros over the counter at a post office, so every time I go to get money out [you can use your debit card at the post office with some banks] I'm going to buy £100 in euros. by the time we go in February I should have just about enough plus a bit over for the taxi, first night meal etc.

this way I'm hedging my bets over the exchange rate, though really it's pants compared to even 2 years ago when we last went.

have you thought of using a money belt to carry the money in?

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 09:07 AM
  #12  
 
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You just need to realize that no matter how you do it you will be paying 8-10% above the Interbank rate rather then the 2-3% you usually pay with an ATM card. (Even if the bureaux de change doesn;t charge a fee - they give you an awful rate of exchange - otherwise they woul dlose money and go out of business.)
nytraveler is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 09:14 AM
  #13  
 
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Did you ask the landlord if he or she would accept Euro denominated travelers checks? I don't believe the exchange rate or fees are any better (or worse) than getting Euro cash in the US before you go, but it is a bit more secure than carrying that much cash. It's how I have handled European apartment rentals in the past. But be sure your landlord agrees and that you agree on TC brand, such as Visa or Amex. I have gotten them at my own bank (Chase) and at American Express office depending on what was more convenient at the time here in Chicago. (You might ask AAA if they offer Euro travelers checks.)
laurie_ann is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 09:31 AM
  #14  
 
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I didn't think AAA even dealt in travelers checks any more, mine does not (in Wash DC). I thought all of AAA did not have travelers checks any more. I also am skeptical that any AAA gets euros at interbank rate for anyone. Mine sells currency, sure, but they get it from Travelex, not a bank, and they charge a 5.5% markup. Which is better than some banks, though. I don't think AAA deals with banks to get euro.
Christina is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 09:48 AM
  #15  
 
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nytraveler-I bought euros from my exchange place for $1.50 on 10/02 when the interbank rate that day on oanda.com was $1.46. That's about 3% (which is exactly what he told me his markup was).
Kristina is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 10:16 AM
  #16  
 
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If your city has currency-exchange places, they will indeed charge a much lower mark-up than chartered banks. Where I live, they are holes in the wall with one or two employees, and they make their money on the spread - they buy for less than the interbank rate and sell for more.
Zerlina is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 11:08 AM
  #17  
 
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I rent apartments many times before with my spouse. I have been able to easily get up to 2000 Euros out via ATM machines when I arrive to Italy. This is what I do. When you arrive at the airport, you withdraw 500 Euro at ATM. Your Spouse withdraw 500 Euro at ATM (you have 1000 Euro)

You take the taxi to your designation (Rome, Florence, etc)
Upon arrival to the destination, we go to the apartment, we ask the owner/landlord to show us where the closest ATM is. Better yet - have them walk you there.
Spouse & I go together, and we withdraw 500 Euro each (this puts us at 2000 EURO) If there is a 300 Euro limit, we go to another ATM and get more money. It is usually base on machine.

There was only one time when we weren't able to get 100% of the money. The owner understood and came back the next day.
kittycatangel is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 11:09 AM
  #18  
 
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I forgot to mention that spouse and I use the same bank with same account, but the 500 Euro limit is per person, not by account, so we were both able to take out 500 Euro each
kittycatangel is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 11:17 AM
  #19  
 
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Christina-- the fact that you don't know nor understand how my AAA Club deals with Euro(s) transactions matters very little in them been able to do it...and on myself been able to take full advantage of it many times. Life is soooo good!!
Viajero2 is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 11:21 AM
  #20  
 
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If the apartment owner will accept a bank draft in euros, open an account with www.xe.com/fx. Money will be taken from your checking account by electronic transfer and a bank draft in the currency of your choice will be made payable to the person of your choice. Normally the draft is sent directly to the person by US mail. However, if you don't want the apartment owner to have all that money before you arrive, have the draft made payable to him/her but mailed to you at your home. Take the draft with you and hand it over in person.

The exchange rate is only slightly higher than the international rate on the day the transaction is initiated. There are no fees. For security reasons it take a little time and effort to set up an account, but everything goes swiftly and smoothly after that.
TimS is offline  

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