What clothes?

May 18th, 2016, 11:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 92,281
I also live in Seattle. Just pack whatever you'd wear around on the weekends here in spring-time. Yes to shoes -lol! Comfortable ones and a couple pairs so you can change off. Yes to some kind of light outer layer.
suze is online now  
May 18th, 2016, 01:06 PM
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 564
StCirq on May 1, 16 at 9:42pm
"I wouldn't get any money from your bank before you leave, because you'll pay your bank exorbitant fees to do so. Just use your ATM card to get cash once you arrive from any ATM"

True. The best solution is to withdraw Euro from the ATM once you arrive in Italy. However, make sure to use an ATM that belongs to a bank, not the Travelex machines. These ones charge higher fees.

Also, make sure to have 100€-200€ in cash before you leave. In my experience, I have found that changing Dollars to Euro in the USA is much cheaper than in France.
Loacker is offline  
May 18th, 2016, 01:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Yes you do need that customs stamp in order to get the refund. Sometimes they want to see the items and sometimes they don't.

GlobalBlue opens at 6:00 am so I am assuming the customs office opens then as well.

Are you only transiting through Amsterdam on your way to Seattle or are you staying there?

I was told that the customs stamp has to be given at the airport you depart the EU from which would be Florence in your case. (even though you transit through Amsterdam, the last airport is considered the one you check your luggage into)

I guess if I were you I would have the items at the top of my suitcase, go to the airport early in hopes that the office for the stamp might be open, if it isn't open then I'd put those items into my carry on and try to get the stamp in Amsterdam. But I wouldn't count 100% on being able to do it in Amsterdam.

Good luck!
raincitygirl is online now  
May 18th, 2016, 01:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 92,281
I don't pay my bank "exorbitant fees" to order foreign currency. Depends where you bank. That statement doesn't hold true for everyone.
suze is online now  
May 18th, 2016, 08:52 PM
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Posts: 145
Thank you rain city girl! I do not have a carry on... I'll get the refund here in Siena and hope to find costumes in Florence airport right before departure. Costumes opens before 6am.

I have two more days from my trip left. Florence was amazing! I was there for about 5 days and still could have stayed more.

As for Siena, I took day tours to south and north of Italy from here. I have walked around but not done the duoma and other museums yet. I'll do that today. Any favorite places here anyone recommends from food, shopping or sight seeing? Thank you
august77 is offline  
May 18th, 2016, 09:19 PM
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Glad you have had a good time! I can't help you with Siena as I have only been for a day trip and it was a few years ago.
Florence is amazing, I love it!
raincitygirl is online now  
Jun 1st, 2016, 12:09 PM
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 86
Please post an update when you get back! Thank you!
August2015 is offline  
Jun 4th, 2016, 06:10 AM
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I have a trip report and picture. Where should I post it?
august77 is offline  
Jun 4th, 2016, 06:38 AM
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Hi August - that's great. Thanks for your posts during your trip and for doing a TR. I'm looking forward to reading it.

if you have a blog, you can post a link to it - it's that simple. Then pictures etc will show up as normal.

if it's a "normal" TR, go to "post a new topic" at the top of the page, just as if you were posting a normal new thread, check that it shows the correct forum [Europe in this case] click the right country [Italy] post your report with a title, then at the end, hit the "Trip report" icon.

[oh yes, and post a link to it here so that everyone who contributed to this thread knows its there]

Hope that helps!
annhig is offline  
Jun 4th, 2016, 07:39 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,155
Another Seattleite here. It's a traveling city.

To continue Greg's analysis:

200 example
Official rate 5/2, 1 EURO = $1.15

1. EURO ordered from BofA (8.4% premium over offical rate)
BA rate: 1 EURO = $1.2092 (BA padded themselves with 5% margin)
Total in $ = EURO * BA rate + $7.50 (normal handling charge)
Total in $ = 200*1.2092 + 7.50 = $249.34

2. EURO from BNL D'Italia ATM (3% premium over official rate)
Total in $ = EURO * Official rate + 3%
Total in $ = 200*1.15*1.03 = $236.90

3. EURO from other Italian ATM (3% plus $5, for €200, 5.2% premium over official rate)
Total in $ = EURO * Official rate + 3% + $5.00
Total in $ = 200*1.15*1.03 + 5.00 = $241.90


4. EURO from US credit union at Italian bank ATM (1% premium over official rate)
Total in $ = EURO * Official rate + 1%
Total in $ = 200*1.15*1.01 = $232.30
(I used 1% because that's what they charge at the local CUs.)

Not a huge difference considering the cost of a trip to Europe but it adds up. The same 1% surcharge is applied to CU credit card charges.

I have 2 credit union accounts I use for travel, one of which is my usual "banking" place. I'm a great fan of credit unions -- and a great critic of BOA, which just charges too much too often.
Mimar is offline  
Jun 5th, 2016, 08:49 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 145
TR coming up. Can I post pictures on TR or do I just provide a link there? Thank you
august77 is offline  
Jun 5th, 2016, 10:51 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 6,857
You have to post a link to your pictures.

Not all credit unions offer good currency conversion rates. I have some money in a US credit union, which doesn't have particularly good terms. I keep the account because it's convenient to me for other reasons.
bvlenci is offline  
Jun 15th, 2016, 03:57 PM
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TR is published. It is a short version so please fell free to ask questions. I would love to help if I can.
august77 is offline  
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