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Travel preparations

Travel preparations

We’re getting ready to take a trip to Italy this summer (which I’m very excited about) but since it’s been a very long time since I was in Europe, and I’ve never been to Italy, I’ve been a little stumped on some of the travel preparations.

I’ve got the basics covered (passports, plane & train tickets, apartments rented, dog kennel reserved) but that’s about it. What’s tripping me up is the money thing. How much will I need to bring, and in what form? Should I bring travelers checks in Euros? Should I just plain bring Euros? Should I stick with the Capital One credit card I got, since there are no currency conversion fees? Should I just use ATMs there and withdraw money from my checking account? Or maybe do a combination of all of the above? I just don’t know, and I need to make up my mind quickly so that I can get things in motion.

I’ve heard (from a co-worker who was just in Italy) that they have a very cash-based society. Both of the apartments we’ve reserved have specified that we must pay in cash, so I’m inclined to believe this. For someone who doesn’t usually even have an entire dollar on me, that idea is a little nerve-wracking, especially since I’ve also heard many comments about pick-pockets. I’m trying to keep some perspective though: after all, when I went to Manhattan I also received many of the same warnings from people that lived there, and I had no problems.

See Also

If you’ve been to Europe recently (or Italy especially), how did you handle the spending money aspect?

View Comments (7)
  • I haven’t been to Italy, but live in the UK and have travelled throughout Europe and I can tell you that traveller’s cheques are not accepted as much as they are in the US. They need to be exchanged at a bank, whereas cashpoints are open 24/7 (although in some places they run out of money on Sunday nights).

    I would bring some cash, an ATM card and a credit card.

    Pickpockets might be more of a problem than in Manhattan, but the precautions are identical.

  • You’ll lose money if you take traveller’s cheques. There’s usually a fee associated with them when you exchange them, sometimes 10%.

    Plastic is the way to go. I’m not sure where you’re staying but nearly every place I visit accepts either Visa or Mastercard.

    Make photo-copies of your passport and all your credit cards and leave them with someone you trust here. That way if your stuff gets stolen (lord forbid!) you can have the duplicates faxed to you so you can start cancelling cards and getting new passports.

    My two cents.

  • Darling has experience in International money matter, so I asked his advice on the matter. His response: “What she needs to do is keep most of her money in travelers checks. Make sure she has adequate access to a bank, and cash those checks so she has enough money every day. Make sure she knows how much she’s going to be spending per day, and only take out that much cash.
    Fee or no fee, err on the side of caution without limiting your experiences to places that accept cards.

  • Whenever I go visit my relatives in Holland, I only bring my ATM card and withdraw money from any of the many ATMs that can be found there. The Exchange rate it usually better than that of traveler’s checks or cash exchanges. I do agree that the Mediterranean countries are more cash-focused than the northern European countries.

  • I went to Rome in May 2006, and Barcelona March 2007 I converted 500.00 dollars to Euro for each trip. I used my ATM and/or credit card for meals, and muesum entrance fees and stuff like that when I could. For shopping, transportation and grabbing quick bites I used euros.

  • Europe is no way a cash-based society. Well, Eastern Europe might be but not Italy. They use debit and credit cards as much as we do. Well, of course you’ll need some cash

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