Over on the Italy forum it sounded like it was a good idea to take some euros from U.S. to Italy just to have on hand. So then I'll be traveling from Italy to London and we'll be arriving in the late evening and taking a taxi for part of our route to the hotel, so may need pounds immediately upon arrival. How do I turn in my euros for pounds? and where? I've also heard it's not a good idea to exchange any money in Italy. I'll be using credit whenever possible but may not be an option in a taxi.
It's never a good idea to exchange currency at those exchange booths at the airport. We've been going to Europe for 20 years and we never exchange currency before we arrive in a country. There are atm's everywhere. So when we land in Rome, we get Euros at the atms at the airport. In London, Pounds at the airport, etc.
Most of us on this Forum seem to save euros for the next trip, since they're usable in so many countries. In that case, you would stow them upon departure from Italy, and get GBP from an ATM on arrival in London.
However, if you feel you will not be returning to a euro country anytime soon, and if you do not know anyone else who would want to buy them from you, you can spend them down before leaving (apply them to your last hotel bill, then put the rest on a credit card). Or, you can exchange them in the airport for GBP before flying to Italy. Yes, the rate if you exchange them won't be as good as getting GBP from an ATM, but if you aren't going to use them in any other way, it's better than having money you're not using.
You can also exchange euros for pounds in England, but you probably wont' be able to exchange the coins - only notes - hence my recommendation that if you do want to do this, you do it before leaving Italy.
I did this with Czech koruny; I had some left over from a trip in 2007, and in 2008, I went to an exchange booth in Budapest and changed them for Hungarian forints. Alas, I still haven't been back to either country, so the loss on the exchange rate was made up for by having money I could use right away (and we're talking, maybe, $50-75 worth of currency - not hundreds of dollars worth).
if you are rich or your company is paying for the trip use the exchange booth
otherwise get pounds in the USA before you go or take them out of an atm when you arrive
If you really have no further need for the notes change them at one of the forex specialists in London (check rates online first). Even a what is effectively a double exchange rate they will be more competitive than an average bureau de change in Italy, or indeed in London.
You can pay black cabs in London by card these days at a fairly reasonable surcharge (this changed relatively recently for hose with older experiences).
Excellent info. I unfortunately don't plan to go back soon, and don't plan to carry much cash.
Good to know about the taxis too.