This is my first solo trip to Italy and I feel as if I am changing a tire on a moving bus. The more questions answered the more questions to ask. I am going to Italy mid September and doing internet to get airline rates. One comment came up on Cheap Air website: "flight wait time"...what does this mean? I am going to flight websites leaving NYC arriving Rome and am looking at major airline sites. I am open to airline suggestions to check. I do not plan on taking Euros with me from US. Will I be able to get Euros with Visa or Master Card in Rome airports and as needed as I travel? And what about getting health insurance before leaving US to supliment my Medicare ? John
Lets take the easy one first. Medicare does not cover you outside the US. Check with your supplement to see what they cover. You can get additional, short term medical insurance at insuremytrip.com, or squaremouth.com. I always take a hundred or so Euro with me so that I do not have to waste time or worry about finding an ATM in the airport. However, BE SURE that you are using a debit card at a bank owned ATM to obtain local currency. Using a credit card should be seen as a desperate, last second, choice. The fees can be very bad. I was nervous with you using the word credit card in the title. Also, might want to review the responses to ATM Use just below this posting. And the train schedule question is ??????? Don't know what flight wait time means either? Just use the various search engines for flights - Orbitz.com, Kayak.com, etc. for flights. PS Which guidebooks are you using?
I don't think that Medicare pays for any medical expenses incurred outside of the USA. Check to make sure.
First, get a copy of Rick Steves Italy right away. In addition to giving specific advice on the sights, the introduction and appendix will help you with the questions you asked above. How are you getting from Harrisburg to the New York airports? If you don't have a convenient ride, also check flights from Harrisburg involving a connection. To look for flights, the easiest place to start is http://www.kayak.com. You should look into flying open jaw, for instance, into Venice and out of Rome, to increase efficiency (doubling back costs both time and money). To get these, select "multi city" instead of "one way" or "round trip" on Kayak or on the airline's websites. For money advice, read all of the links on this page, and you'll be an expert: http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/money-travel-tips.htm. In summary, the post above is correct. You use an ATM card to get Euro cash, and credit cards for purchases, not cash (except in emergencies). You've already been told about Medicare, and what to do about it. Something to know is that travel insurance policies cover pre-existing medical conditions only if you buy the policy within a certain time after you buy the first covered item (usually 7 to 15 days). Usually, people buy airfare first, so be sure to buy your insurance soon after you buy the airfare. Note that the insurance has multiple parts - trip cancellation/interruption, lost luggage, medical care, etc - and you can buy plans that cover one or more of these.
You should only use an ATM card to get euros. Your credit card will treat it as a cash advance and charge you interest from the date of withdrawal until the payment date. Check with your bank to find out what your daily limit is and what the fees are. Also be sure to notify the bank (and credit card companies too) of your travel plans so they don't freeze your card. I've never had a problem getting cash from an ATM in Europe. For backup, have some U.S. cash with you. You can always change it at a currency exchange at the airport. If you don't find an ATM, the Italians call it a bancomat.