Should we arrive in Italy with Euros in pocket. I can order some from my credit union. Where would I get the best exchange?
We always take some with us but we get a decent rate here at home - alot will disagree to do this.
We generally rent apartments and the balance is paid in cash so I like to have it ready to hand over.
Just make sure if you use your credit card to purchase how they charge you usually it's at the higher cash advance rate.
See the most recent discussion of this topic under "General Europe" for lots of advice. I never take any with me--just an ATM card, but apparently some people have experienced problems with this approach. I just returned from Italy and withdrew during my time there more than the equivalent of $8,000 in euros and didn't experience any problems.
ATM's are at all the airports but many times there a big lines!
We always take plenty of euros with us. We want to hit the ground running. We are often well off the beaten path and the last thing we want to worry about is running out of cash. Many vendors in rural small villages do not take credit cards.
We used to schedule time for banking. Now we can use that hour or 2 on more fun things! I know ATM's are a hot item - but we have never used them. Don't use them in the US either. Yep - we are old fashioned - but not old!!!
Be aware that the sites referenced give the bank to bank rate. You won't get this in Italy. An ATM will cost you about 1% above this rate, plus any out of network fees. A credit card will usually charge 1 to 3% over the interbank rate. Exchanging dollars or traveler checks will cost you between 3 and 10% more than the interbank rate. Exchanging in the U.S. will cost you 5 to 10% above the interbank rate.
I take at least enough for a cab and something to eat or drink usually more, so when I land I have local currency and don't have to find an ATM or use the airport exchanges where the rate is generally horrid.
Otherwise I use ATMs when there and have found the exchange rate to be reasonable. I have also found ATMs in the tiniest villages in Italy. Seems to be very much a part of life all over the world.
Eric - I'll echo what some others have said - have some euros in your pocket when you hit the ground. I get a couple thousand before I even leave home (I get an OK deal from my bank). Also, as Helen said - even the tiniest Italian villages seem to have an ATM or two with english language screens. Have fun!
take maybe $100 worth with you to hit the ground, but I've never had a problem finding an ATM in any airport in Europe and you get a good exchange rate. What I do these days is keep maybe 50 Euro when I return to the US, which is enough to get me started when I go to Europe.
But if this is your first trip, my advice is don't worry. ATMs are everywhere, you won't be penniless! A bigger concern is making sure your bank or credit card company isn't killing you on the exchange rate. If you look you can find cards that don't tack on an extra 2% conversion fee or any ATM charges.
Just stop at the first ATM in the airport, get $100-200 US worth to get you to the hotel, then figure out what you want to do. We've been several times, so I just keep left over Euro for the next trip. If this is your first time, if you feel more comfortable arriving with some money in you pocket, then exchange a bit, but don't go crazy!
a couple of tips. Compass Bank has NO ATM fees for any ATM anywhere in the world. We switched banks for this feature. we also got a Capital One card just for charges on vacation since they only charge 1% exchange fee. If you watch your pennies......