My wife and I are travelling to Italy for three weeks and are wondering how many euros should we bring? Is Visa Debit widely accepted throughout (Rome, Florence, Cinquee Terre and Venice)

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
14077 posts

Visa and Mastercard is widely accepted through out Europe. The preferred cards. The easiest, cheapest, and most convenient way to obtain local currency is via a debit card at a bank owned ATM. Personally prefer to enter the country with a hundred Euro or so in my pocket that I have either save from an earlier trip or obtained at a local bank before departure. Others prefer to hit an ATM at the airport. Either way works except finding the airport ATM is another task I don't need on arrival.

Posted by Danielle
Paxton, Massachuse, USA
36 posts

My family and I just returned from 2 weeks in Italy. I went with enough Euros to cover my first 2 days of expenses (kept in money belts). I too didnt want to have to find an ATM at arrival though there were plenty. I then used debit cards every few days without issue. Your bank can tell you which ATMS are associated with your bank so you do not receive a fee. For purchases and meals, I used a Mastercard credit card throughout our stay (Bank of AMerica offeres a Travel Rewards card that does not charge you a fee to use overseas) without issue. I did encounter two stores that asked for an ID as they were using the new chip and pin system. No problem - just showed it to them without issue. Hope this helps - have a great time. We loved it!!

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
8174 posts

I'll normally bring some U.S. (in your case, Canadian) dollars to exchange in an emergency. Other than that, I start with an ATM at the airport. ATMs are the best value for obtaining euros. Exchanging, whether here or in Europe, is much more expensive. ATMs are everywhere, including small towns and medieval centers. The only time I advise people to spend extra to buy euros ahead of time is when you have a large cash payment for lodging that's due on your first day in Europe. In that case, the needed cash is more than your daily limit (set by your bank and sometimes per transaction limits at ATMs) allows you to take. Your Visa debit card will work in virtually any ATM in europe - though I don't suggest a debit card for making purchase transactions. Small retailers want cash, so get cash and pay with that. If you want to make a purchase with a card, use a credit card. In the (hopefully unlikely) event that someone adds a fraudulent charge to your card, a debit will directly pull from your checking account balance. A credit card fraudulent transaction is something you can take time to straighten out when you get home.

Posted by Glenn
Marlton, NJ, United States
59 posts

We all have our ways that feel most comfortable to us. I bring a total of 0 with me. I travel to Europe alot for business (also vacations as well :-) ). After de-boarding the plane (I never check in my bags), i just go to the ATM, and grab a 100 or so Euros. I make sure I travel with my Debit card, and at least 2 Visa cards. Glenn

Posted by Glenn
Marlton, NJ, United States
59 posts

One other point about Credit cards - Capital One does not charge international transaction fees - most credit cards do. Glenn

Posted by Cat
Paia, HI, USA
141 posts

Andrew, I agree with Frank about having euros on hand upon arrival. Most banks can order for no charge (just conversion rate) if you give them a week+ notice. €200 would be sufficient I imagine. (I did NOT take any euros, and after arrival, realized I didn't know how to ask in italian the proper question bout ATM "bancomat" and fees, etc. I probably a 20% markup at Venice airport for my first withdrawal. Lesson learned. I also stuck with my capital one visa for major charges (hotels, big shopping/dining purchases).
I also agree with Glenn - after calling Bank Of America, Amex, Cap 1; i found my Cap 1 was my ONLY card with no international fees. To keep it moderated, I made a payment mid-trip to pay off balance and observe spending. Everything else I used cash via Bank Operated ATMs (non bank owned charge big fees- like my airport exchange, haha... Again, lesson learned!). Have a wonderful trip!!