The big boss (wife) and I will be in Rome for 4 days in November, our first time in Europe. My question is about money. Being an American citizen, how does one pay for things? Should we bring cash US$ with us? Are there places to exchange to Euros? Looking for tips from experienced European travelers. We will be staying @ the Bee-hive. I have more ?'s, for another thread. TIA
Be sure to care about 100-150 Euros with you from the states. You want to be able to buy a coffee or a snack, perhaps pay a taxi driver. The last 2 times we went to Italy (summer 2006 and spring 2007) we used a dediacted ATM card for cash and a Capital one credit card for everything else. The dedicated Atm we got from AAA. There is a small fee to get two one for my husband and one for me. It can be refilled 3 times if necessary and it also means your bank accounts are not attached to it. We use a Capital One card b/c they don't charge an extra fee when used abroad only the regular the exchange rate.
There is really no need to carry US dollars while in Europe. I never have in 4 trips. I would suggest going to your local bank and ordering $2-400 in Euros from them. Depending on the bank, it may take up to 3 days to complete this order. Also, if you do not already have one, get an ATM card from your bank for your checking account. Verify that you have a numbers only PIN and inquire about the daily limit. If the limit is not high enough, ask them to increase it. The limit is subjective and can be changed by your bank. When in Europe, use the debit card to get cash (Euros). Get the max you can. The exchange rate is better than travelers checks or converting US dollars while in Europe. Finally, carry 2 credit cards for purchases too. Make sure you inform your credit card company about your travels prior to leaving so that they will not block your card for a 'questionable' transaction. Read more info on the links in this website. good travels.
Ricks explains it best in this article: www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/moneytip.htm
One thing I would add, even if you are planning to rely on plastic in your travels, you should always carry about $200-$300 in cash (euors or dollars)in case of emergency; always stored in a money belt or in-room safe. The emergency could be anything from you being robbed to losing your wallet, to your bank at home burning to the ground(along with it's computers).
I emphasize the point of needing to carry extra cash in case your ATM card doesn't work. Several years ago, we were in France and all the CC and ATM satellites went down. Had we not had cash, we would have been screwed.
i used my bank[usbank]b-4 leaving, for 1000 eu. it took 15 min.
The cheapest way to get euro is with an ATM card. Italian banks don't charge a fee for using their ATM (bankomats). The only charges will come from your bank, check these carefully. Usually there is a 1% foreign transaction fee plus a flat fee for out of network ($1 to $5).
Getting euro in the states will cost you about 5%. A preloaded debit card can cost you 7% plus fees.