i think i read in one of mr. steves' books that you should take several hundred dollars to italy when traveling there but a friend of mine told me that even banks charge fees for converting dollars to euros. she suggested using a credit card at a bank upon arrival. is this a better idea?
paula, You might want to delete this duplicate Thread, so that you keep all your replies in the same place. There are a couple of replies in your earlier Thread on this topic.
Of course banks charge you fees for exchanging your dollars. Did you think they worked for free?. Yes use your credit card as much as possible for purchases, they give the best exchange rate. However most (if not all) credit cards nowadays charge a 3% foreign transaction fee. Some may not (CapitalOne use to charge no foreign fee, I dont' know now). Your Atm card will be best for cash. ATMs there work exactly like at home. Just memorize your pin in numbers (no letter on Italian keypads) and notify your bank you'll be traveling overseas so that your bank doesn't think somebody hacked your card. Minimize withdrawals to few large withdrawals because most US banks charge a fee ($4-$5) for each withdrawal. 250 euro is the maximum that you can withdraw at some ATMs. But my Italian bank, for example, allows me to withdraw 500 euro a shot. Take some US Dollars only for when you return home. If you know somebody who has Euros to spare near you (maybe from a recent trip), ask if you can change some so that you have something in your hand as soon as you land (for the taxi to the hotel), in case you can't locate a functioning aTM right away. Your local bank or AmEx office will have some (and also the airport where you depart from), however in the US you will get superlousy exchange rates. So minimize buying Euros anywhere in the US unless it's a friend who has some left over from a trip.