We are going on a Med. cruise next week and I am not sure how to handle the money issue. We will be in port in Italy and France.
Is it better to take cash and change into euros there? I am thinking we will use credit cards for any large purchases.
I really appreciate any advice on this.
We always use debit cards and get all of our euros that way. I've heard people complaining about the exchange rate in airports, but we've never noticed a significant difference either at Charles de Gaulle or at Toulouse, when compared to the ATM machines at Crédit Agricole or other banks in villages. We've never carried cash to France, except for what little we'll need for sundries and tolls once we get back to the U.S.
Chacun à son goût!
I'm not going to Italy or France, but I'm traveling to Africa this summer and the suggestion was to use a credit card as much as possible. No I just have to find one that doesn't charge for the currency conversion.
My daughter travels to Europe quite a bit and takes very little cash...about $100 to cover small expenses for each country.
When we travelled to Europe a few years ago, we relied mostly on credit cards. Once there, we took cash out as necessary from ATMs with no problem. We did have to notify our credit union and credit card companies of our itinerary prior to departure to make sure we didn't have our cards frozen for potential fraud.
MaryMac - It has been a few years since we travelled out of the country, but at the time Capital One was one of the only companies I found that did not charge a currency conversion fee.
Capital One is still the best credit card to use to limit conversion fees, as far as I know. Of course, if you don't already have one, there isn't time to get one, so that may be a moot point. There will be fees on your debit card withdrawals from the ATM also; if you really wanted to, you probably do have time to set up a Capital One checking account to get a debit card.
We always take enough local currency for the first day (it takes just a few days to get Euros through our bank)...getting the train or bus or whatever, meals, a cup of coffee at the connecting airport, etc. You will be jet-lagged and in an unfamiliar airport when you arrive, and it's just easier for us not to have to worry about getting cash immediately upon arrival. And there is always the possibility that things go wrong and you arrive in the middle of the night and don't have the currency exchange options or transportation options that you assumed you would have, etc.
You shouldn't have any trouble withdrawing from an ATM in France and Italy, in general, but note that you may not have immediate access to an ATM if your ship is at dock. Sometimes the dock is virtually in town, other times you are out in a port that doesn't have an ATM handy. If you have booked a tour, it may not take you to a place with an ATM nearby, so you would want to make sure that you already had some cash for purchases and tipping the tour guide, etc.
Do make sure you notify your bank and/or credit card company. You probably also want to let them know of U.S. and European cities you will be connecting through where you may be making withdrawals or purchases in the airport.
If you are travelling with your DH, I would recommend that you each carry a different card (i.e., different account) so that in the event that one is lost or stolen, you still have one. It isn't likely to happen if you take basic precautions, but it would be a huge hassle to have your one card lost when you are on a trip like that.
Thanks so much for these tips. We will each take a different credit card.Just have to notify the banks. We bought this cruise back in October and now its next week! So excited.
Have fun! We once bought E's in Charles de Gaulle [sp] airport for 1.75. OUCH! We missed our flight due to our connections from Germany. We wouldn't have missed our short sight seeing tour for anything. We have since been back to Paris several times. At this time the Euro is 1.324 When we viisit DD in Germany, we buy them from her.
Yes, do notify the banks if you go that route. We informed all of our financial institutions of the dates of our trips and where we would be, so we wouldn't have ATM withdrawals challenged when we were out of the country. That seemed to work well.
Chacun à son goût!
Ask your bank about the debit card fees. I have two debit cards and one doesn't have any fees to use ATMs anywhere, so that's the card I use. My other card charges fees for using out of network ATMs.
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