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exchanging money

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michigan
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exchanging money

Do you suggest I exchange money here or do it at the airport? If I do it in the USA before leaving, what is the best for least fees?

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1. Re: exchanging money

When in Europe most definitely NOT the airports.

I'd suggest you take a 100 EUR in cash from your U.S bank for emergencies and then use the ATM machines that you will find outside of banks all over Rome. Remember to advise your card providers that you are travelling and

ensure the daily maximum withdrawal is ok for your purpose. Also, take two cards and don't keep them together.

Keller, Texas
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2. Re: exchanging money

I disagree and feel there is no problem getting EUs from the atm in the airport. It costs a lot less. There is an atm by baggage claim 8 at FCO. All we did was use our atm card and put the money in a money belt. No one else was around us, so we felt it was pretty safe to go ahead with the transaction. We needed quite a bit of money to pay for our apartment in advance. This required the use of two different bank atm cards as one would only let us cash $500. We used atms (bancomats) everywhere. Just use common sense.

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3. Re: exchanging money

Sparks. I was referring to the rates of exchange at the burea's.

Kamloops, BC...
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4. Re: exchanging money

sandyjoe - and all you folks from UK -

It is outragreously expensive to buy foreign currency through a US bank - much more costly than banks in the UK or in Canada. The rate through the ATM is based on the official rate of exchange that day, but the net cost for the transaction is entirely dependent on the fee the originating bank charges for withdrawals overseas.

I know that the rate at the Cambios (foreign exchange desks) at the airports and elsewhere is higher than what EEC members will pay in their home countries, but it is still better than what's available to the average American depositor at home.

The best rate for euros available to an American in America is probably from American Express for Traveller's Checks - but then there's a fee for cashing them at the other end, which again increases the net cost. So do all the math, and Americans come out better getting euro currency in Europe and sterling in the UK as long as they withdraw a large enough number of Euros to make the withdrawal fee worthwhile.

For my banks, both Canadian and American, the fee per transaction is $2.50, an affordable amount if I withdraw no fewer than 500 Euros. Before I go overseas, I make arrangements with my bank to increase my daily withdrawal limit. I have never come across an ATM in Europe that would not allow at least 500 euros per withdrawal and often I'm allowed 1,000 euros.

There is one other option. If you carry an American Express gold or platinum card, you can cash a personal check at an Amex office. That is an avenue to explore. It's possible that a better rate might be available that way.

Fort Lauderdale...
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5. Re: exchanging money

I agree that ATM's are the best way to go, but I did actually have trouble getting my ATM to work at the airport. Luckily I had brought another ATM card from a smaller account I seldom use and was able to get it to work. I actually had to try two other ATM's in town but after that my original card worked fine. Still don't know why, but all I'm saying is it might be good to bring another prepaid "gift type" card or a card from a different bank along to be back up if needed. Also, as a security measure I only use ATM's connected to banks ( not the freestanding machines you sometimes see) and only when the bank is actually open- so if the card gets "eaten" or whatever someone is there to assist. I make that a practice here at home as well. A friend had her card stick in a machine in front of a closed grocery store once- not a pretty situation. But ATM cards ( not credit cards which have gigantic user fees) are the best way by far to get cash.

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6. Re: exchanging money

Hi 1BC. Does this not boil down to what I said? In other words, wait and draw cash from an ATM at an Italian bank?

Or, are you saying you will still be charged a high rate because your bank of origin is in U.S.?

Please clarify your experience - thanks..

michigan
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7. Re: exchanging money

Thanks for the ideas. My bank LaSalle wanted 15.00 plus 1%. They gave me a card of a company called Foreign Currency Exchange local in the area of Michigan. They cost 5.00 for any amount. So I just called and they have it in stock and if you have paper money left they will exchange it back for free. So I think we will do that. If we need more we will have to use the ATM's. We leave in two weeks. Any other things I might have to do before then? Thanks in advance again Sandyjoanne.

Fort Lauderdale...
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8. Re: exchanging money

If you haven't already, get yourself an around the waist or around the neck momey holder- you don't want to carry cash where pickpockets can get at it.

Have a great trip- I wish I were going back- and have gelato at least twice a day ( once for you and once for me!)