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Old May 8th, 2006, 03:51 PM
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Default Dollars to Euros?

We are planning a cruise to Med. this summer and while doing the excursions in Italy, whatis the best way to exchange dollars into euros or is it still lira? Your help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old May 8th, 2006, 07:57 PM
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The Euro is now the currency of all European Union countries (Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Finland). The UK elected to remain on the pound (£). Here is a link to a free website to convert between USD and foreign currencies or vice versa. Remember, though, that if you exchange through hotels, cruise lines, etc. you may not get as good a rate.
http://finance.yahoo.com/currency/co...submit=Convert
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Old May 9th, 2006, 12:22 PM
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I have found that the best way to obtain local currency is by using your ATM card and using a bank ATM while in a foreign country. It will give you the best exchange rate and not have to look for a place to exchange currency or cash traveler's checks. Your ATM should have a four digit pin and be part of the Cirrus, Plus or other International network. If it is from a major U.S. bank it will be part of these networks.

Travelers' checks still are a good alternative but fewer small merchants are accepting them. If you do wish to exchange travelers' checks I suggest doing so in an American Express office or a major bank in order to get the best rate.

For larger purchases I would use your credit card. You will receive the current exchange rate and it eliminates the need for carrying large amounts of cash.

Take care,
Mike (Who likes to keep the amount of cash in his pocket low and his wife accomplishes that.)
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Old May 9th, 2006, 12:59 PM
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I agree completely with MikeM's comments. However, as to Debit Cards, my bank (which will remain anonymous but begins with the letters W.F. ), as well as some others, has seen fit to "up" its per transaction fee :evil: for foreign withdrawals. Even with this the rate still has been better for me than using hotels or HAL's (other cruise lines ) currency exchange.
I know some other more enlightened banks do not gouge their customers as does my horse-drawn bank so you should check on your bank's policy regarding foreign ATMs.
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Old May 9th, 2006, 02:49 PM
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CA:

The $5 fee now makes you feel like the horses just ran over you.

However it is much better than trying to find a place to cash a travelers' check or lose it on an exchange rate.

It does pay to get the amount you need and limit the amount of withdrawals so the fees do not mount up.

On our recent trip a couple spent over an hour looking for somewhere to cash a travelers' check rather than use an ATM and spend $5. In the end they used the ATM because they couldn't find a place in China that would cash a travelers' check without an actual passport. After ten minutes I would have gave up. To me that's not a good use of time in a port.

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Mike
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Old May 10th, 2006, 01:38 PM
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Thanks for the good advice. Wallyb
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Old May 12th, 2006, 11:37 AM
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In order to save on fees, some US banks partner with various European banks and do not charge a fee if you use those cashpoints. For an example, Bank of America in the US and Barclays in UK. So if you use a BofA card in a Barclays cash point you will not be charged a fee. I wouldn't doubt that otehr bansk have similar deals.

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Old May 12th, 2006, 08:14 PM
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When I travel to the States I can use my debitcard in most of the stores.
If I can do that in the States, maybe there is a possibility you can use yours in Europe? At least in the major cities.
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Old May 13th, 2006, 09:23 AM
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Most Bankcards with the Visa logo can be used in the same manner as a Visa card. It will go against the existing balance in your bank account. If there is insufficient funds in your bank account the transaction will be rejected.

There are some retailers that will not take a bankcard, even with a Visa logo, for purchases. The best way to find out is to try it but have an actual Visa as backup.

Take care,
Mike
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