Easy way to Save Money Traveling to Italy
The European currency is the Euro. Over the last few months the dollar has further weakened against the Euro by almost 10%. This means that all things being equal a trip to a European country will be at least 10% more expensive. When changing money companies and banks will charge a base fee, a percentage of the transaction and will choose the exchange rate that you change at. Most credit cards do the same thing but the fees are even higher. The fees for exchanging money can arrive at 10%.
There are a few things that can limit the damages. When making reservations, ask for a price in USD. Most primary hotels will be able to do this. Once you have a price ask to pay in advance. Depending on when you want to send the money there are a couple of things you can do. If you have at least two months, you can send them a check in USD and they will email you a voucher for the funds deposited. If the time is very limited you can send an international wire transfer, this will cost about 25$. I would send more money than just the basic price for the hotel so you can have some money for the hotel restaurant and other amenities you may need.
Another way to save money is to take cash. The cost to exchange in Italy is significantly, about 8%, lower than to change in the US. Every city will have little shops that change money. Two of these are Thomas Cook and Western Union. Just as with other things convenience and competition have their price. Exchanging in the Airport will cost almost as much as the US but waiting 15 minutes and changing in the city will save you a bunch of bucks. The hotel will also change money but their prices are not very competitive.
If you find yourself in need of cash, an ATM is called a Bancomat. Be sure that your card is activated to work on international circuits before leaving the US. Some Bancomats will also be exchange machines that will take major currencies and disperse Euro. It is counter-intuitive but these are not the best way to exchange. Their advantage is that you can access them 24 hours a day and they are slightly less expensive than a bank.
Finally use the credit card wisely. Credit cards are the most expensive way to change money. They charge fees on fees and choose the worst rate during a certain period. Use the credit only as a last resort. Check into the company’s fees before traveling. There are bad cards and there are disastrous cards. The least expensive card I use is the Bank of America Signature. The cards I never use are Citibank, Providian, and Capital One. The absolute worst, that is the one to leave at home, is the Chase Card. Never use the card to get cash. I do not use traveler’s checks because of the fees but this may be something worth looking into. If you do use traveler’s checks always get the checks in dollars. The local exchange shops can take them, obviously with a surcharge.
Tags: Currency Exchange Money Euro Credit Cards Banks Travel Italy