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Old 03-21-2008, 07:51 PM
djw djw started this thread
 
Location: Georgia
951 posts, read 2,575,508 times
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Those that have travelled recently in Europe, what is your recommendation for obtaining cash or making purchases (dining, hotel, transport)?
I prefer not to have more than a day or two's worth of cash on hand as we'll be using public transport and staying in hostels, but don't want to eat away my budget in ATM fees, either!!
Your thoughts?

tia
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Old 03-21-2008, 10:15 PM
 
Location: AmCit in Philippines
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I live in Tbilisi, Georgia and use the ATM to get money. It's the first time I have done so in 15 years abroad (largely due to opportunity: I've mostly been in places without ATMs) and I couldn't be more pleased. My debit card/Visa lets me take up to US $500 a day (in local currency) and charges me 1% for it. I've decided that I'm happy for that service fee, given the options. (No surprise exchange rates on credit card bills, no need to find a currency exchange place....) If I need to spend more than US $500, I can charge an additional $3,000 on top of that. It's made life very easy.
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Old 03-22-2008, 12:07 AM
 
Location: Tucson AZ & Leipzig, Germany
2,372 posts, read 7,761,282 times
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I use my ATM card to get money from Bank ATMs in Europe. No other person comes in contact with my ATM information, so I like the privacy of that. I don't have to show any ID and turn over all kinds of documents to somebody. Traveler's checks are a lot more hassle than getting cash from an ATM and carrying only the cash you need for a day or two. My bank also charges me a straight 1% fee, and they don't charge me any other fees for using an ATM outside the USA. Be sure and check with your bank first, many banks tack on fees if you use another bank's ATM outside the USA. I use cash to pay for most items while on vacation, especially small restaurants or inns that I typically go to instead of those real big expensive places.
I take along a major credit card also, but mainly keep it for an emergency or if I am paying a single large bill like a rental car fee. I never use a credit card at a place where the credit card is taken out of my hands or out of my sight. That means at a restaurant, I pay cash only with no exceptions. Train tickets at a train station, I pay cash for those also. I don't want anybody making a copy of my credit card or CC number. Don't forget that here in the US, we have laws against allowing a credit card number to print out in full on a store receipt. That law does not exist in many countries. I don't want my ATM or credit card number floating around anywhere on a piece of paper.
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Old 03-22-2008, 03:41 AM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,914,616 times
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I concur with recycled.
I think I did pay for train tickets with my credit card a couple times, though, without any repercussions.
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Old 03-22-2008, 06:15 AM
MB2
 
Location: Sebastian/ FL
3,496 posts, read 8,696,702 times
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I usually use cash/ credit cards and travelers checks.
ATM services are not available in my hometown in Germany, and credit cards are not easily accepted there in most places. (Tiny little town)
In order to get my hands on an ATM/ Cash or such, I would have to travel about 45 minutes to a larger branch (bank).
Yeah, for me it's "going back to basics" when I visit home....LOL.
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Old 03-23-2008, 09:15 AM
djw djw started this thread
 
Location: Georgia
951 posts, read 2,575,508 times
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Thanks for the suggestions.
I'll be calling my banks/credit card companies to figure out which ones offer the best fees.
Smart tip about not using cc at "local" establishments!
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Old 03-23-2008, 11:13 AM
 
Location: Olympus Mons, Mars
5,678 posts, read 8,594,408 times
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Using your ATM card abroad may not be the wisest thing. For example Wells Fargo bank charges $5 + 3% of the amount in commission to withdraw funds from a foreign ATM. This is in addition to the fees the local ATM will charge you. I'm sure other banks have similar commissions. Also, most accounts have a pretty low daily limit ($300-400), so if you're on a longer vacation you may have to pay these atrocious fees twice or thrice which defeats the purpose of getting a lower exchange rate.

The best way is to use a credit card that charges only the 1% international clearinghouse fees.

A note, Capital One is the only company I know of that does not charge to use their card abroad, not even the 1% fee, I have used mine many times and the exchange rates are very good.

Using credit cards is safer due to fraud protection and also you don't carry huge amounts of cash around.
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Old 03-23-2008, 03:37 PM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,914,616 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k374 View Post
Using credit cards is safer due to fraud protection and also you don't carry huge amounts of cash around.
Depends where you are.
Not every place takes credit cards, especially when you are in smaller towns and villages.
The only time we use a credit card <period> is for the *occasional* purchase when we travel overseas.
My husband uses a moneybelt and I use a neck pouch for our cash. It's not written in stone that every ATM card incurs foreign service fees. It's good to call the bank before you go, though.
Below is an ATM locator for Europe.
VISA ATM locator
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