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Old 04-10-2018, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Seattle,WA
46 posts, read 29,555 times
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[quote=WellShoneMoon;51571213] I can't imagine traveling to Italy -- or anywhere else, for that matter -- without the safety net of a credit card.

If you're nervous about pickpockets, how are you going to manage carrying your debit card and cash around, when they're so much more risky than a credit card?[/QUO

What if I were to carry cash only and I didn't use my debit card at all? Wouldn't that be safer? I hear Italians prefer cash anyway and will give you the LOOK if you try to use a card everywhere. I just feel uncomfortable using plastic in a foreign place.
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:46 AM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
7,688 posts, read 16,130,196 times
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If you're a fan of their music, the really good Pink Floyd show that was at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London last year has moved on to Rome:

https://www.pinkfloydexhibition.com/
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:56 AM
 
1,838 posts, read 794,961 times
Reputation: 3385
Quote:
Originally Posted by leegary1982 View Post
My partner and I will be going to Rome for 5 days in May for my birthday. This will be my first long International flight and first time in Europe. I have so many things I want to see but is 5 days enough? I am also well aware of the pick-pocketing that goes on there. I plan to use a money belt. What are some things a first time visitor to Rome should do? What to eat? How will the weather in late May be?
Yes, you can see a lot in 5 days. The Vatican of course, Trevi Fountain, The Colosseum and Pantheon. Late May I would expect the weather to be warming up with the rainy season ending, I always travel in September and the weather has always been perfect in Europe. Eat? Well anywhere that you see locals should be good.
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:29 AM
 
Location: Orlando
2,012 posts, read 2,649,904 times
Reputation: 7696
Quote:
Originally Posted by leegary1982 View Post
What if I were to carry cash only and I didn't use my debit card at all? Wouldn't that be safer? I hear Italians prefer cash anyway and will give you the LOOK if you try to use a card everywhere. I just feel uncomfortable using plastic in a foreign place.
You don't want to carry around lots of cash because obviously if it's lost or stolen, it's gone.

Some banks impose a daily limit on cash withdrawals.

If all you have is a debit card, and if that is lost or stolen, how do you get cash? If your debit card is stolen, and somehow the thief has access to your PIN (I don't know how they do it, but I'm told they do it), then your entire bank account can be wiped out. Yes, you'll probably get it back at some point but only after a major hassle, and only after you're stuck in Italy for a while with no cash available to you.

Of course Italians prefer cash -- pretty much everyone does -- but most places accept credit cards, especially in a large city like Rome. On another travel forum website, I found the following post from November 2017:

"Italian law requires that electronic payment be accepted for all transactions over 5 euros. Starting this month there are heavy fines for insisting on cash payments."

Here's how I always handle money when traveling in Europe:

1. I use my ATM card to get a couple of hundred dollars' worth of local currency. (You have to know your 4-digit PIN for this.) Put 3/4 of this cash and the ATM card in my money belt, which I wear safety-pinned to the inside of my slacks. (Also in the money belt is a photocopy of my passport -- the passport itself is in the hotel safe.) Keep the rest of the cash in a front zipper pocket. Better yet, divide up the cash between a couple of front zipper pockets. I like to wear a jacket or vest that has multiple zipper pockets. A purse is for umbrella, guidebook, bottled water, phone, maybe a little cash too, but only as much as I'm comfortable with having it snatched, and I wear the bag cross-body at all times.

2. I take two different credit cards with me -- I use American Express and Visa (I get cash back for purchases on both cards, no annual fee on either, and I always pay off the account balance monthly so never any interest). Keep the AmEx in the money belt. Put the Visa in one of the front zipper pockets. Lots of people prefer a Capital One card, as they say it has no foreign transaction fees. I like AmEx for its stellar customer service, but I'm told that Europeans are less likely to accept AmEx than Visa, which is why I have the Visa.

3. Make sure you've notified your bank and credit card companies about your upcoming travel so they don't cut you off when you try to make a purchase, thinking that there's fraudulent activity on the card.

4. Never access the money belt in a public location. Always do it in your hotel room, or in a rest room when you're out and about. (Had so many arguments with my late husband about this -- and HE was the one who got pickpocketed, not me!)

5. I use credit cards for everything possible. I have never gotten THE LOOK that you mention. Sometimes, like at a farmer's market, I've only been able to use cash, but it's never a large purchase, so the cash comes from one of the small stashes in a front zipper pocket. I like the record-keeping that credit cards provide, as well as the safety and customer service if a problem arises.
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:35 AM
 
1,838 posts, read 794,961 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leegary1982 View Post
Hey we will be staying at the Hotel Quirinale on Via Nazionale. It's not too far from Termini Station. And it's close to Trevi Fountain. SO we will be in the heart of old Downtown. Oh yes I can't wait to try Gelato, cacio e pepe, Roman Pizza, etc.......
I stayed there. Nice location. The Boscolo Exedra Roma on the corner where the rotary is is where James Gandolfini died. Buy tickets for the hop on hop off buses. They are fun and you can do them all day from anywhere you see a stand.
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:42 AM
 
4,995 posts, read 7,327,627 times
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5 days is not enough for such a beautiful and amazing place, but it will be good enough for you to see all the main sites if you plan each day. It is such a beautiful and amazing city. Common sense rules apply. How you would act in any big American city is how u should act in a big European city. Rome is a high tourist city, so you'll see ppl from all over the world there. Use your head, use common sense, you'll be fine. Enjoy
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:46 AM
 
1,838 posts, read 794,961 times
Reputation: 3385
Quote:
Originally Posted by WellShoneMoon View Post
You don't want to carry around lots of cash because obviously if it's lost or stolen, it's gone.

Some banks impose a daily limit on cash withdrawals.

If all you have is a debit card, and if that is lost or stolen, how do you get cash? If your debit card is stolen, and somehow the thief has access to your PIN (I don't know how they do it, but I'm told they do it), then your entire bank account can be wiped out. Yes, you'll probably get it back at some point but only after a major hassle, and only after you're stuck in Italy for a while with no cash available to you.

Of course Italians prefer cash -- pretty much everyone does -- but most places accept credit cards, especially in a large city like Rome. On another travel forum website, I found the following post from November 2017:

"Italian law requires that electronic payment be accepted for all transactions over 5 euros. Starting this month there are heavy fines for insisting on cash payments."

Here's how I always handle money when traveling in Europe:

1. I use my ATM card to get a couple of hundred dollars' worth of local currency. (You have to know your 4-digit PIN for this.) Put 3/4 of this cash and the ATM card in my money belt, which I wear safety-pinned to the inside of my slacks. (Also in the money belt is a photocopy of my passport -- the passport itself is in the hotel safe.) Keep the rest of the cash in a front zipper pocket. Better yet, divide up the cash between a couple of front zipper pockets. I like to wear a jacket or vest that has multiple zipper pockets. A purse is for umbrella, guidebook, bottled water, phone, maybe a little cash too, but only as much as I'm comfortable with having it snatched, and I wear the bag cross-body at all times.

2. I take two different credit cards with me -- I use American Express and Visa (I get cash back for purchases on both cards, no annual fee on either, and I always pay off the account balance monthly so never any interest). Keep the AmEx in the money belt. Put the Visa in one of the front zipper pockets. Lots of people prefer a Capital One card, as they say it has no foreign transaction fees. I like AmEx for its stellar customer service, but I'm told that Europeans are less likely to accept AmEx than Visa, which is why I have the Visa.

3. Make sure you've notified your bank and credit card companies about your upcoming travel so they don't cut you off when you try to make a purchase, thinking that there's fraudulent activity on the card.

4. Never access the money belt in a public location. Always do it in your hotel room, or in a rest room when you're out and about. (Had so many arguments with my late husband about this -- and HE was the one who got pickpocketed, not me!)

5. I use credit cards for everything possible. I have never gotten THE LOOK that you mention. Sometimes, like at a farmer's market, I've only been able to use cash, but it's never a large purchase, so the cash comes from one of the small stashes in a front zipper pocket. I like the record-keeping that credit cards provide, as well as the safety and customer service if a problem arises.

All excellent points. One other point is don't go around like a tourist with your head in the clouds. Be just as aware as if you are in the US. Gypsies who approach you hawking their wares or whatever, just say no and mean it. Be rude if you have to be. Don't be rude to waiters, store employees and the like. Italians hate the gypsies just as much as tourists. Last have fun and don't worry. If you follow simple precautions you won't be a victim. Last, don't leave bags on the floor or on the back of your chair or even on the table while you dine or sit for coffee, wine, or desert. Keep that cross shoulder bag on your body.

I should also add, that unlike in the states, the waiters bring the card reading device to you so the card never leaves your hands. If you get one and your bank offers to allow use of a pin for transactions get that too. I don't think there are many cards in the US that utilize a pin like a debit card does. It is prevalent in Europe.
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:46 AM
 
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
27,093 posts, read 5,950,493 times
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Have a wonderful trip....

try the little trattorias or hole in the wall restaurants not frequented by tourists, for an authentic meal....

delis sell very very good foods, pick up some for a picnic....or for hotel if you have a fridge.

Plan your days and what to see before you go, be familiar with a map of the city too, prior to arriving.

Take a Frommer's guide with you....for souvenirs...leather products are numerous and first quality, great workmanship. Artists display their wares in piazzas, they are inexpensive and very good, nice way to remember your trip.

Just watch out for vespas, the very common motorbike!!!! It seems like they try to run over you
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Old 04-10-2018, 12:40 PM
 
58 posts, read 38,413 times
Reputation: 64
My husband and I were both in Rome over Easter, and it is truly a fantastic city! We'd go back in a heartbeat! Living near NYC, we've been fortunate enough to get some great flight deals to head over to Europe in the past few years. We've visited a number of European cities, and I think Rome is our new favorite! Not really sure why we didn't visit sooner - price, maybe? We stayed near Via Veneto, not far from Rome Termini Station. We felt very safe the entire time. For comparison purposes, we visited Barcelona in the same trip, and we felt a lot more on-edge in Barcelona from a safety perspective. Even in Barcelona, however, we had no issues.

The USD-EUR exchange rate is rather unappealing right now, but despite this, we still felt like Rome itself wasn't that expensive. It depends on what you do, where you eat, etc. Tours are a different story. We took a few tours in Rome itself and also a day trip to Tuscany and a day trip to Venice - the "Rome to somewhere else" tours are infinitely more expensive. Comparatively speaking, the Rome tours were not badly priced at all. Here's a link to one tour I feel is a must-do on a first visit to Rome:

https://www.viator.com/tours/Rome/Ro...to/d511-8254P4

Don't be put off by the price of this tour, it was worth every penny. We had only one other couple join us, so it was almost a private tour. The tour included pizza, drinks and gelato. You also get driven from site-to-site (Trevi Fountain, Vatican City, Colosseum, etc.) and have a bit of time to walk around outside at each of them. Our guide was awesome, and gave us some important traveler tips. One of them being: if you eat pizza in Rome any other time than later in the evening, and if you don't eat it with a fork and knife, then you will definitely look like a tourist! The pizza is truly delicious - very thin crust, fresh ingredients. I'm completely ruined for any other pizza! As for breakfast, Rome doesn't do "American" breakfast. Breakfast is espresso and croissants/pastries (heck, even cookies if you really wanted to have them).

Restaurant San Marco, which was very close to our hotel, was excellent! Fantastic pizza and house wine at prices that won't break the bank, even for Americans. It was also very trendy and stylish inside to provide some nice atmosphere. Harry's Bar was also not far from where we stayed - it's a more upscale restaurant, and we really wanted to try it, but just did not have the time to do so. Too many tours, not enough free time. Maybe next time!

Rome is a city you could just walk around for hours and hours on end and never tire of it. It's gorgeous! If you have the time to spare, the Tuscany day trip we took was just phenomenal. Tuscany was just beyond our expectations. It's surreal, but it does exist! Venice, on the other hand...ugh, it was a disappointment! We found Venice to be extremely touristy and definitely more expensive than Rome. We took a gondola ride, which was just OK. We wouldn't make any effort to visit Venice again. To us, it was a letdown.

To echo the sentiments of previous posters, definitely make an effort to blend in among the Romans. I found the Romans to be very fashion-forward, but in a casual way. Their clothing is very crisp and tailored. Right before the trip, I bought a cheap faux-leather jacket, and I'm glad I did, because I saw scores of women wearing those kinds of jackets! For the most part, I wore nicer sweaters/tops with skinny jeans with combat boots instead of sneakers. I think I did a pretty good job of blending in. It's probably a little more difficult for men - the men in Rome wear skinny jeans/pants, nicer shirts, and dressier jackets. I did not notice a ton of baggy jeans, t-shirts, baseball caps, North Face jackets, etc. And, if I saw anyone wearing that sort of clothing, I thought "OK, they're a tourist." If you're in doubt about what to wear and you work in a business casual setting, then you could always dress like you're heading to work. That's what we did when we visited Paris and no one bothered us.

Have fun on your trip, you will LOVE it!!!
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Old 04-10-2018, 02:24 PM
 
Location: Idaho
4,647 posts, read 4,486,616 times
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Lots of good advice given already. For me, five days is not enough. I've been back to Rome many times, and find it so fascinating that I just can't seem to bring myself to visit other parts of the country or continent. Time before last, I rented a bicycle and went much further afield than I would otherwise.

I'd like to add several more things. Bring good walking shoes. You'll be doing a lot! And, be sure to get out after the sun goes down. Wander around. Rome, and Italy in general, is a whole different place at nighttime. A magical place.

Those who recommended the Rick Steve's guides are spot on. Don't wait to read them on the plane or after you get there. Start now!

Little know fact: You can obtain a ticket for the Wednesday morning papal audience from the Swiss Guard at the exit from Saint Peter's.
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