Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 43 total)
  • How to pay for stuff in Italy
  • Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    I am disorganised and going to that Italy for a week, on saturday. I was going to just get euros from my bank or the post office, turns out my bank doesn’t do it and the post office won’t do under 400 euro!

    So, what’s the smart way to do it? Just go to Italy and take cash from a cash machine? Take Back Control and try and pay for everything with god’s own money, the pahnd? It’s a couple of years since I’ve been and it seems like things have changed a bit

    mikewsmith
    Member

    Check your bank/cards T&C’s on foreign currency. I usually take cash out in a couple of hundred at a time to keep the fee’s low.

    stevextc
    Member

    Depends what you get chafed on your CC/Debit cards….
    I’m away a lot so my CC has a zero charge … I spent about 3 months away last year without ever having currency… then on holiday I got some Euro’s from Debenhams…

    Last week I was in Germany and the taxi didn’t take cards so I was glad to have some Euros …

    Barter.

    Trade goods and services for bunga-bunga.

    nickjb
    Member

    Probably too late to apply for a card for travelling but you might just get it in time if you apply today. I use the halifax clarity and Monzo. Both have been good. You get low or zero fees and the proper exchange rate. Just using your bank card will be a little more expensive so take a big chunk out in one go

    dantsw13
    Member

    The rate from the PO will be dreadful anyway, so just use your bank card and suck up the charges. I used my (MasterCard) Revolut card out there recently and it was no problem anywhere.

    I just withdraw money on my debit card from cash machines, Be suprised if there’s much of a difference from hunting around and getting pre loaded cards etc.

    dooosuk
    Member

    How you getting there?

    I always pre-order from Travelex and collect at the airport.

    The rate is always better than the PO, Banks. Travel Agents etc.

    thecaptain
    Member

    Get a Revolut if there’s time

    Probably too late to apply for a card for travelling but you might just get it in time if you apply today.

    This…worth a try anyway.

    I use Curve (linked to any UK debit/credit card which you can swap anytime within an app, and just takes from there at daily wholesale rate) and Revolut (pre-paid). Just spent a week in France and the Curve was faultless while there. Both arrived within days of applying. So worth a shot. Otherwise, check all your card providers and see who charges least for payments abroad and use that. Probably worth taking a hundred Euro or so in cash – should get you an espresso and a beer at least in Italy. 😀

    dantsw13
    Member

    I found Italy remarkably good price wise, compared to all the places I travel.

    deadkenny
    Member

    dooosuk – Member 
    How you getting there?
    I always pre-order from Travelex and collect at the airport.
    The rate is always better than the PO, Banks. Travel Agents etc.

    +1 this. Always online. At the airport counter the rates are outrageous, but order online and collect there has always been one of the best rates for me.

    Don’t get suckered into getting a prepaid money card though, or at least check the fine print. They have all kinds of hidden fees, e.g. some have ATM charges depending what card you get, charges for cashing out remaining money, and monthly charges for non-use if you haven’t extracted all the money.

    That said, they are kind of handy compared to a CC in that the rate is locked in to when you load it. Depends which way the rates are going though.

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    You’re going to Italy, which is possibly Europe’s most expensive country. And you’re doing it when Sterling remains historically weak.

    It doesn’t matter how you pay, your bank account is going to look like this:

    From my last Italian trip
    Eating out pizza in Naples 3 – 7 Euro. Add wine, it’s not more than 10 Euro. Travel on the Circumvesuviana, 1 Euro. Train (booked in advance)from Rome-Naples 10 (Intercity) – 20 (High Speed) Euro. seems pretty reasonable, even with £ at a low

    johndoh
    Member

    Find best rate, get it delivered.

    Or this one if you prefer.

    Or a million others probably.

    Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Cheers everyone, and especially Johndoh, ended up just ordering some notes from Currency Club. Quite likely just withdrawing cash from an ATM over there would be just as good but I’m happier having it all in hand

    Ta!

    johndoh
    Member

    No problem. Don’t make the rookie error we did when going to Poland though. We bought Euros up front without even thinking to check what currency they use so we lost out twice on exchange rates. LOL!

    mikewsmith
    Member

    Does remind me of the day I was heading to spain, got all the cash for the apartment rental and a decent chunk for spending. Great rate, was still all there on the kitchen table 1 week later when I got home.

    thecaptain
    Member

    ^^ When working in Japan, a (Japanese) colleague travelling to the UK converted a bunch of currency up-front before he left. Into euros. We lolled.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Hah, even I know the polish use the bimetallic cryptoquatloon.

    I think maybe it was czech koruna that you used to be able to buy in the UK, but not sell back, that was always fun.

    Premier Icon MSP
    Subscriber

    I usually just get some cash from a cash machine in case my CC card isn’t accepted somewhere. Unless you go to an el-ripoff exchange shop, the effort of chasing down a good rate isn’t worth the savings made IMO.

    aP
    Member

    I’ve still got about 3/4 of a million zloty from 1991. It was just before they had a massive devaluation and took a couple of hundred noughts off the end of every banknote. It was quite bizarre – you had to buy toilet paper, if out at a restaurant or bar, from very miserable looking matrons of the water closet. A single sheet of toilet paper was worth more than the smallest denomination zloty note… and no, I didn’t.
    regarding Italy, we take £500 or so in Euro, and then buy things on plastic card. Having a sanef tag means that we don’t burn through cash like the old days on the peage down to the south of France.

    thecaptain
    Member

    MSP, I used to think that, but revolut has saved me quite a bit of money over the year or so I’ve had it. I once tested it against a credit card when making two identical euro purchases and it saved about 10 quid (on a cost of ~300). An additional bonus, being pre-paid with an instant message when it’s used means I’m never likely to lose much money if it’s stolen.

    (The only problem I once had, a hotel deposit took a long time to come back, so it failed in a restaurant when I thought it was loaded. I guess the same thing could happen with any credit card if I was near the limit.)

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    BigButSlimmerBloke – Member
    From my last Italian trip
    Eating out pizza in Naples 3 – 7 Euro. Add wine, it’s not more than 10 Euro. Travel on the Circumvesuviana, 1 Euro. Train (booked in advance)from Rome-Naples 10 (Intercity) – 20 (High Speed) Euro. seems pretty reasonable, even with £ at a low

    Was this 1987 ?

    Bologna 3 weeks ago.

    Pizza, 12euro average.

    Lake Iseo 11-13 Euro for Pizza

    Mains other than that 18-24 euro.
    Beers 4 euro

    Meals out were for 3, 2 adults and a 9 year old. Never less than 60 euro.

    Premier Icon rossburton
    Subscriber

    I am disorganised and going to that Italy for a week, on saturday. I was going to just get euros from my bank or the post office, turns out my bank doesn’t do it and the post office won’t do under 400 euro!

    Literally last month I got £200 worth of Euros from the Post Office, so that’s odd.

    Check your bank cards. Pretty sure Moneysavingexpert or whatever it is has a table of the best and worst cards, as some are basically bleeding you dry and others are really good. Interestingly the prepaid card that the Post Office was promoting has dismal terms, mainly a monthly fee for a card that for people on holidays will be used a few times a year…

    We’re with nationwide and paid for most things on their credit card as there’s no charges, getting cash out using the debit card (in reasonably large amounts to reduce the fee). All in all I think we paid about a fiver in fees.

    Halifax Clarity MasterCard if you have it. And make sure you always pay in Euros at the till. That way you get the more favourable MasterCard rate rather than the terminal bank’s rate.

    Moneysaving expert’s travel money tips

    We preloaded a Monzo card.

    Didn’t find anywhere it wasn’t accepted.

    Boss euro to £rate.

    Brilliant app too.

    Google them. Its in the moneysavingexpert link above too.
    Edit, petrol stations didn’t take monzo.

    +1 for rossburton’s Nationwide gold credit card recommendation. That was my goto card for foreign travel before the clarity one.

    Premier Icon tmb467
    Subscriber

    I spend most weeks working in Dublin – Monzo all the way.

    No conversion fee and the exchange rate is Mastercard rate so you just treat it like a regular “prepaid” card. App allows you to report on transactions so I can separate business & personal expenses. Can also top up from two sources (business & personal accounts)

    Now on hols in canaries and not yet found anywhere it can’t be used (tho there are small occasions when you need a second source of funding for when the internet stops)

    mcj78
    Member

    Another vote for that Halifax card – get the bank’s £/Euro rate of the day on card purchases & great rates on cash withdrawals, then pay it off asap upon returning home before the interest charges start. Obviously for future reference like – i’ve always found those bright yellow “Money Shop” places have the best high st rates

    aP
    Member

    How long did it take for the Monzo card to arrive?

    nickjb
    Member

    How long did it take for the Monzo card to arrive?

    I think mine was two days. It was less than the time quoted when I signed up. You do need a link to the instant sign up to avoid the waiting list though. Its on MSE and was posted on here a few months back

    Are you really asking for places which do currency exchange? Try Tesco or any (other)bank or any travel agent on the high street.

    This is not difficult!

    Premier Icon antennae
    Subscriber

    You’re going to Italy, which is possibly Europe’s most expensive country.

    Cobblers 🙂 Have you been to Switzerland or any of Scandinavia lately?

    I found costs of living in Finale were similar to the UK this year even with the pound in the doldrums. Riders from Germany and Slovenia told me they found it an absolute bargain compared to home.

    Premier Icon jam bo
    Subscriber

    I picked up a revolut card for a recent holiday which I was impressed with. Are there any benefits to a monzo over the revolut?

    Not sure if this is the case but when I lived there and my bank was outside of Italy it was better to pay for things on a card rather than draw out cash. There were a combination of cashpoint fees that you didn’t get with a debit transaction and you could get cashback too…

    I would imagine sooner or later you will use Euros again so if you do end up using a cash machine to take out a chunk go bigger rather than multiple times.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    CharlieMungus – Member

    Are you really asking for places which do currency exchange?

    Nope, I was asking for recommendations of good places that do currency exchange, and for more modern alternatives- which I got, thanks.

    Premier Icon hot_fiat
    Subscriber

    it was better to pay for things on a card rather than draw out cash

    I had loads of trouble paying for things with a card in Italy this summer (hotels, meals). Its almost as if there’s two or three sets of of books for each business.

    Conversely its almost impossible to buy petrol anywhere in Italy with anything other than a card & most petrol stations are fully automated.

    sbob
    Member

    Nobeerinthefridge – Member

    I just withdraw money on my debit card from cash machines

    Yep, couldn’t be simpler.
    That’s in and out of Europe. Charges from my bank (Lloyds) aren’t enough to cause concern.

    tonyplym
    Member

    Cheers everyone, and especially Johndoh, ended up just ordering some notes from Currency Club. Quite likely just withdrawing cash from an ATM over there would be just as good but I’m happier having it all in hand

    – worth letting your bank know that you’re travelling if you are thinking about using an ATM while overseas – might avoid them thinking that someone is illicitly using your card (which can trigger the ATM to eat your card). I’m like you and prefer to have cash in hand, but the ATM would be my emergency fall-back, so I would need it to work.

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