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Old 08-30-2008, 05:54 AM
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When not going on a cruise excursion but going off on your own do we need euro's to pay the taxi, train, Hydo-Foils, ect? Or will all accept a credit card?
If we need some Euro's, how can we get some? Should we exchange here in the US before leaving for our trip?
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Old 08-30-2008, 06:12 AM
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I make sure to have enough Euro on hand in case credit cards are not accepted.

We've used several methods to obtain local currency, often using all on the same trip. We exchange in the U.S. before leaving, but not for a large amount as we do not want to have so much cash in our possession. Once we get to our destination and the cash starts to dwindle, we go to an ATM for what we need. Just be sure to alert your bank before you leave, as they may have specific instructions for you to use when out of the country.

In which ports are you considering going off on your own?
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Old 08-30-2008, 07:38 AM
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Have enough euro's for the taxi and for buying snacks and things. The Big transportation will accept credit cards.
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Old 08-30-2008, 03:56 PM
 
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Let me try to give you a reasoned response after more than 40 years of international travel. If a European asked the same question when visiting the USA (do I need dollars?) you would think that person was silly. Its the same in Europe. If you want to do anything on your own (or even if you are taking tours) you will need some local currency. The fact that you even ask the question almost convinces me to recommend that you only take ships tours...and I hate tours. As to credit cards, Yes, most places will accept Visa and MC (although you should notify your issuing bank of your itinerary) but again, would you travel across the USA without any money in your pocket? What if you were 30 miles from the ship and your credit card no longer worked (it can happen). As to where to exchange, we never get Euros in the US because the rate of exchange is lousy. The easiest way to get Euros is by using ATMs in Europe (notify your ATM company in advance so they have no security concerns) and you need to have a 4 digit PIN and know it in numbers (not letters). Most of the cruise lines will also sell Euros on the ship (often they set up a place near the pursers desk) where you can exchange dollars (not the best rate, but probably better than you would find at home).

Hank
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Old 08-31-2008, 10:25 AM
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Thank you Hank, I knew that I would need some for snacks ect, but here in the US we use our credit card for almost everything and I didn't know is the tours outside of booking on the cruise line or taxie cabs ect accept credit cards. I know here in the US the taxie cabs accpet credit cards. How about in Venice when purchasing a pass for the boats do they accept credit cards?
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Old 08-31-2008, 11:17 AM
 
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Haygirl, Using credit cards in Europe is a good idea, as is using ATM cards to get Euros. But, you should keep a few tips in mind. In Europe, there are still quite a few places that do not accept credit cards (we see this in many Italian restaurants) and some merchants actually have a minimum purchase amount for credit cards. The credit card companies also add an extra fee (often hidden in their conversion rate) of usually 2 or 3% on every purchase. For frequent travelers, many of us like the CapitalOne Master Card since they have waived the fees (at least until now). Most European taxis will not accept credit cards (its hit or miss). Regarding Venice, I do not know the current policy of the vaporetto booths on credit cards (we will be in Venice at the end of September and I could check), but if you are going to be in Venice a few days you might be interested in purchasing the Venice Card which you can buy in advance on-line with a creditcard.
http://www.hellovenezia.com/jsp/en/venicecard/index.jsp

There are also slightly cheaper Vaporetto passes (you can buy them for multi-days) which do not include everything that is on the Venice Card...so it takes some homework to determine what works best for you. I would again emphasize that ATM machines are everywhere in Europe, and most US ATM cards (particularly those on the Cirrus, Plus, Star, or Visa networks) work in most of the machines. They all have instructions in English (just click on the British flag). It might be worth your while to talk to your bank and find out about any extra fees. My particular bank charges no fees, but it varies from bank to bank.

Also keep in mind that, like in the states, not all the European business folks are honest (particularly true with taxi cabs). Some might accept US dollars and really rip you off on the exchange rate. Others might charge you premiums to use a credit card (not totally legal but they do it anyway). Taxis in Europe can also be very expensive, and they can really try to take advantage of cruise ship passengers. We were recently in Livorno, and needed to get to the other side of the port to pick-up our rental car (about 1 1/4 miles). A taxi offered to take us for the bargain fare of only 25 Euros (about $37)! By the way, in Venice you are probably going to want to hire a gondola for a ride (usually lasts about 40 min). The gondoliers love to negotiate prices, but they want cash...and I mean Euros. Expect to pay about 75 - 90 Euros for a gondola (they can hold 4 - 6).

Hank
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Old 09-05-2008, 02:31 PM
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Hank,
This has been most helpful. I have sent an e-mail to Hellovenizia explaining what we need to accoplish and for their advice as to which pass to purchase.
I know I am asking alot of questions, but I am trying to dot all of my I's and cross all of my T's the best I can.
With all of the information I have been receiving I fill we will not have too many big surprises and really enjoy our trip!
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Old 09-05-2008, 07:30 PM
 
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The vaporetto thing is kind of interesting. Despite the fact that we have been to Venice a few times (both on ships and also when we just drove to Venice in our rental car) we can't even decide which pass make the most sense. In our case, we will need a 72 hour pass, but our question is whether to buy the 72 hour ACTV pass (that covers just the vaporettos) or get the 72 hour Venice Card which would also cover the public bus that travels from the airport into to the Piazale Roma. It even gets a bit more complicated since they sell some different variations of the Venice Card (one type includes entrance to some sites and another only covers transportation). I only mention this so that you don't feel alone in having to do research.

Hank
 
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