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I am going for my honeymoon in August (Spain, Italy, and France) for 3 weeks and I haven't traveled as an adult to Europe.

Should I take my credit card (easier for me), or should I take out traveller cheques or cash?

I get miles on the credit card but I don't know the exchange the credit card (MBNA Alaska Airlines) gives?

Any advice?
 

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cash and credit cards.

When we traveled Europe. I always kept our cash and CC's in a money belt. We just kept some spending money in our pockets so that I wouldn't have to access the money belt throughout the day. We also hid a credit card in one of our suitcase's just in case anything happened. It worked well for us.
 

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I generally hate charging foreign currency expenses on credit card because their conversion rate is generally high (bad for us). I always try to pay everything in cash since exchanging the money before hand, you usually end up with better rates.

Or you can use traveller cheques too if you worry about carrying large amount of cash
 

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We always used a combo - mostly credit cards for their convenience and worry-free factor and some cash for markets and places that don't take credit cards. Smaller places generally don't take traveller's cheques.
 

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Without question use credit cards. Bring more than one type as sometimes one is accepted and not the other. We carried Mastercard, Visa and American Express. (You still have time to apply for the ones you need.) We only carry the equivalent of about $100 CDN per person in Euros. Be carefull with cash and use a money belt in big cities. I've found travellers cheques are a big hassle and not readily accepted. Credit cards are now fairly widely accepted and can be used at most supermarkets, gas stations and restaurants. Phone your card company before you go to tell them you will be in Europe, otherwise they may suspect fraud and freeze your card.

If your debit or credit card has "PLUS" on the back you can withdraw cash from your bank account at local bank machines.
 

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Forget about travellers cheques. They are a waste of money and time, since you have to find a place that will cash them. If you get a chance, pick up some Euros at a local exchange shop or bank before you head over. (Shop around.) Bring a few hundred euros to have as cash on hand for when you land. Then stick with credit cards and debit. Bank machines are everywhere. To minimize transaction costs, withdrawal large amounts at once (say 200-300 euros or even more if you are comfortable carrying that amount of money). Keep the money split between your and your spouse. And don't forget your money belt.
 

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I went to France recently. I used my credit cards for most things, but found that cash was very useful in some situations as my credit card did not always work everywhere -- particularly at places that payment was "automatic," like at gas stations and toll booths. I'm not sure if you'll be driving, but the autoroutes (toll roads) do not accept North American credit cards and there are no ATMs at the service stops, so it's a real pain if you don't have cash. Also, a lot of the gas stations did not have attendants and the pumps only took European credit cards, so try and fill up at places with attendants when you can, as you might be out of luck later on.

As others have already said: travellers cheques are a waste of time and money.
 

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Whenever I've been in Europe I've almost never had a problem with using my Visa card. The one time I did have a problem was in the UK using a busline that couldn't book their discount travel unless I had a UK Visa - so I had to pay full price. My new ATM card (chip secured Interac) works very well at any large financial institution in Europe. There is a small fee for withdrawals, but I've found that my Visa was very competitive for currency conversions.

Just inform them before you leave that you'll be in Europe so they don't think someone is on a joy-ride with your card :)
 

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Cash and Credit Cards.

You'll pay about 2.5% extra in currency conversion fees with each credit card transaction (these fees are built into the exchange rate).

When you change cash at your bank, expect to pay about 1.5% extra in exchange markup.

So if you have a 1% cash back card, these two options are equivalent.

I use cash for small purchases and credit for hotels, major transport, major attractions and some restaurants.

In many European countries, tipping in restaurants means just rounding up the bill to the nearest euro, so it can be good to just pay cash at restaurants.
 

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Cash and credit card, and told credit card company when I will be in europe, so that if there's any unauthorized charge after the date, credit card company will decline.
I exchanged euro here: http://www.guardianfx.com/
Mostly used cash over there, credit card is just backup plan in case I didn't have enough money. :)
 

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As mentioned, Cash and Credit Card are the best option. It takes a bit of playing the Forex market. If you think the canadian dollar is strengthening against the Euro then only take enough euros for the first day, and you can use bank machines there for future cash. (I take out about 200 -300 euro at a time to minimize the impact of the overseas service charge, $3 at my bank, PCF). Using CC lets you do a bit of dollar cost averaging, because you get the current rate at time of use. Having different types of CC, Visa, Mastercard, and Amex is also not a bad idea.
If driving, I had no problem using my CC on the autoroute, and the best place to get gas is at the supermarkets; though they typically only take Carte Bancaire, a blue-green CB symbol, a French equivalent of our debit cards, so you will need to pay cash. (so you have to fill up when an attendant is actually on duty, ie store hours).

I also don't use a money belt. Maybe that is because I lived in France for a few years, and don't see the cities over there any different that cities over here. Though it is not a bad idea to take precautions especially with your money.
 

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I have travelled in Europe for the last 7 years to beat the Canadian winter. We have tried credit cards and bank machines but have found the best and least expensive is to watch the euro exchange.
We clculate our expenses for the 10 weeks we usually are away and get the best deal on buying euro cash.
I have no problem looking after it and save a large amount on transaction fees and this year on the flucuation in euro/canadian currency.
People in europe are willing to accept credit cards and there are enough bank machines but cash is always appreciated.
Norm
 

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I have travelled to Europe several times and have always carried at least 3 forms of payment - travellers' cheques, credit cards, debit cards and cash. I have now given up on travellers' cheques. For my most recent trip fall 2008, I was surprised at the number of merchants that would not accept credit cards. Several restaurants and bookstores in Germany did not accept credit cards and buses in Croatia were cash only. I observed that most people of the locals were paying by cash. ATMs are on every street corner so cash is easily obtained. Take out the largest amount possible. Be prepared for extra service charges on your bank statement when you return.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Cash and Credit Cards.

You'll pay about 2.5% extra in currency conversion fees with each credit card transaction (these fees are built into the exchange rate).

When you change cash at your bank, expect to pay about 1.5% extra in exchange markup.

So if you have a 1% cash back card, these two options are equivalent.

I use cash for small purchases and credit for hotels, major transport, major attractions and some restaurants.

In many European countries, tipping in restaurants means just rounding up the bill to the nearest euro, so it can be good to just pay cash at restaurants.
Thanks for the great tips.
 

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Western European countries have been using "Chip & PIN" credit cards for a number of years, and these are only now being introduced in North America. if you don't have one yet, ask your CC company if they can send you one early. VISA claims that merchants are supposed to process the older cards, but Europe uses a lot of automated dispensing machines (gasoline pumps, train/bus tickets, parking tickets) that will only work with the new cards. Also, a lot of European systems will only work with with 4-digit PIN numbers. CDN banks used to encourage you to use 6-8 digits for "security", now you will find a lot advising you to go back to 4 digits if you are travelling abroad.

Retailers are increasingly reluctant to accept traveller's cheques, but the same is true in North America. But any bank will cash them if you have your passport for ID.
 

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Travelers cheques are an antiquated idea. You'll have to pay a percentage to buy them, then a percentage again to cash them. As already mentioned, it's also getting harder to cash them.

Generally speaking, your credit card will work most places it would here. You'll be able to withdraw cash from most major ATMs there with your debit card (look for either the PLUS or CIRRUS logos on the back of your card and at ATMs). If possible, get a chip card. It will just make things easier.

Generally speaking your credit card will offer the best exchange rate, but double check. I withdraw about 100-200 EUR at a time when I go for places where cash is only accepted (or at least not foreign cards). Places like markets and street vendors is an example. I also use citizensbank, so I don't get dinged on each transaction when I do that.

You don't want too much cash as you risk losing it (pick-pocketing is a rather large problem in southern europe as they have a lot of problems with illegal immigration from Africa; many of those people can't get legal jobs). So don't leave your wallet in your back pocket. These people are very clever.
 

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PS. Call your CC company and tell them where you are going and when. They have computer systems that kick out transactions for investigation if they are out of your usual spending pattern. You may find they have put a temporary block on your credit card, and can't get a hold of you to find out if you're really in Europe or if your card was stolen.
 

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We used a mix of credit and cash, like it would seem most people do. The one thing I really love about using a canadian card is that if fraud happens, us customers are alright, and the loss falls on the credit card company. While we were in Europe it just so happened that someone was racking up $3000 in Chilliwack on our card. We had called the credit card company and told them where we would be, so they had that on file, and resolved the fraudulent charges quickly.
 

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Western European countries have been using "Chip & PIN" credit cards for a number of years, and these are only now being introduced in North America. if you don't have one yet, ask your CC company if they can send you one early. VISA claims that merchants are supposed to process the older cards, but Europe uses a lot of automated dispensing machines (gasoline pumps, train/bus tickets, parking tickets) that will only work with the new cards. Also, a lot of European systems will only work with with 4-digit PIN numbers. CDN banks used to encourage you to use 6-8 digits for "security", now you will find a lot advising you to go back to 4 digits if you are travelling abroad.
On the VISA website it mentions that travelers going to Europe can still use the Magnetic stripe and the signature, as long as they have the VISA logo on their cards. Is that for sure, can someone who has been to Germany or Croatia confirm that. Thank you.
 
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