atm vs. traveler's checks - Italy

Thoughts about ease of cashing traveler's checks vs. using ATMs to get money (euros) in Italy?


  • Anita,

    I know I am in the minority, but I still prefer travelers checks and have never had trouble cashing them. I usually do so at the hotels, but most places that change currency will change them.

    The reason I like travelers checks is that I get them for free and I find that ATM fees can be as much or more than the exchange rate. If you are taking small amounts (traveling in several countries that all have different currencies) the fees can be high at ATMs. You will pay maybe $3 for using another bank's machine plus the other bank may charge another $2 or $3 for using their machine. If you are taking out $100 worth of euros that isn't so bad, but if traveling in several countries where you may be in each for a day or two, and each has it's own currency, you might only want to take out $20 or $50. Then the ATM fees get expensive.

    Since you are going to one country and will be there for a week or two, you could probably use ATMs. Be sure your bank's card will work at foreign ATMs. If your bank has outlets in Italy you might be able to use their machines without a fee.


  • I went on the French Escapade - Paris to Monte Carlo trip in April. I was told by reputable sources (US banks, AAA, and other savy travelers) that travelers checks are not easily exchangeable. While preferable years ago, many countries no longer expect or accept them. I decided to get a new credit card with no international fee to use for big purchases. I also exchanged money prior to leaving (I received mixed reviews on this), but I was worried about ATM accessibility my first day. I planned to get Euros from an ATM once I ran out of Euros. I ended up balancing my credit card and cash well. I only needed to use the ATM one time near the end of the trip. I was charged a percentage (1 or 2 percent) of the cash withdrawn as my fee. I was happy with my plan and will probably do it again. Also, the ATM line was really long in CDG that morning around 6:00, so I was happy that I didn't have to deal with that!
  • Thanks so much for the info.
  • The best is to do Capitol One credit card and use as and atm. You will get good rates and not have to pay a fee for change to local money. For my upcoming trip to Italy I picked up Euro at AAA to start the trip. Costs nothing to get and the rate was not bad either.
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