If you want to have the best possible time in Italy, follow these top tips:
- Speak with your bank before you travel. Find out what your options are in terms of using your cards internationally, how much you’re going to be charged, and whether or not you would be better off using cash or card in general.
- Most of the time, cash is the preferred payment option in Italy. Many places accept card payments, especially in the big cities like Rome and Milan, but cash payments are much more common all around the country.
- If you’re heading out to small villages and rural locations, cards are less likely to be accepted in general. Be sure to have plenty of cash on your person.
- One strange but understandable idiosyncrasy of Italian culture is that shop and restaurant workers don’t really like the larger notes. They don’t like breaking a €50 note for a purchase of €10, for example, so try and use your bigger notes on bigger items or family meals, rather than handing them over in a simple souvenir store or coffee shop.
- Many of the bancomats only give out large notes, so you might want to buy some euros before you set off for Italy so that you have some of the smaller notes.
- Shop around to get the best deal on your currency exchanges. Exchange rates can vary quite wildly from one place to the next.
- Use your debit card, rather than your credit card, at ATMs. The fees associated with debit card withdrawals tend to be much smaller than for credit cards.
- Make big withdrawals whenever possible. You’ll get charged by your bank every time you withdraw, so it makes sense to withdraw lots of cash in one go, as opposed to making many little withdrawals.
- Don’t forget that euros are used in lots of other countries around Europe too, so you can head over the border to somewhere like France and still use the same money. You don’t need to feel obliged to spend it all during your trip either, as you can simply save it up for another European adventure.