Subject: Euro vs Dollar (and Dollar vs Euro too)
Hi Ziners

being a middle aged man, I still remember when credit cards in Italy were available only to a few rich people, so travelling meant stuffing your underwear with foreign currency, mostly USD or Deutsche Marks, as our poor Lira always got a bad exchange rate. The credit card boom, and then the Euro, have of course changed that but it's not easy to erase the imprinting of a lifetime paying in cash. I've had a few annoying experiences abroad, like a credit card not working or a lodging accepting cash only, so I still feel uncomfortable with only plastic money with me. I have to say I usually travel with my family of four, so that makes all expenses substantial, and I can't even think of being very far from home, with two teenage childs, with no cash money left. So, what's the solution? Two, three credit cards with PINs for emergency withdrawals, one ATM card for day-to-day and Being it Euro for Europe or USD for the USA and the rest of the world, I'd feel naked going around without an adequate emergency reserve. What's adequate? This is a very good question and it involves your lifestyle, how many people you're caring for, the lenght of your stay etc., but with less than 500 Euro or Dollars in cash I wouldn't go anywhere, except maybe in the final days of my trip. Of course you have to be at ease with carrying cash; if you spend all your time looking around for muggers and worrying about the money your vacation will be ruined. Everyone has his/her own tuck-away places; I often leave some back at my hotel room in safe places (no, I can't tell you where, sorry) and I haven't had a problem till now. Anything involving money is very personal, so suggestions are considered but they also have to be applied to everyone's sensitivity, experience and, why not, fear. After all, being a bit paranoid won't do any serious damage to our life! Bye all

Paolo Trieste, Italy