Ask Harriet: How much money to bring to Italy

Italy’s rich history and its concentration of culinary, and visual pleasures make it one of those countries that you can’t visit just once. Our travelers—including 27-time traveler Loretta Cotter—can’t get enough, which is why I’m excited to let her (and you) announce our enhanced itinerary on 2013 departures of Discover Sicily: Heart of the Mediterranean, with even more opportunities for enriching discoveries.

My first trip with Grand Circle Travel to Sicily was in March of 2001. I loved it, and have been back two more times with you! Could you please tell me about the new itinerary for 2013, as mentioned in Insider magazine?

—Loretta Cotter, 27-time traveler from College Place, Washington

Hi Loretta, I’m so glad to hear that you love our trip so much you’ve decided to repeat it. Some destinations are eternally enjoyable to visit—I think that’s one of the reasons Rome is nicknamed the Eternal City! I’m excited to let you know that 2013 departures of Discover Sicily now include two days in Italy’s capital, where an included tour will give you a comprehensive overview of one of Europe’s largest and most culturally rich cities. On 2013 departures, you’ll also enjoy three days in Siracusa. This gem, the most important in all the Greek cities of antiquity outside of Greece, is rich in ancient splendor, with beautiful architecture and impressive natural scenery to match.

Ask Harriet

Q: I am traveling on Discover Sicily: Heart of the Mediterranean, with the Amalfi Coast extension and was wondering how much money I should bring with me?

—Charlotte Neer, 2-time traveler from Oceanside, New York

A:  Hi, Charlotte. I reached out to Simona Salvatori, an associate at Grand Circle Travel’s regional office in Rome, who offered some advice for you. She says travelers can spend about 50 euros per day, and suggests 500-700 euros as a guideline for your base tour. Today’s exchange rate is roughly 1 euro to $1.25, so for your vacation that would be about $875. You’ll probably need slightly more spending money because you’re going on our Amalfi Coast extension.

I also have good news—you might not even need to exchange dollars for euros before you leave the United States. You may be better off waiting until you arrive in Italy to convert your cash, as the rates at local exchange boxes are typically more favorable than that at hotels. You can also withdraw money from any local ATM (bancomat in Italian) by using a debit card. These details and more are available in your Travel Handbook, which you may access by clicking here.

I hope you have a wonderful time on your trip, and thanks for writing!

Do you have questions for me about trips you’re taking or vacations you would like to go on with Grand Circle Travel? I’d love to hear from you. Please email me at I look forward to sharing what you have to say!

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