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Old 03-18-2013, 06:09 PM   #1066
LovesToRun
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Hi everyone,

Has anyone ever used, "Can't Be Missed Tours" in Rome?

http://cantbemissedtours.com/

Rick Steve's recommends them, so they must be good. There aren't a LOT of reviews on the internet (I've searched TONS... only a handful on Trip Advisor and a few other elsewhere, and most of those are reviews on Naples and Pompeii.) But, they are all excellent 5-star reviews, so that is good!

They are a really good price! I emailed them to get more info, and they got back to me right away and were really nice. So, I feel good about it, but with not many reviews online, I wanted to see if anyone here has used them?

Basically, they are 62 Euros per adult, and then you pay for the Vatican ticket extra and the Colosseum ticket extra (IF you want to go inside the Colosseum, but that is optional as part of the tour.) So, if you go inside the Colosseum and the Vatican, it comes out to about 95 Euros per person, which is about $120 per person (then add gratuity on top of that).

They meet you at the train station at port at 8:00 - 8:30 AM, and you are with your guide the entire time starting from port (they do small groups of 10 - 20). Then, they do a walking tour of all the major sites, and you get priority entrance in the Vatican and the Colosseum (so no waiting in line), and you are on your own for lunch for an hour of free time, and then they bring you back to port on the train (and guarantee you'll be back by 5:15PM).

Compared to all the other tours, this is a steal of a deal! And, for our family, plus my parents (so 6 of us total) spending $345 per person for all 6 of us (since both my boys are in the "adult price" category) for the Best of Rome Disney Tour REALLY adds up!!

This tour sees pretty much all of the same sites as the "Best of Rome" Disney tour, but a fraction of the cost.

But, I also don't want to make a mistake by booking something that may not be that great just to save a little money.

Any thoughts??
Ok, just an update on this tour I mentioned above. I am feeling much better about it and think we are going to go with this company afterall.

http://cantbemissedtours.com/tours/r...d-the-vatican/

I didn't think of this until after I wrote my first post, but I emailed the Rick Steves' email address and asked them about this company (even though it's in their book), and told them there are not many reviews, and wanted to know more about them. They wrote back pretty quick and said they are really great and I can totally trust them, and they are always on time. They said it's a tiny company that is fairly new, which is why they probably don't have tons of reviews. But, they said they know this company and have full confidence in it.

I also have been so impressed with their email communications... they are SO nice, and write back within 24 hours. Also, they wanted to know how I heard about their company, and I told them from the Rick Steves' book, so because of that, they are giving us a 10% discount, which makes this tour even cheaper!!

They have been so great about explaining how the whole tour works, and how they accommodate everyone.

Anyway, for a "budget option", this company does seem good. You just have to ride the train (which is fine), but you ride it with your guide starting from the port (and the guide returns with you back to port), and it's a complete walking tour, except they ride a bus to the Vatican, so that is the one time you ride a bus. Also, he said their guides know a lot of short cuts to get from site to site, which makes it so you spend a little less time walking.

All of their guides are licensed, too.

SO, for our party of 6, this doesn't break the bank, which is good.

Anyway, just wanted to update.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:55 PM   #1067
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What did you end up choosing for your menu?
Hi Heather,
We did a pizza making lunch instead of a heavy italian meal. We made some appetizers, 2 kinds of pizzas, a dessert chocolate pizza, and an apple cake. It was all delicious and we had an absolutely wonderful day in Tuscany. I'm jealous of you all now when I remember how fun it was!
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:23 PM   #1068
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LOVE these!

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Originally Posted by LovesToRun View Post
Thanks for all the GREAT info!!! I'm definitely looking into Keens for shoes, and thanks for the info on the convertible pants (I keep on wanting to call them zip-off pants, but I realize that really doesn't sound right. LOL!!!). But, I didn't think about the material, but will consider that (if I look into them for my husband or boys even).

Does anyone know if it's acceptable to wear a skirt or shorts that hits RIGHT at the knee into the Vatican? Something like both of these?

http://www.rei.com/product/844011/no...sea-bike-skirt

http://www.rei.com/product/844711/lo...-shorts-womens

Or, would it need to actually be below the knee? I love skirts the length of the skirt in the length above, but don't want to be turned away from cathedrals, churches and the Vatican only to find they need to actually be below the knee.

Thanks!!



Thanks!!




OK....So I'm not sure about the length being ok for Vatican, but I ADORE these both! I have to share my other favorite for travel. It would probably be too short for churches, too, unless you are fairly short and order the 'tall' version, but I wear this ALL THE TIME in the summer, especially on cruises. Very versatile, can be dressed up OR worn over a swim suit for a hike. Nice and cool, flattering on EVERYONE (I have coworkers, neighbors, and family members who now have this), and BEST thing is, it is a SKORT! No bare skin rubbing under the skirt! (Sorry if that is TMI, but you ladies understand the importance of this, right? )

http://athleta.gap.com/browse/produc...&pid=683764012

Penny
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Old 03-18-2013, 11:01 PM   #1069
LovesToRun
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Originally Posted by pennymike View Post
OK....So I'm not sure about the length being ok for Vatican, but I ADORE these both! I have to share my other favorite for travel. It would probably be too short for churches, too, unless you are fairly short and order the 'tall' version, but I wear this ALL THE TIME in the summer, especially on cruises. Very versatile, can be dressed up OR worn over a swim suit for a hike. Nice and cool, flattering on EVERYONE (I have coworkers, neighbors, and family members who now have this), and BEST thing is, it is a SKORT! No bare skin rubbing under the skirt! (Sorry if that is TMI, but you ladies understand the importance of this, right? )

http://athleta.gap.com/browse/produc...&pid=683764012

Penny
I LOVE Skorts! They are perfect for hot weather and they are cute! I wish I could find a skort that came below the knees (so I can wear one on my Rome day), but I doubt they make them that long. But, I have several skorts! I will for sure be wearing them our trip (on days we aren't going into places where there are dress codes).

Oh, and I love this brand (Athleta). They have really cute stuff!

This is also a brand I love (if you like athletic skorts):

http://www.skirtsports.com/

I totally agree that the "shorts" under the skirt really aid in comfort, especially in hot weather!! This is another reason I love them!! And, there is a higher level of modest with skorts since they have shorts under them. I like that, too!

Oh, and I bought those shorts today from REI (ones in the link). I need good comfortable walking shorts! They are so comfortable and perfect for Europe (light weight, material dries fast, sun protected, and just really cute!)!! The won't work for churches, but that is OK. They will work for other longer (and shorter) during the time we are in Europe! I didn't see the skirt at the REI store I went to in the link I referenced. But, I'll keep looking... I love that skirt.
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Old 03-18-2013, 11:03 PM   #1070
LovesToRun
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Originally Posted by pennymike View Post
OK....So I'm not sure about the length being ok for Vatican, but I ADORE these both! I have to share my other favorite for travel. It would probably be too short for churches, too, unless you are fairly short and order the 'tall' version, but I wear this ALL THE TIME in the summer, especially on cruises. Very versatile, can be dressed up OR worn over a swim suit for a hike. Nice and cool, flattering on EVERYONE (I have coworkers, neighbors, and family members who now have this), and BEST thing is, it is a SKORT! No bare skin rubbing under the skirt! (Sorry if that is TMI, but you ladies understand the importance of this, right? )

http://athleta.gap.com/browse/produc...&pid=683764012

Penny
ps. I love that Skort from Athleta! I may get it! Too bad it wasn't another 2 inches longer, but it'll still work great for Europe.

Last edited by LovesToRun; 03-18-2013 at 11:10 PM.
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:58 AM   #1071
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What are everyone's thoughts on obtaining Euros currency before or during this trip? I know we chatted about it awhile back. I have always purchased foreign currencies for my trips in advance from my bank so I didnt have to worry about it upon arrival, and I generally limited my use of an ATM to once or twice only throughout a 2-3 week trip for just a little more cash- so essentially, I try to plan how much I'll need at home and bring that much and then only get a little more if necessary. I do this because I don't like to use ATM's. I don't even use them at home- I pay with my CC for nearly everything, even small purchases, to get the reward points and of course pay off each month- I'm just not a big cash person. Plus, it seems like every day we hear about some new way scammers are putting hidden devices on ATMs to steal your info, record your PIN, etc. I've just never liked them and I get along just fine without using them at home. Abroad, I feel the risk is even greater. All the same security issues as home, plus the addition of pickpocketing galour in this European cities- I hate to stand there and obtain cash right out in the open.

Normally I only bring $200-300 in currency at most on a trip, because I use my CC for most purchases. But for this trip, so many of our private tours are asking for cash payment at the end. So I need about $1000 Euros worth of cash for these tours alone, plus say another $200 in my usual "spending money" for cash expenses were CC isn't accepted. I am well aware that getting currency at home is a much worse exchange rate than using an ATM in Europe. I did the math, and I would be spending about $100 USD extra by purchasing my Euros at home vs. at ATMs on arrival.

I'm looking for advice on what you would do in this situation. There are pros/cons to each:

Pros for obtaining Euros at home- don't need to waste time on arrival getting cash, don't have security issue of obtaining a large amount of cash from an ATM

Cons for obtaining Euros at home- poor exchange rate, having to hold a large amount of cash on me (although I will have my money belt and a safe in our hotel room and stateroom)

Pros for using ATM abroad- much better exchange rate, don't have to hold a large amount of cash on me the first few days of the trip

Cons for using ATM abroad- security issues and worry about pickpockets observing me withdrawing large amounts of money

What are your thoughts?
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:01 PM   #1072
LovesToRun
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Euros

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Originally Posted by WDW Princess 71 View Post
What are everyone's thoughts on obtaining Euros currency before or during this trip? I know we chatted about it awhile back. I have always purchased foreign currencies for my trips in advance from my bank so I didnt have to worry about it upon arrival, and I generally limited my use of an ATM to once or twice only throughout a 2-3 week trip for just a little more cash- so essentially, I try to plan how much I'll need at home and bring that much and then only get a little more if necessary. I do this because I don't like to use ATM's. I don't even use them at home- I pay with my CC for nearly everything, even small purchases, to get the reward points and of course pay off each month- I'm just not a big cash person. Plus, it seems like every day we hear about some new way scammers are putting hidden devices on ATMs to steal your info, record your PIN, etc. I've just never liked them and I get along just fine without using them at home. Abroad, I feel the risk is even greater. All the same security issues as home, plus the addition of pickpocketing galour in this European cities- I hate to stand there and obtain cash right out in the open.

Normally I only bring $200-300 in currency at most on a trip, because I use my CC for most purchases. But for this trip, so many of our private tours are asking for cash payment at the end. So I need about $1000 Euros worth of cash for these tours alone, plus say another $200 in my usual "spending money" for cash expenses were CC isn't accepted. I am well aware that getting currency at home is a much worse exchange rate than using an ATM in Europe. I did the math, and I would be spending about $100 USD extra by purchasing my Euros at home vs. at ATMs on arrival.

I'm looking for advice on what you would do in this situation. There are pros/cons to each:

Pros for obtaining Euros at home- don't need to waste time on arrival getting cash, don't have security issue of obtaining a large amount of cash from an ATM

Cons for obtaining Euros at home- poor exchange rate, having to hold a large amount of cash on me (although I will have my money belt and a safe in our hotel room and stateroom)

Pros for using ATM abroad- much better exchange rate, don't have to hold a large amount of cash on me the first few days of the trip

Cons for using ATM abroad- security issues and worry about pickpockets observing me withdrawing large amounts of money

What are your thoughts?
These are all good questions.

We do the exact same thing as you when we travel internationally (and my husband travels internationally for work several times a year)... we use our CC for everything, even small items, when CC's are accepted and then pay our balance off to zero each month (and the points/miles is a big incentive, as well as security (not carrying cash) ).

When we travel internationally, we also do the same as you and only bring a couple hundred $$ in cash (exchanged into the currency of the country we are visiting), and use that for tips, cab fair, etc.

But, when we do need to draw out cash from an ATM when we are traveling internationally, we find a bank that has an ATM inside the bank. This is a lot more secure than using an ATM that is outside on the street. So, I wonder if you can get to a bank that has an ATM inside the bank when you are in Barcelona (bigger cities tend to have more banks with ATM's inside)? OR, if your hotel has an ATM in the lobby, this probably is more secure than using an ATM outside on the sidewalk. We try very hard to avoid using ATM's that are outside on busy streets, for the exact reasons you stated.

For us, we are only doing 2 non-Disney tours (Ephesus and Rome), and both of them take credit cards, so we won't have to worry about having loads of Euros, BUT in your case, I would suggest 2 ideas:

1) just bite the bullet and get all the Euros here, pay a bit more for the exchange rate, but then you know for sure you have the cash to pay for your tours, AND I would think it would be more secure to carry the cash on you while you are traveling to Barcelona, or where ever your first destination is in Europe (money belt, or a shoulder bag with a security pocket (eBags has some really great day travel shoulder bags that have security pockets with locks that are nearly impossible for a pickpocket to get into) than you are getting Euros out of an ATM that is on the street in plain day.

2) If you want to get the best exchange rate (ie, get the Euros in Europe), then like I said, maybe find a bank with an ATM inside the bank, or even find a Western Union. They can help you get cash, too, I think (or maybe Western Union is only for wiring money... not sure).

Another idea... do you know if the tour companies you are using will accept PayPal as a payment? That is just like cash, but sending it through the internet. You could email them and ask, and if you are 100% sure you will not be cancelling your tour, you could pre-pay via PayPal before you leave (if you feel they are fully trustworthy and WILL show up after you pay them), and then the only cash you need to have with you is for the tip.

Anyway, those are my thoughts....
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:56 PM   #1073
drlaurafsu
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Any thoughts about skirts and leggings as an option for the churches? I have been tossing this idea around some to deal with the whole covered knees issue for me. If so I would get the footless leggings or possibly even capri length. And would be easy to take off and put in a pack if it got too hot later in the day.

For those looking for boys pants that zip off, I found some for DS in Old Navy recently. Might even stop and get an extra pair for DS before they sell out. I got them on sale for $17...so keep an eye out for sales coming up.

If anyone spots any cute lightweight capris be sure to post...I'm on the lookout!
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Old 03-19-2013, 06:37 PM   #1074
LovesToRun
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Originally Posted by drlaurafsu View Post
Any thoughts about skirts and leggings as an option for the churches? I have been tossing this idea around some to deal with the whole covered knees issue for me. If so I would get the footless leggings or possibly even capri length. And would be easy to take off and put in a pack if it got too hot later in the day.

For those looking for boys pants that zip off, I found some for DS in Old Navy recently. Might even stop and get an extra pair for DS before they sell out. I got them on sale for $17...so keep an eye out for sales coming up.

If anyone spots any cute lightweight capris be sure to post...I'm on the lookout!
That is funny you ask about the leggings because yesterday I was looking at photos different Rome tour companies have posted on their website showing their tours. There was one picture of a small group in front of the Vatican and one woman was wearing a short skirt w/ black Capri length leggings under the skirt and then sandals. And I remember thinking that is such a great idea for when you have to cover past your knees! Now, of course I have no way of telling if she went into the Vatican, but I would guess she did based off the picture. So, you can confirm w/ someone who for sure knows, but I would guess full length or capri leggings under a shorter skirt is fine. You could easily slip the leggings off in a restroom once you are done w/ the Vatican so you dont get too hot.

I am just now starting to look for clothes for our trip. If I find light weight Capri pants, I will let you know.

Thanks for thr tip on the Old Navy boys convertible pants. I might check them out!
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:46 PM   #1075
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Originally Posted by LovesToRun View Post
These are all good questions.

We do the exact same thing as you when we travel internationally (and my husband travels internationally for work several times a year)... we use our CC for everything, even small items, when CC's are accepted and then pay our balance off to zero each month (and the points/miles is a big incentive, as well as security (not carrying cash) ).

When we travel internationally, we also do the same as you and only bring a couple hundred $$ in cash (exchanged into the currency of the country we are visiting), and use that for tips, cab fair, etc.

But, when we do need to draw out cash from an ATM when we are traveling internationally, we find a bank that has an ATM inside the bank. This is a lot more secure than using an ATM that is outside on the street. So, I wonder if you can get to a bank that has an ATM inside the bank when you are in Barcelona (bigger cities tend to have more banks with ATM's inside)? OR, if your hotel has an ATM in the lobby, this probably is more secure than using an ATM outside on the sidewalk. We try very hard to avoid using ATM's that are outside on busy streets, for the exact reasons you stated.

For us, we are only doing 2 non-Disney tours (Ephesus and Rome), and both of them take credit cards, so we won't have to worry about having loads of Euros, BUT in your case, I would suggest 2 ideas:

1) just bite the bullet and get all the Euros here, pay a bit more for the exchange rate, but then you know for sure you have the cash to pay for your tours, AND I would think it would be more secure to carry the cash on you while you are traveling to Barcelona, or where ever your first destination is in Europe (money belt, or a shoulder bag with a security pocket (eBags has some really great day travel shoulder bags that have security pockets with locks that are nearly impossible for a pickpocket to get into) than you are getting Euros out of an ATM that is on the street in plain day.

2) If you want to get the best exchange rate (ie, get the Euros in Europe), then like I said, maybe find a bank with an ATM inside the bank, or even find a Western Union. They can help you get cash, too, I think (or maybe Western Union is only for wiring money... not sure).

Another idea... do you know if the tour companies you are using will accept PayPal as a payment? That is just like cash, but sending it through the internet. You could email them and ask, and if you are 100% sure you will not be cancelling your tour, you could pre-pay via PayPal before you leave (if you feel they are fully trustworthy and WILL show up after you pay them), and then the only cash you need to have with you is for the tip.

Anyway, those are my thoughts....
I appreciate all of your suggestions- I love posing questions on hear and bouncing ideas off of others to hear their perspective. I like the idea of using an ATM located inside of a bank. Have you (or anyone else on here) done this before- is it self-explanatory/have English options, or would I have to interact with a bank employee for help (if they can speak English?) I honestly cannot remember how the ATMs work abroad since I've used them so sparingly- I can't remember if there was a choice for 'English' prompts or if it was all in foreign language and I had to guess what it was saying. Anyone know how easy it is?

I did email my hotel asking for the address of the nearest bank with an ATM inside. Turns out there is a La Caixa bank 250 feet from the door of our hotel, that is open M-F 8:30 AM until 2:00 PM. So, we would have all day on Thurs or Fri pre-cruise to obtain Euros inside here, and that is so super close to our hotel I would feel safe doing this. My next question is, what do you think is more secure- carrying all of the cash in the money belt on my person all day, even as we are going out to tour the city, or is it safer in our room safe? Again, I've used hotel room safes before for things like my iphone, passport, and 100-200 in cash- but never as much as $1000. I'm thinking the safe is stil the best option but curious what others' opinions are?
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Old 03-20-2013, 04:08 PM   #1076
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Originally Posted by WDW Princess 71 View Post
I appreciate all of your suggestions- I love posing questions on hear and bouncing ideas off of others to hear their perspective. I like the idea of using an ATM located inside of a bank. Have you (or anyone else on here) done this before- is it self-explanatory/have English options, or would I have to interact with a bank employee for help (if they can speak English?) I honestly cannot remember how the ATMs work abroad since I've used them so sparingly- I can't remember if there was a choice for 'English' prompts or if it was all in foreign language and I had to guess what it was saying. Anyone know how easy it is?

I did email my hotel asking for the address of the nearest bank with an ATM inside. Turns out there is a La Caixa bank 250 feet from the door of our hotel, that is open M-F 8:30 AM until 2:00 PM. So, we would have all day on Thurs or Fri pre-cruise to obtain Euros inside here, and that is so super close to our hotel I would feel safe doing this. My next question is, what do you think is more secure- carrying all of the cash in the money belt on my person all day, even as we are going out to tour the city, or is it safer in our room safe? Again, I've used hotel room safes before for things like my iphone, passport, and 100-200 in cash- but never as much as $1000. I'm thinking the safe is stil the best option but curious what others' opinions are?
Yah, I agree... I love getting tips, ideas, and just bouncing ideas off everyone here, especially since we are all in the same boat ( no pun intended... well, not really, at least).

That is great that you found a bank so close to your hotel. I figured there would be one. In Barcelona, I'm sure there are banks all over.

Well, I can't speak for Spain (because I have never been there before), but I've used ATM's in Mexico (inside banks), and they have both English and Spanish, so it was no problems drawing out money.

My husband travels to India and China often, and he has used ATM's there, and they always have English.... well, India, the official language is English, so I guess that is a given, but in China, he said they always have English as well as Chinese on the ATMs (at least the ones he's used). SO, my guess is Spain would be the same, but I could be wrong! But, if they don't have an English option, just have someone who works at the bank help you. That should be safe, especially if they work at the bank!

As for your other question (where to store your money), personally, I would not feel relaxed one bit if I were out and about on the streets of Barcelona carrying 1,000 Euros on my person, even if it were in a money belt. I think your money is much safer in your safe in your hotel room than it is actually on you. But, that is my opinion.

One thing you could do (and maybe you've already done this), is you could read all the reviews on Trip Advisor about the hotel you're staying in and see if anyone there complained about the maid service breaking into their safe (which if you're staying in a decent hotel, I really doubt that would happen). Another thing you could do (I have a friend who does this) is you could keep all your valuables IN your suitcase (maybe in a hidden pocket inside your suitcase) and LOCK your suitcase and then put your suitcase inside a closet. These friends of ours travel all over the world, and they feel safer doing this than keeping their valuables and money in their hotel safe. But, what they do is they bring a different lock for their suitcase for the hotel room. Most suitcase locks now-a-days are TSA safe locks, so if someone has a universal key to open up those TSA locks (I'm sure in today's world, those aren't that hard to get a hold of), then that person can easily get into your suitcase. But, what our friends do, is they bring a NON-TSA lock for their suitcase they ONLY use while they are in hotels and they lock their suitcase with that lock, so it would be virtually impossible for someone to unlock it.

The maid would have to have a lock cutter or just steal the whole suitcase, and chances of a maid having a lock cutter or "inconspicuously" walking away with a whole suitcase is pretty slim.

Our friends have stayed in 3rd world countries and places where it really isn't safe, and this is how they store their important possessions and money, and they've NEVER had a problem or have had any signs of tampering.

Now, my husband, when he travels internationally (several times a year), he always just uses the hotel safes and has never had a problem, but he also stays in higher end well-known hotel chains, so that might have something to do with it.

Long story short, is I would keep your money in your hotel room, and only take with you when you are out and about what you NEED for that day.

But, that is just my opinion.... Overall, I think YOU should do what you feel is best for you. There probably isn't a right or wrong answer to your question.... I think I would just go with what will help you be relaxed and enjoy your day the most. If you left the money in your hotel room locked up, would you be worried all day while you are out and about that the maid or someone who works at the hotel might steal it (from the safe), or your suitcase, then take it with you. But, if you think that if you have that much money on you while you're walking around the streets of the city you will be worried and nervous you could get mugged or pick-pocketed, then leave your money in the hotel room.

OR... you could just go and withdraw the money the morning you are going to get on the cruise ship, and then you don't have to worry at all about where to keep that large amount of money while you are in Barcelona. I don't know about you, but I feel safe with keeping my valuables in the safe on the Ship.... So, I think you'll be fine keeping that much money in your safe on the ship...

So, again... just my thoughts!!
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:21 PM   #1077
FloridaMom3461
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Euros - another option

Hi all,
I emailed the DCL concierge last night to ask about exchanging on the ship and this is the response I received:
Onboard Disney Magic, you can exchanged US Dollars in Cash, Check and/or Traveler's Checks. A check can be up to $200.00 US Dollars per checking account/per voyage. An exchange cannot be completed with a credit card as Cash Advances are not available onboard
There is not a fee for exchange to Euros. We do not have a published exchange rate as they will receive a rate each day and that would be what they would use.

So for anyone concerned about traveling with cash or carrying cash around Barcelona, here's another option. I actually think bringing Traveler's checks and exchanging each evening for the next day seems a good possibility.

best wishes,
Randi
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:28 AM   #1078
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LovesToRun View Post
As for your other question (where to store your money), personally, I would not feel relaxed one bit if I were out and about on the streets of Barcelona carrying 1,000 Euros on my person, even if it were in a money belt. I think your money is much safer in your safe in your hotel room than it is actually on you. But, that is my opinion.

One thing you could do (and maybe you've already done this), is you could read all the reviews on Trip Advisor about the hotel you're staying in and see if anyone there complained about the maid service breaking into their safe (which if you're staying in a decent hotel, I really doubt that would happen). Another thing you could do (I have a friend who does this) is you could keep all your valuables IN your suitcase (maybe in a hidden pocket inside your suitcase) and LOCK your suitcase and then put your suitcase inside a closet. These friends of ours travel all over the world, and they feel safer doing this than keeping their valuables and money in their hotel safe. But, what they do is they bring a different lock for their suitcase for the hotel room. Most suitcase locks now-a-days are TSA safe locks, so if someone has a universal key to open up those TSA locks (I'm sure in today's world, those aren't that hard to get a hold of), then that person can easily get into your suitcase. But, what our friends do, is they bring a NON-TSA lock for their suitcase they ONLY use while they are in hotels and they lock their suitcase with that lock, so it would be virtually impossible for someone to unlock it.

The maid would have to have a lock cutter or just steal the whole suitcase, and chances of a maid having a lock cutter or "inconspicuously" walking away with a whole suitcase is pretty slim.

Our friends have stayed in 3rd world countries and places where it really isn't safe, and this is how they store their important possessions and money, and they've NEVER had a problem or have had any signs of tampering.

Now, my husband, when he travels internationally (several times a year), he always just uses the hotel safes and has never had a problem, but he also stays in higher end well-known hotel chains, so that might have something to do with it.

Long story short, is I would keep your money in your hotel room, and only take with you when you are out and about what you NEED for that day.

But, that is just my opinion.... Overall, I think YOU should do what you feel is best for you. There probably isn't a right or wrong answer to your question.... I think I would just go with what will help you be relaxed and enjoy your day the most. If you left the money in your hotel room locked up, would you be worried all day while you are out and about that the maid or someone who works at the hotel might steal it (from the safe), or your suitcase, then take it with you. But, if you think that if you have that much money on you while you're walking around the streets of the city you will be worried and nervous you could get mugged or pick-pocketed, then leave your money in the hotel room.

OR... you could just go and withdraw the money the morning you are going to get on the cruise ship, and then you don't have to worry at all about where to keep that large amount of money while you are in Barcelona. I don't know about you, but I feel safe with keeping my valuables in the safe on the Ship.... So, I think you'll be fine keeping that much money in your safe on the ship...

So, again... just my thoughts!!
I agree so much with you! I have travelled to Europe several times as well as the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand and Tokyo, and I've never felt uncomfortable using hotel safes. I always stay in at least moderate level hotels and read all the reviews. I think the reason why I was questioning the "safety of the safe" this time was because I was reading some articles online (sometimes the Internet can be overkill/too much information!) about how hotel safes aren't really safe, because the ones with keys can be too easily duplicated, and even the ones with codes, they have master codes to open them. So I started kind of worrying after reading that. But I think I really have to take step back- I've used the safes with no problem in all of my travels to 22 countries and countless places in the US and never had an issue, so I guess I shouldn't fret. I do like your friends' suggestion of using a suitcase lock and putting items in there also. I think I'll be fine with either of those options, and I agree, I would be more worried carrying around that much cash on me. My hotel is rated #11 in all of Barcelona hotels, and it is moderate level with really positive reviews on TripAdvisor- I haven't read about any issues with security or theft, so I think I just need to relax. And on the ship I have never worried about using the safe or even leaving things like my iphone on the dock in the room while we were out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaMom3461 View Post
Hi all,
I emailed the DCL concierge last night to ask about exchanging on the ship and this is the response I received:
Onboard Disney Magic, you can exchanged US Dollars in Cash, Check and/or Traveler's Checks. A check can be up to $200.00 US Dollars per checking account/per voyage. An exchange cannot be completed with a credit card as Cash Advances are not available onboard
There is not a fee for exchange to Euros. We do not have a published exchange rate as they will receive a rate each day and that would be what they would use.

So for anyone concerned about traveling with cash or carrying cash around Barcelona, here's another option. I actually think bringing Traveler's checks and exchanging each evening for the next day seems a good possibility.

best wishes,
Randi
This is a good point! I think I may post on the main DCL forum and ask for feedback from those who've done this before, and if it was a good exchange rate. I like the idea of exchanging the traveller's checks onboard each evening if the rate is good.
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:40 AM   #1079
LovesToRun
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Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 771

Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaMom3461 View Post
Hi all,
I emailed the DCL concierge last night to ask about exchanging on the ship and this is the response I received:
Onboard Disney Magic, you can exchanged US Dollars in Cash, Check and/or Traveler's Checks. A check can be up to $200.00 US Dollars per checking account/per voyage. An exchange cannot be completed with a credit card as Cash Advances are not available onboard
There is not a fee for exchange to Euros. We do not have a published exchange rate as they will receive a rate each day and that would be what they would use.

So for anyone concerned about traveling with cash or carrying cash around Barcelona, here's another option. I actually think bringing Traveler's checks and exchanging each evening for the next day seems a good possibility.

best wishes,
Randi

This is great info! Thank you so much for emailing concierge and posting their answer. I like that there aren't any service fees!! We will probably already have Euros before we board the ship (we'll be spending time in Italy before the cruise, so we'll have Euros for that portion of our trip), BUT this is so good to know JUST in case we needed more Euros while on the cruise!! I had no idea they did foreign currency exchange on the ship.

One question... the response says they will exchange up to $200 USD per checking account/per voyage. So, I'm assuming "per voyage" means they will exchange up to $200 total over the 12 days (ie, does "per voyage" mean then ENTIRE cruise, or does "per voyage" mean each time we leave a port and go out to sea?)

What do you all think??

Also, here's another question along the same topic (sort of). For room service on the ship, would you all tip in Euros or USD's ON the ship? We always tip in cash when we get room service, but I'm wondering if the CM's would prefer Euro's or USD's? My guess is Euro's since they will be in Europe all summer, and Euro's are worth more than the dollar... what do you all think?

Thanks again!!!
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:20 AM   #1080
LovesToRun
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WDW Princess 71 View Post
I agree so much with you! I have travelled to Europe several times as well as the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand and Tokyo, and I've never felt uncomfortable using hotel safes. I always stay in at least moderate level hotels and read all the reviews. I think the reason why I was questioning the "safety of the safe" this time was because I was reading some articles online (sometimes the Internet can be overkill/too much information!) about how hotel safes aren't really safe, because the ones with keys can be too easily duplicated, and even the ones with codes, they have master codes to open them. So I started kind of worrying after reading that. But I think I really have to take step back- I've used the safes with no problem in all of my travels to 22 countries and countless places in the US and never had an issue, so I guess I shouldn't fret. I do like your friends' suggestion of using a suitcase lock and putting items in there also. I think I'll be fine with either of those options, and I agree, I would be more worried carrying around that much cash on me. My hotel is rated #11 in all of Barcelona hotels, and it is moderate level with really positive reviews on TripAdvisor- I haven't read about any issues with security or theft, so I think I just need to relax. And on the ship I have never worried about using the safe or even leaving things like my iphone on the dock in the room while we were out.
Yah, sometimes the internet can just put fear in you rather than confidence.

I mean, anything can happen, but when we travel, we are smart when we travel, but the things we really don't have control over (ie, other people's actions), we just try not to worry about.

The way I see it (with security in your own hotel room) is (if it's a reputable hotel), if the maid or a hotel employee steals something out of your room, in essence that employee is jeopardizing their own job as well as the "name" of the hotel chain, and MOST employees would not want to jeopardize their job, especially in today's economy (and especially in Spain, Greece, Italy... where there is a lot of financial turmoil right now, so I'm sure those who have a job want to keep their jobs as it might be hard to find work right now).

I mean, if a maid or hotel employee makes the (bad) choice to get into someone's safe and steal their money, or items of value, that could (if proven) get them fired, and in today's world with so much social media (twitter, FB, yelp, trip advisor, forums like this, etc. etc. etc), a hotel chain could be very hurt if there an employee stole from a guest's room. All the guest needs to do is get on every social media they can think of and tell their experience and tell people to never stay there, and that would hurt the hotel. Hotels just can't afford those kind of negative reviews, so my guess is hotel staff stealing out of hotel guest's safe is not common, or rare (in reputable hotels, that is).

SO, not saying it never happens... I'm sure it does, and I'm sure there are some hotel employees who are willing to take that risk, but my guess is if you are staying in a hotel that is ranked #11 in Barcelona, and if it has really good reviews, then I would not worry about it.

You could leave a note in your safe that says, "IF you steal ANYTHING from here, you are currently being video taped by my hidden cameras I've put in the room, and the police have immediately been notified and will be arresting you momentarily." LOL!!!! (just kidding).

Point is, when traveling, you can plan and prepare to a certain point, but when you travel, you have to just be smart (and you know this with all the traveling you've done), and just try not to worry!! If you worry, then that will just put a damper on your trip, and that is no fun.
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