Written by millsy99 on 05 Jun, 2001
In the larger towns on Elba, such as Portoferraio, Marina di Campo, and Cavo, there are lots of hotels and cottages available for rent. Restaurants are everywhere, along with tourist shops and gelaterias. (Lots will be closed if you go in the off-season.) ~~~~…Read More
In the larger towns on Elba, such as Portoferraio, Marina di Campo, and Cavo, there are lots of hotels and cottages available for rent. Restaurants are everywhere, along with tourist shops and gelaterias. (Lots will be closed if you go in the off-season.) ~~~~ You can go swimming, snorkeling, or boating, plus there are cheesy touristy things like miniature golf and vineyards. Out in the countryside, there are beautiful views and small, picturesque villages like Rio Nell'Elba. ~~~~ Basically, Elba is a great weekend retreat if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Florence for a few days.
There are several ferry companies that will get you to and from the island, several times per day. Count on spending about $40 for two bodies and a car each way.
Written by Wasatch on 29 Jun, 2007
BEST BUYS IN CURRENCY CONVERSION: Number of Euros for $100 in May, 2007: Local bank before departure: cash= 71; on the ship: travelers checks= 69; bank: travelers checks= 71 Amex Office: Amex travelers checks= 71 and small change; CitiBank MasterCard credit card charges: 71 and…Read More
BEST BUYS IN CURRENCY CONVERSION: Number of Euros for $100 in May, 2007: Local bank before departure: cash= 71; on the ship: travelers checks= 69; bank: travelers checks= 71 Amex Office: Amex travelers checks= 71 and small change; CitiBank MasterCard credit card charges: 71 and change; American Express credit card: 73 and change.These rates were spread out over about a week, during which time there was same market fluctuation in the exchange rate. However, the day to day changes are quite small, today, for example, it added up to 15/1000 of a cent compared to yesterday, so the result is probably pretty accurate. As detailed below, it may not be worth the better rate over a hotel or ship to go to a bank in Italy because of the hassles involved in dealing with the screwed up Italian banking system. The moral is to charge everything on American Express.A merchant may (Russia) or may not (everywhere else we have been) offer a good deal if you pay in American cash or travelers checks.Foreign ATMs are the most convenient way of acquiring foreign cash, but they can be killers on the net exchange rate. Ours offers a good rate, but the fees are problematic—a $5 transaction fee on converting $50 amounts to a 10% loss. On $500, only 1%.Currency exchange booths are generally bad news except for those affiliated with American Express changing American Express travelers checks. They post good rates, but then tack on a killer “fee” for the transaction. If you have the time to shop for the best rate, never ask for quotes on the exchange rate, ask how many euros, etc., you get for $100 after all the fees.CURRENCY EXCHANGE IN ITALY: On our 14 day trip around Italy, we tried to convert American Express Travelers Checks into euros 11 times and succeeded four times. The first required visiting four different banks in Portoferraio, waiting in line in each, only to be told that we had to go to a different bank in the first three banks.The second time was a major disaster: five banks, four long lines, and when we finally found a bank that claimed they could do it, the computer screwed up and came up with a wrong result. For $150, we should have received €106. The computer came up with €55. I pointed out the mistake to the bank, which they at first didn’t believe was an error. After they finally realized it was an error, it took them almost 20 minutes to cancel the mistake. Then I left, as neither of us was in any mood to try it again.Our third attempt was on our cruise ship, which was easy but hotels and cruise ships don’t give very good rates—– €67-€68 for $100. Finally, we arrived in Rome, which was full of exchange offices suggesting that it is possible to exchange, but we headed straight to American Express where our American Express Travelers Checks where quickly converted into euros at a good rate, €71 for $100.Before leaving home, we got euros from our bank in Utah for €70 for $100. This is not quite as good a deal as it looks compared to the exchange rates in Italy because the value of the dollar plunged between the time we got the euros in the USA and when we converted currency in Italy. OTHER MONEY MATTERS Although the exchange rate is usually poor in getting euros in the USA before you leave, it is handy to have some local currency on hand when you arrive. Otherwise, head straight to an exchange booth when you arrive at the end of your flight. Large American cities offer some choice in where you can exchange for foreign currency. We found that Deak regularly had the best rates, but Deak has limited outlets. In Utah, there is no choice but the local bank. Most USA international airports have currency exchange booths, but not great rates. In Europe, the best exchange rate is at American Express, especially on American Express Travelers Checks. Next in order are banks with the word “Credit” in their name, other banks, Exchange booths, and when desperate, your hotel.The big puzzle in currency conversion is how much to convert. The risks of getting too much local currency are  theft, and  getting dinged twice by bank charges when you have to convert it back to dollars. On the other hand, every time you convert, you give up travel time, sometimes a lot of time, as with one of our failed attempts to convert which took almost three hours and pretty much ruined an afternoon of planned sightseeing. Carrying currency in a money belt reduces the risks of theft, but money belts have limited space and they create another problem. One of the joys of travel in Europe is eating well, which means gaining a few pounds, so you don’t want to start out with tight pants, but if your pants are too loose, how are you going to keep them up when you remove your money belt to pay a bill?I used to use a money belt, but for the last few years I’ve changed to an over the neck pouch that serves as a billfold and passport carrier. There is some risk from thieves who carry knives to cut the straps of such pouches, so I stick it inside the front of my shirt. This seems to me to be a good defense against all types of thieves except armed muggers, which are uncommon in Europe. Close
Written by tokyogirl216 on 10 Aug, 2006
Sailing with the girls from my Sienese study abroad class was an awesome trip well worth the cost which included the drive to the boat, food, and a weekend of feeling like we were queens of the world on our own little yaght! And we…Read More
Sailing with the girls from my Sienese study abroad class was an awesome trip well worth the cost which included the drive to the boat, food, and a weekend of feeling like we were queens of the world on our own little yaght! And we can never forget that delicious Mojito made right on la isola di Elba. Ciao ragazza! Close