Remember, there are no stupid questions! We had some of the same questions on our first foreign vacation.
Check with your credit card company about their fees. Of our 3 Visa cards, one charges no fee, one charges 1%, and the last charges 3% for foreign transactions. Guess you know which one we will be using! Also, I have read on the internet that Europe uses chip & pin credit cards-US cards do not have chips. So, our cards may not work in the automated machines-but supposedly most places have the ability to swipe your card. Can any of the Oliva staff or previous travelers comment on this??
We have a personal preference to have a little local currency in pocket when arriving. We will have Euros-some of my coworkers were sent to Germany for training and they sold me their Euros when they returned. Some banks here will get you Euros, but the exchange rate may not be great. Check around with different banks-if you are a credit union member, you may get better exchange rates. Travelex.com has a website to purchase currency-have never used them so we can't tell you if this is a good value or not. We haven't decided if we will get any Swiss cash before arriving there-not sure if we will need it since most (not all) meals are included in the post trip and we are not big souvenir buyers.
Annie & Denise