Changing Money in Europe

Changing Money in Europe

Long time Travel Director, Ian Mckinven, offers practical tips for exchanging money abroad.

To change, or not to change, that is the question (my profound apologies to William Shakespeare)! Here are some quick tips that might make money matters easier for you when you “cross the pond”. I am sure you already know that it is a good idea to contact your banks or card providers ahead of your trip, to make them aware of the inevitable use of your cards.

One issue I come across regularly is the difficulty that some guests encounter when trying to change US Dollars to Euros, Pounds, or Swiss Francs.

A mere 30 years ago, Europeans would have bitten your hand off for a wad of American notes but US currency is becoming increasingly harder to change. Banks and post offices are very reluctant now to provide this service. Of course hotels will be only too happy to help you change your money at rates that would make even the meanest bandito blush!

Nowadays, I always recommend that my guests arm themselves with a debit card, that draws funds from a checking account. I suggest not using your credit card which are prohibitively expensive at cash machines. Guests can use their debit cards at  ATMs (automated teller machines) and/or their credit card at restaurants or retailers. Your bank will probably make a small charge every time you withdraw cash. Make sure to call your bank to get an idea of how much that charge is going to be and to see if there is any limit to how much or how often you can withdraw your money.

Plan ahead and try to make only one or two larger withdrawals as opposed to making numerous little ones to limit these transaction fees. Make sure to avail yourself of your four digit pin code for your debit card too. I’ve had guests arrive with their cards unable to use them because they forget their pins.

ATMs exist in abundance throughout Europe. The benefits of using an ATM such as convenience, ease and security make them the only way to go. No more fretting about how you are going to pay for your next gelato!

Just bring a few Euros to get started, then let your Travel Director point you in the right direction. Have a super trip!

For even more tips on money you can read GET team member Jake Messimer’s Tips About Money and Travel.

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