With the introduction of the Euro, handling your money in Europe is a lot simpler. However, there are still some important guidelines for dealing with currency issues while abroad.
Exchange some money before you leave
Although you can typically exchange money in the airport when you arrive in Europe, it is best to have some Euros before you leave. What if your flight is delayed and you arrive after the airport bank is closed? Or, what if you are starving as soon as you get off the plane and want to pick up a quick snack before dealing with money exchange? Most local banks can easily exchange dollars for Euros. Having 50-100 Euros in your pocket upon arrival will start your trip off stress free (see the next section for the reason not to exchange all of your money ahead of time).꽁머니
Use your ATM and credit cards
Travelers checks are a thing of the past! The easiest way to exchange money in most European countries is to simply use your Visa or Mastercard. You will almost always get the best exchange rate when you take money out of an ATM or pay directly with a credit card when you are in Europe. The reason is that banks usually give the best exchange rates to each other, so the this automatic transaction will typically cost you less than going to a money exchange kiosk. Make sure to call your bank ahead of time to ensure that your ATM pin will work in the countries where you are traveling – it us typically best to have a standard 4-digit pin. Current guide books should alert you to any concerns with using cards in specific countries.
Picture it: Paris, 2001. I had just gotten off an overnight train from Madrid to Paris and… well… I really had to use the restroom! I ran over to the toilette, only to be stopped by a surly french woman telling me that i had to fork over some money to use the facilities. Furiously searching through my purse, I kept pulling out random coins while the woman shook her head. I had no idea which of these foreign coins would comprise the cost of using the bathroom. Although life is a little easier now that many European countries use the same currency, it is still worth taking a few minutes to review the coins and bills ahead of time