Everyone is always concerned about having enough money available to them while in Europe.  Also, you want to be safe with your cash.  Here’s some tips and some things you should know before you go.

  • Before You Go

    Take the right credit cards.   Take credit cards with a java chip if possible as most of European cards now have them and some places won’t accept credit cards without them.  For example, it’s very difficult in the Netherlands to use a non-chipped card.   Also, you might consider up-leveling at least one credit card to one that has no foreign currency fee.  Without that you may be shocked when you get your statement to see lots of fees attached to every transaction.  It could easily be worth it to pay an increased annual fee for the card feature.

    Get Euros from your bank before you go.  Most large banks keep foreign exchange right at local branches and can be without a change fee.  Check your bank and depart with an appropriate amount in your wallet so until you get acclimated to your new environment, you are all set.  Try to get smaller denominations.  Hundred euro bills are typically to large for day-to-day transactions.  You can also visit an international airport and get cash from their currency exchange booth.  Ask for that day’s rate and no fee.  Getting travel from TravelEx by express mail has an expensive fee but is an option.

    Travel Debit Card.  Some banks for no charge allow you to open a debit account that has it’s own card that you can use for travel.  If you were robbed of your ATM card, the thieves would have only limited access to the funds only in that account instead of all your banking.  You can use online banking to transfer more into that travel account as you need it.  This is a brilliant solution to a vulnerability we all worried about.

    Travelers Checks.  You can still get them but they seem a lot less useful than they use to be.

  • ATMs

    Look for ones with VISA, Mastercard or Star or other symbol that matches your card. Take credit cards that have a “chip” as they are more readily accepted across Europe.   You will use a PIN number as part of a chip credit card transaction much like a debit card in the US.