Thursday, June 20, 2013

Running Out of Paper Money in Europe: What To Do

Photo Credit: Catalan Countries

Local Currency Counts!

It's important to have cash in the local currency on you for those moments when a credit card will not be accepted or just doesn't make sense. I primarily use cash for bus transportation and for small meals. For everything else I use a credit card that was no foreign transaction fee. I prefer not to pull out my entire wallet every time I make a purchase because I feel like it makes me a target for pickers. I've never been picked, nor have I felt uncomfortable in public areas, but I still take precautions just in case.

Find an International ATM

Photo Credit: NY Times
So, if you're American and you have run out of cash in Europe, the first thing you need to do is find an international ATM, or a bank that speaks English. The best international bank I've used is Barclays. This is essentially the same as Bank of America, so if you are a BOA customer then you're in luck. However, I am a Chase client, and therefore I get charged a fee by Chase every time I take money out, no matter which bank branch it is. (Chase is only in the US). Since the fee is 5 USD, I always take out a lot of money at a time so that the fee is used more efficiently. I did this in London, and when I left London, exchanged the pounds for euros at the airport for a 3 pound fee (same as a bank would charge you if you aren't their client.)


Take out a lot of cash at a time, you can always exchange it. Don't carry all of the cash on you all the time, unless you have a money belt. I prefer staying in airbnb places, so I know my money is safe in my room when I leave for the day (as an alternative to a hostel). Use your credit card if you have one that doesn't charge you fees for most purchases and pay it off every couple weeks to ensure you avoid interest fees.

That is all for today! Travel Safe!

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