Hey friends!! Within the last three years I have been honored to spend multiple months living, traveling, eating, and studying throughout Europe. You always adventure to Europe hearing of different ways to handle money from credit cards, cash, tricks, all of the above- its overwhelming, trust me- I know them all. When I travel (particularly to Europe) I have come to the best six tips for using money. Today I am going to discuss credit cards, cash, and banking information.
The best way to bring money to Europe via a debit or credit card attached to a US banking account. Some cards have different fees for international purchases and cash withdrawals. My advice would be to do some research and use a card with favorable rates. Be sure to pay special attention to the cash withdrawal charge, especially for credit cards. Europeans still tend to use cash more than in the US, so you'll be making frequent cash withdrawals from ATMs across Europe. MasterCard and Visa are the most commonly used cards in Europe, so get a credit/debit card endorsed by one of these companies.
Do not bring a large amount of cash or travelers checks to exchange. This seems to happen a lot, but it is unadvisable. People tend to lose their cash in transit. Money exchange services tend to offer less favorable rates. f your cash is stolen, it's unlikely you'll get it back. My advice would be to exchange approximately $100 for your desired currency in the United States before you come so you have a little money in your pockets for your first 24-48 hours in Europe. Once you get to Europe, find an ATM. Make sure to keep your cash and cards both organizing, especially if you are traveling to countries and using multiple currencies.
If possible, get credit/debit cards with chips and put a PIN number on your credit card. Though we do not commonly use cards with chips in the US, it's the norm for Europe. It is not a necessity, but it might be more convenient for you if you can obtain them. Also, I strongly urge you to see if you can put a PIN number on your credit card. Not only is it more secure, but PIN numbers are the norm for all credit cards in Europe. Again, a PIN number is not a necessity, but some businesses will not allow you to use a credit card without a PIN.
4| US Banks
Let your bank know you will be traveling across Europe, and give them specific locations. If you are going to be backpacking or traveling all across Europe make sure they really understand this point. If not your accounts are frozen because of charges occurring in other countries. Let them know that you will be traveling frequently and that charges could occur anywhere across the European continent and beyond.
Make sure you make a copy of your cards, front and back, and include them in your emergency packet. If your card is lost or stolen, you'll need this information quickly to cancel your cards and have new cards issued. Also, get cards with fraud forgiveness. If someone steals your cards, which happens every year, you don't want to be on the hook for any charges the thief accrues. Make sure to keep your passport safe and secure while traveling and keep it hidden so it avoids getting stolen.
Know your online bank/credit card login and password information. You'll need to keep a close eye on your expenditures and monitor your accounts for weird charges.