European Cash and Currency


Enzina Scarcella

European Travel Tips: Cash and Currency

If you’re planning a trip to Europe, working out how to take money overseas can easily become frustrating. Do you take cash with you? Or do you go entirely cashless and rely on debit cards? What about digital wallets, like Apple Pay and Samsung Wallet? As a leading provider of European tours, Albatross Tours knows a thing or two about how best to manage money in Europe. In this blog, we’ll be sharing our top tips and tricks to keep abreast of your hip pocket.

Here in Australia, debit cards are often our go-to for paying for anything – even items that are less than a dollar. Having a debit card on hand does allow you to withdraw cash from ATMs or banks while on-the-go. Though debit cards are great for most purchases in Europe, you’ll soon realise that cash is better for smaller purchases, like a cup of coffee or take away snack. Prepaid travel money cards are another great option to consider when exploring Europe. These types of cards allow you to load up on multiple currencies all on the one card, all the while locking in the best conversion rates possible. Another card you might consider for travel money is the credit card. Having a credit card on standby is a great option for emergency purchases. If you want to bring an emergency credit card with you, opt for one with a chip and a four-digit PIN.

When you're travelling overseas, ensure that you do advise your bank of which countries you are travelling to, when you are departing and when you are returning. As part of banks' sophisticated anti-fraud measures, they may flag your activity overseas if they are not aware that you are away. This will ensure that they do not block your card services while travelling and that you can continue to access your travelling funds.

When it comes to travelling around Europe, having some cash tucked away is always a great idea. It may come in handy to have an emergency cash fund, just in case things don’t quite go to plan. You have two options when it comes to converting cash – do it in Australia or in Europe. It’s much more convenient to convert your Australian dollars into a European currency of your choice, which will depend on where you decide to go. In Australia, you can visit currency exchange stores, or you can order your currency of choice online at various retailers, including the Australian Post. Though there might be a currency converter in Europe, it might be hard to find one to get all the currencies that you need for your trip. Though most international airports and train stations have currency exchange stations, they often come with exorbitant conversion rates and fees. If you leave or enter any country within Europe and have 10,000 or more in a specific European currency, then you must declare that amount in customs.

Digital Wallets
With more and more people paying for goods via smartphone or smartwatch, it begs the question on whether you can use these digital wallets to purchase items in Europe. And the answer to that question is a resounding, yes. According to Merchants Savvy, Europeans are expected to increase their digital wallet transactions exponentially by 2025. This means that most European retailers are embracing the convenience of digital wallets. However, don’t rely solely on paying with your smartphone or smartwatch, as some merchants might not have made the full leap to digital wallet systems.

When it comes to travelling throughout Europe, you can pay for goods in a number of ways. Though cards and digital wallets are incredibly convenient, you might find yourself needing a bit of cash up your sleeve for smaller purchases. Opt for a combination of physical cash and either a card or digital wallet when adventuring around Europe.

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