What money to bring with you to Europe: cash, credit cards and currency exchange

2019 | 09 | 03 3367

The issue of finance is one of the most relevant and important when planning a trip to another country. Traveling, finding a job or first experience working abroad - money will be needed anyway. How much to take with you depends on the country of residence and the duration of the trip. In this article we want to help you understand the question: what kind of money is better to take with you, how to store, transport and use when traveling around Europe.

Cash or cards?

Divide the amount of cash into three parts and put in different places of baggage:

  • to the wallet;
  • among baggage items;
  • into the pockets of clothes.

So you can avoid losing a large amount of money.

As for cards, it is recommended to keep debit and credit cards with you. From personal experience, I bring with me 4 cards of different banks and in the section on “Credit and debit cards” I described why.

Cash: in what currency, how much, where
Go to Europe - take the euro. Despite the fact that many countries of the European Union have a domestic currency - the euro is accepted everywhere. So it is better to take cash in euros and, according to the circumstances, already in place to change them into the currency of the host country.

Exchange euros in your country: hryvnias, rubles cannot be exchanged for euros in every exchanger in Europe. You will need to look for a bank with a wide currency service. In order not to bother, buy the euro in advance before traveling abroad.

Take small bills: the most popular - 5-10-20 euros. 500 is better to exchange immediately if you do not plan large purchases for cash. Since on the spot in cafes, shops and other points of sale, there may simply not be change. In addition, 500 and 100 euros are the most frequently forged notes, so there is a place for a factor of mistrust and dissatisfaction on the part of sellers. You can exchange 500 euros in Duty Free if you fly by plane.

Clean bills: check that there are no ink or other marks on the bills, as well as the integrity of the bills. Since they may not accept it when you want to pay them off at a store, catering establishments and other places in Europe.

If you really find fault: pay attention to the year of issue of the bill - Euros older than 2006 are also reluctant to take.

How much to take: depends on the purpose of the trip, country and duration of stay. On average, you can count on 250 euros per week for everyday expenses (this does not include accommodation, medical care and other expenses).

Credit and Debit Cards

Without a card in Europe it will be difficult: to rent a car, to use useful services that require systematic payment, you can not without a debit or credit card. It is recommended that you carry both.

Going abroad, with me four cards:

  • Two debit from one bank.
  • Two credit from different banks.

One debit card contains a large amount of money and is under increased protection with all the necessary limits for withdrawal, authorization, etc. When money is needed, I simply transfer the required amount to another debit card and you can pay bills to it.

So you will protect your finances from possible attacks, do not light up the key card number with all the money in public places.

Two credit cards should be kept from different banks at the optimal limit. It is recommended to set up double authentication for their use: through a PIN code and SMS confirmation from the bank.

In Europe, Visa and MasterCard are used. So make sure that your cards also have support for these banks. Usually, this is indicated on the outside of the card.

You can open accounts in foreign currency or use the currency of your country: all banks support the conversion of funds from the card from one currency to another at the bank rate. Which is sometimes more profitable than the terms of exchange in the host country.

And yet, in what currency is it better to open a card for traveling abroad to Europe?

To avoid overpayment of commissions for currency conversion and to rely on specific income / expenses abroad - keep your currency card in euros. It can be issued in almost any large bank.


  • no commission for currency conversion;
  • without reference to currency jumps - they put 20 euros, 20 euros and it remains, but if you use a card with the currency of Ukraine, Russia and other CIS countries, there is a chance of "losing" when the rate drops, which makes it difficult to calculate specific expenses;
  • you can replenish a currency card through another card of this bank, if you have one.


  • need two debit cards from one bank;
  • two credit cards from different banks;
  • support for "Visa" and "Master Card" on the cards is required;
  • it is not necessary to create accounts in foreign currency - you can use the conversion services from the bank by default.

Currency exchange: where is it better to change money
Everything is simple - where it is profitable. To assess where it is still profitable, compare the exchange rates of your country and destination country. This can be done on specialized sites, for example, at www.xe.com/curencyconverter.

And based on the information received, decide: it is better to change the euro in your country or still come to Europe and exchange there.

Where to change money in Europe:

I'll start with where you should not change: at the airport, train station and bus stations. There is always a less favorable rate than banks offer. If you urgently need cash, exchange the minimum required amount and save the rest until you get to the city.

Do not change at a hotel or hostel if you have stayed at them. There is also often an unfavorable course in relation to the proposals of banks.

In order not to cheapen or lose money, look for the following exchange points:

the city has Currency exchange, often they are written in international English, always contain a scoreboard with the course.
banks have cash desks with exchange services; these are the most reliable exchange points. Sometimes it’s not the most profitable, but at the bank you can not worry about fraud with your funds.

  • read reviews about exchangers in the city in which you will be in advance. So you can precisely avoid unreliable or even points with scammers and find the most optimal point for converting money;
  • be sure to check the commission at the exchange office: do they charge extra fees for services. The phrase is simple and should be understood by locals: “no commission?”.

Received an affirmative “yes” or a nod - no unforeseen deductions from the amount of exchange;
count money without leaving the cash desk - why do you need extra problems?

4 more useful tips for those who are planning finances on a trip abroad

Prepare and study the information in advance:
what is the situation with the payment infrastructure - are there ATMs, exchangers, what fees, ATMs of which banks accept your card;
both with fraud and common cheating schemes.
Solve the issue with the Internet in advance: choose the optimal tariff for services so that it is convenient and inexpensive to use - for controlling bank cards and making transactions. It will also be convenient to use the navigator on your mobile, search for ATMs, exchangers through Google maps.
Warn the banks whose cards you intend to take with you about your planned trip abroad. Otherwise, the account may be blocked if they decide that this is suspicious activity and someone else is using the card.
Install online banking applications from your banks. So you will receive alerts about all operations on the card, as well as get quick access to the transfer / exchange of funds.
Do not carry all cash with you - take only the optimal denomination. Since pickpockets, scammers are everywhere.

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