I just got off the phone with Wilma from Fredericksburg, Ohio and she wanted to know how to be the best prepared for using her money in Europe.
During a trip abroad, I recommend the use of an ATM Bank Card for obtaining foreign currency while in Europe as this typically offers the best exchange rate and they will shoot out the cash in the local currency! ATMs are found in abundance in Europe as they are in the States and many ATM cards can be used as debit cards to make purchases, but don’t forget to notify your bank that you will be traveling in Europe. They may need to set you up with a different pin number that will work with the machines in Europe. It is always a good idea to carry a bit of cash on your person as many places will not accept credit cards for small purchase or on-the-go lunches. As a general rule, you should really only keep enough cash on you for about 2 or 3 days so that you don’t have a large amount that could get lost or stolen during your journey, plus you don’t want to have a lot of money to exchange back to US dollars at the end of your trip.
I also suggested that she bring at least two working credit cards such as Visa or MasterCard because they are typically accepted everywhere. Again, I reminded her to contact her charge card company to notify them that she is traveling to prevent them from suspecting fraudulent activity and freezing the account. American Express and Discover should NOT be the only credit card option because they are not widely accepted.
When notifying your banks regarding your travel plans, also check if there are daily limits with withdrawal amounts or number of transactions.
As a precaution, she made copies of her credit & debit cards to keep in her suitcase, with the emergency numbers for the banks so that she can contact them in the case of an emergency. Great idea Wilma!
Since traveler checks, personal checks and American Express & Discover Cards are not good options for your travels, Wilma was glad that she called BEFORE the trip to make sure that she was prepared ahead of time. This alleviated any money-related stresses from her tour, and allowed her to enjoy the great sights & scenery without worry.
I hope Wilma’s questions will also help with your future travels!