Heading to Europe can be an overwhelming experience. Everything from understanding the foreign languages to budgeting the trip, it can certainly be intimidating to head to Venice, Dusseldorf, Arles or Athens.
But there is one issue that can most likely cause a lot of headaches: money exchange.
Exchanging from loonies to euros, euros to pounds, euros to loonies is not only complicated, it is also expensive, depending on what source you use. Thankfully, it doesn’t need to be a nuisance.
The key to being able to endure money exchange transactions is to prepare in advance. Once you get yourself ready today, your money exchange tomorrow doesn’t need to induce headaches, especially if one of your first destinations is the Eiffel Tower. Here are five money exchange tips for your European travels:
1. Exchange Your Money Before You Leave
Prior to your European escape, it would be prudent to buy some euros before you leave.
Since your financial institution will not charge you any additional fees for currency exchange, you can avoid the hefty charges at the airport or money exchange facility.
A couple of weeks before you head off to the airport, get your euros now.
2. Use Your Credit Cards for Large Purchases
When you’re in Europe, one of the smartest financial decisions you can make is to utilize your credit cards for larger transactions. Not only can you avoid having to carry vast sums of physical cash with you, you can also keep track on what you’re spending when you return from Europe.
Once you get home and open up your bank statement, you’ll ask yourself why you spent 100 euros on a t-shirt!
3. Don’t Fall for the “They Take Loonies” Scheme
Indeed, bracing for the influx of tourists, many European businesses will offer to take your dollars. However, it is always best to avoid this scheme because you’re likely forking over an additional 20 percent – local businesses always offer you terrible exchange rates.
Should you come across a sign that says the store will accept loonies or dollars, just put your hand in the pocket and take out your euros or pounds. This will save you money in the end.
4. Refrain from Taking Coins in Europe
Here is a fact when you travel to Europe: if you receive coinage, these coins will be useless when you return to Canada.
Unless you want to pass off certain coins as Canadian currencies, it is hard to exchange, you will ultimately lose money and you likely won’t take it with you when you go back to the continent.
5. Know the Exchange Rate at All Times
Yes, there is an app for that.
Whether you’re skiing in Switzerland or you’re lounging in Marseilles, it would be fiscally responsible to have a general idea or the precise exchange rate. This helps you keep track of how much you’re really spending at the coffee shop, opera house or souvenir store.
For instance, if the exchange rate is €1 for $1.50 and you acquire an espresso for €5, then all you need to do is five times $1.50, which is equal to $7.50.
You can take your budget a lot farther by knowing the local currency exchange rate.
Europe is a magical destination. France, Italy, Germany, Liechtenstein, Belgium. It doesn’t matter where you travel to in Europe, you will be pleased that you went. That said, you don’t want to put a downer on your vacation by worrying about monetary matters. It is important to tackle the issue of money exchange before you head off the plane. This can be done by buying your euros or pounds early, downloading a money exchange mobile application or getting to know local currency exchange rates.
Don’t let money ruin your European vacation.