When traveling in Europe, avoid using your USA credit card, especially to obtain cash, and stay away from currency exchange offices. Your best bet is to pay your way with cash in local currency and your bank debit card is the best option for making cash withdrawals.  Using your bank debit card means you’ll get that day’s exchange rate and in most cases the fees charged by your bank are lower than the fees charged by currency exchange offices and credit card companies.  If you anticipate needing immediate cash in Euros when you arrive at your destination (for taxi, bus, or airport services), obtaining about 100 Euros from your bank prior to departure may be beneficial.  Otherwise, use your debit card at an ATM.  A generous daily allowance for traveling is about 100 Euros per person.  You can withdraw a few days worth of currency from any reputable bank’s ATM (for safety, consider using official bank ATMs that are part of the actual bank building and not those in grocery stores or tourist areas or those operated by non-bank providers).  Withdrawing enough for a few days or perhaps a week keeps the bank fees to a minimum.  Store extra cash in various pieces of luggage or split it amongst family members.  In other words, don’t keep it all in once place.

Notify your bank or credit card company that you are traveling so they don’t put a block on your accounts.  Ask about any applicable fees for using your debit card or credit card in Europe. This can be done a few days in advance of your departure date.

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