Euros vs. Local Currency

Travel Forums Europe Euros vs. Local Currency

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1. Posted by Amyrich (Budding Member 2 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

I'm planning to travel to Europe for Christmas/New Years, but I'm most likely going to stay longer and backpack around Germany and Italy a bit.

I've heard from friends that some places, especially Prague, has its own currency and, while they do accept Euros, it's better to always have the local currency as well.

Can someone explain to me how this works and what's the best solution to this? Should I stick to Euros?

[ Edit: External links removed ]

2. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 403 posts) 5w 1 Star this if you like it!

> Should I stick to Euros?

No, no, no...not unless you are only visiting countries which have adopted the euro as their legal currency.

> Can someone explain to me how this works

It's very simple. Europe is a continent of 50+ countries. The European Union (EU) is made up of 28 European countries. The EU is not like the USA.

Many, but not all, EU countries have adopted the euro as their legal currency (countries only ever have one legal currency). Other EU countries have not adopted the euro and it is not their legal currency: Hungary, Poland, Denmark, Czech Republic, the UK, Croatia, Romania, Sweden, Bulgaria.

> I've heard from friends that some places, especially Prague, has its own currency

Prague is not a country and does not have its own currency. Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic. The legal currency of the Czech Republic is the Czech koruna.

Euros may be accepted in some touristy places in non-euro countries but if you pay in euro you can be certain that you'll get a poor exchange rate, not least because the seller must cover his/her own exchange costs. Even if euros are accepted by a seller it's always best to pay in the legal currency of the country.

> what's the best solution to this?

It's very simple. Just exchange your euro when you travel to or arrive in a non-euro country. Never exchange on the street (it's illegal in many countries). Always use an oficial exchange office. They're not hard to find.......

:-)

[ Edit: Edited on 17-Sep-2018, at 04:47 by leics2 ]

3. Posted by Andrew Mack (Respected Member 415 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

Quoting leics2

> Euros may be accepted in some touristy places in non-euro countries but if you pay in euro you can be certain that you'll get a poor exchange rate,
...
It's very simple. Just exchange your euro when you travel to or arrive in a non-euro country.

THIS /\ /\

4. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1210 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Andrew Mack

THIS /\ /\

I'd actually suggest just buying the local currency with your home currency. Don't change it to Euros and then change again, as you lose out at every transaction.

5. Posted by Andrew Mack (Respected Member 415 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

Quoting AndyF

I'd actually suggest just buying the local currency with your home currency. Don't change it to Euros and then change again, as you lose out at every transaction.

Good point, but that would depend on the travel/cash etc situation.

6. Posted by Amyrich (Budding Member 2 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

Thank you sooooo much for explaining this to me, and pardon my ignorance. I was under the impression that all European countries had joined the EU, for some strange reason.

And especially thanks for the tip about converting directly from dollars. I could plan my trip accordingly.

Based on the list you've given me, it looks like the countries that have not joined the EU seem to be towards the Northern and Eastern parts of Europe. Is it correct to expect that these countries might be cheaper for tourists than the EU countries?

7. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1210 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

It's even more complicated than you've grasped so far... the EU is not the same as the Eurozone. Some of those countries are in the EU but they still keep their own currencies.

Generally Eastern Europe is much cheaper - the old Soviet countries. So Czech, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania.

Northern Europe - Scandinavia - is generally expensive. Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland.

The Baltics (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia) are fairly cheap but getting more expensive - it seems to be a matter of how long you're in the Euro.

8. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5670 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

Just to add one more thing: use an ATM to get local currency instead of changing money (either from dollars or euros). You avoid paying the costs of the money changers and get the actual exchange rate (plus a dollar or so for using an ATM, depending on your bank's agreements on that matter).

There are few countries where there is not an option to withdraw money from an ATM (Iran comes to mind), and definately not in Europe.

Above all: enjoy!

9. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 403 posts) 5w 1 Star this if you like it!

As above: if you change money twice you'll always lose out. Take some USD with you to exchane into non-euro currencies or use ATMs as you go.

But if you intend to use ATMs:

1) make absolutely sure that your card provider/s know that you will be abroad and what countries you intend to visit. If you don't your card may well be blocked and/or 'swallowed'.

2) check what (or if) your card provider/s will charge you for cash withdrawals in foreign currency...and their daily limit for 'foreign' withdrawals.

3) check whether the ATM itself will levy a charge for foreign card use. Some don't, many do.

4) I also suggest you only use bank ATMs and only when the bank is open, just in case your card is 'swallowed' by the machine.

> I was under the impression that all European countries had joined the EU,

That is common misconception outside Europe and especially in the USA. It's a misconception promulgated by the use of 'Europe' in the media when they actually mean the EU. It happens here too.

> It's even more complicated than you've grasped so far... the EU is not the same as the Eurozone

And yet more complicated still:

The so-called 'Eurozone' is not a geographical term. It's simply shorthand for those countries which have adopted the euro as their legal currency. All countries which use the euro are in the EU but not all EU countries use the euro. The countries which have most recently acceded to the EU (e.g. Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia) had to agree to adopt the euro at some point in the future but that's a process which can (and usually does) take years to complete.

The Schengen Area (or 'zone') refers those countries which have done away with formal border checks, although you will encounter formal checks when entering any Schengen country from a non-Schengen country, whether by land, sea or air. There are currently 26 countries in the Schengen Area/Zone, of which 22 are in the EU. Non-EU examples include Switzerland and Iceland. It takes years for a country to be accepted into the Schengen Agreement, whether it's an EU country or not.

The thing to grasp is that Europe is a continent made up of 50+ independent countries, with their own laws, culture, foods, behaviours and (usually) language. Some of those countries are in the EU (which is not like the USA: EU countries are still largely independent, including government and domestic laws), some are in Schengen, some are in both and some are in neither. I won't confuse matters further by trying to explain EEA countries as well!

> countries that have not joined the EU seem to be towards the Northern and Eastern parts of Europe.

Not so. There are plenty in the south too: Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania. Vatican City (yes, it's a country) is not in the EU, nor are Liechtenstein, Andorra, San Marino, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey..........

:-)

[ Edit: Edited on 17-Sep-2018, at 10:06 by leics2 ]

10. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1047 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

Don't take too long to decide how much to take out of the ATM, otherwise it might "eat" your card. Know in advance how much you will need.

This is a good currency converter: https://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/