When it comes to money, Europe’s never been easy. However, the ubiquity of banks and cash machines has made it far more convenient to withdraw converted currency in the continent. Gone are the days when you had to go to your hometown bank with traveler’s check, get fleeced at the European Union, or line up at AmEx office. However, things could still get tricky when it comes to ATM fees and exchange rates. The following Euro tips will help you with all currency-related queries when in Europe. With these practices, you’ll be able to tour freely through European countries without getting stuck with less or more cash.
- 🇪🇺 A Brief About Euro - the European Currency
- 💶 Countries that Use Euro
- EU Countries that Do Not Use Euro
- Cash or Credit: Best Way to Travel with Money in Europe
- 📱 How to Calculate USD to EUR (Dollar to Euro) and EUR to USD (Euro to Dollar) with your iPhone
- Exchanging Currency in Europe
- Things to Remember Before Leaving for Europe
- Tips for Using Money (Euro and others) in Europe
- Conclusion: Money in Europe
🇪🇺 A Brief About Euro - the European Currency
When it comes to Europe, the eponymous Euro (€) dominates the continent. It is used by 19 EU and 6 Eurozone countries. Besides that, there are 9 countries that use their own specific local currency instead of Euro.
Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, you might get an option to spend money in Euro notes at certain big stores, but it could end up in much worse exchange rates and lots of inconveniences.
This is how it gets tricky when you wish to take a complete tour of the Old Continent. Below is a quick crash course to currencies used in different European countries to help you get a clear idea.
💶 Countries that Use Euro
- Austria 🇦🇹
- Belgium 🇧🇪
- Cyprus 🇨🇾
- Estonia 🇪🇪
- Finland 🇫🇮
- France 🇫🇷
- Germany 🇩🇪
- Greece 🇬🇷
- Spain 🇪🇸
- Ireland 🇮🇪
- Italy 🇮🇹
- Latvia 🇱🇻
- Lithuania 🇱🇹
- Luxembourg 🇱🇺
- Malta 🇲🇹
- The Netherlands 🇳🇱
- Portugal 🇵🇹
- Slovakia 🇸🇰
- Slovenia 🇸🇮
- Kosovo 🇽🇰
- Vatican City 🇻🇦
- San Marino 🇸🇲
- Monaco 🇲🇨
- Andorra 🇦🇩
- Montenegro 🇲🇪
Here is a European currency map for better understanding.
- Blue - Euro is the official currency.
- Dark gray - EU countries with their own non-Euro currency (some accept Euro as a payment option).
- Light gray - not an EU country (local currency also). These countries may use the Euro, but they can have their own rules about it. For example, some EU nations like the Netherlands do not use penny coin. They will round the amount to the nearest even price.
EU Countries that Do Not Use Euro
There are nine EU countries that do not use the Euro as their currency. Below are their names and the name of the currency used in these nations.
|United Kingdom||Pound Sterling 🇬🇧|
|Poland||Polish Złoty 🇵🇱|
|Czech Republic (Czechia)||Czech Koruna 🇨🇿|
|Denmark||Danish Krone 🇩🇰|
|Sweden||Swedish Krona 🇸🇪|
|Croatia||Croatian Kuna 🇭🇷|
|Hungary||Hungarian Forint 🇭🇺|
|Bulgaria||Bulgarian Lev 🇧🇬|
|Romania||Romanian Leu 🇷🇴|
|Switzerland||Swiss Franc 🇨🇭|
Since a majority of the countries in the Eurozone use Euro as their currency, you will need it for most of your traveling to Europe. Here are some important points to consider to ensure you exchange and spend every penny right.
Cash or Credit: Best Way to Travel with Money in Europe
When visiting the Old Continent, the main question that pops in mind is whether to use cash or credit in Europe. Which one will save you money and be a convenient option? While some recommend only credit cards, others advocate only cash. We recommend both.
Nothing dampens a beautiful Europe trip like finding yourself unable to pay for a great meal or train fare. To avoid such souring moments, it is best to carry some cash. The European market is more cash-based than in the US. So, having notes and coins makes it easy to make smaller purchases.
It is advised to exchange a small amount of emergency cash at home before you land in Europe. It can come in handy to pay the taxi to reach the hotel if you do not want to use the commission-padded airport ATMs.
Take a couple of hundred dollars to Europe as well. The dollar is the closest we have to global currency and can help save a lot of trouble. However, resist the urge to barge into just any “We accept dollars” store unless extremely necessary. These $ purchases may cost you about 20% more.
Lastly, keep debit cards to withdraw money. American debit cards, Visa and MasterCard, are widely accepted throughout the Eurozone; American Express is less common and Discover Card is almost unknown. It is always a great idea to keep an extra card as a backup, especially if you are planning to rent a car.
- Keep cash for small purchases
- Use debit cards to withdraw local cash from the ATMs
- Use credit cards to pay larger sums like hotel fees, car rentals, etc.
- Carry a backup card, preferably from a different bank
- Keep USD for backup
📱 How to Calculate USD to EUR (Dollar to Euro) and EUR to USD (Euro to Dollar) with your iPhone
Dollar to euro (and euro to dollar), or dollar to pound (and pound to dollar)? The best way to calculate currency conversions is by using our free iPhone app - MixCoin. MixCoin is a free iOS (iPhone and iPad) currency calculator app, which calculates your money conversions instantly on your iPhone. It supports over 160+ worldwide currencies (including USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CNY, NOK, ISK, CAD, PLN, RUB, and more), and is available for iOS 13.0 and up. Buying something in Europe and don't know what's the value in your currency? Just type the numbers in the local currency (Euro at the case), and our app will instantly tell you the value in the way understandable by you.
Exchanging Currency in Europe
The easiest, most advantageous, and the best way to exchange money in Europe is to get it converted at an ATM. Avoid going to banks or taking traveler’s check. The currency exchange fee can hike up to 8% at banks and 15% at airport exchange booths as opposed to a 1-3% fee charged when swiping a card or exchanging money at an ATM.
Some of the American ATM cards like Schwab Bank Visa® Platinum and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card charge no foreign transaction fees and provide other thrifty features too. These can help you save hundreds of dollars during the Europe tour.
- Use ATM to withdraw converted currency
- Avoid pricey banks and airport exchange booths
- Obtain a card with 0 foreign transaction fee
Things to Remember Before Leaving for Europe
While there is a lot to consider money-wise while inside Europe, there are certain things you need to do before leaving for the continent.
- Inform your bank of your travels to prevent suspicions and blocking of your cards
- Get at least one card on each of the Visa/Plus and MasterCard/Cirrus networks
- If possible, obtain a card that already has insurance included
- Set a withdrawal limit to a bit lower amount to prevent major loss in case of a theft
- Purchase a wallet than can accommodate more coins
- Ensure your cards are chip and pin
Tips for Using Money (Euro and others) in Europe
Although dollars are accepted, it is highly recommended to use the local cash. Just as the proverb says “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. Here are some more tips about using local European cash that will save you money and stress.
- Don’t bother yourself too much over currency conversions; roughly determine the amount to be more comfortable with the new currency you are dealing with.
- Expect that you will be shortchanged; be observant to prevent being conned
- Plan your withdrawals; use ATMs at residential neighborhoods for low transaction fees
- Max your (lowered limited) withdrawals; prevent frequent transactions
Conclusion: Money in Europe
For first-time travelers, converting and using the local currency in Europe can be a little tricky. The last thing you want is to get stuck abroad with a blown budget. A little (over) preparation with this guide will help you save money and avoid financial trouble.
Euro is used by 19 European Union and 6 Eurozone countries.
In some stores yes, but be prepared to overpay. Convert your dollars to pounds and pay by them instead.