When in Europe: Money
Updated: Dec 18, 2019
You’ve planned your trip to Europe. You’re thinking about all of the details, and you think “What about money?”
It can be tricky to figure out a good amount of spending money to bring and how to use your credit / debit cards abroad. But we’re here to answer questions about money while traveling and make everything a bit easier for you with this guide.
1. Credit / Debit Cards & ATMs
Be sure to call your bank and credit card companies and let them know you’ll be traveling out of the country. Ask them about international transaction fees. Foreign transaction fees can be as high as 3% of your purchase for every time you pay with your card.
Most countries take cards and there are typically plenty of ATMs available for your use. Be sure to use an ATM that is associated with a bank in your destination (e.g. use a "Bank of Naples" ATM, not one that says "Brian's ATM"). Most ATMs in city centers will be safe to use.
***For the best travel credit cards, we recommend checking out The Points Guy website.***
2. Tipping In Europe
Don’t worry too much about tipping. In Europe they don’t tip as much as we do in the USA. A tip of 5-10% in a restaurant is normal there. Don't tip more than 10%. When at a restaurant, look at your menu to see if a tip is already included. If the tip is already included then you don't need to tip more. Servers are paid well in Europe, not like here in the U.S. where servers live off tips.
Here are our recommended tipping amounts:
Private Drivers: €2 to €10 per ride depending on distance & service. (Global rule: tip at least 1 Euro per bag that the driver helps you with.)
Half day shared tours: €3 to €5 per person.
Full day shared tours: €8 to €10 per person.
Half day private tours: €5 to €10 per person.
Full day private tours: €10 to €20 per person.
Bars: 10% is good.
Taxi Drivers: Round up to nearest bill. To pay a €9,30 taxi fare give €10.
Hotel porters: Give €1 (or equivalent) to porter for each bag they carry.
When in doubt: ask the staff at the hotel what is generally expected for the service you’ll be experiencing.
3. How Much Money To Bring
To start, think about how much you might spend on a daily basis while you’re away. Will you eat out? Go shopping? Grab a coffee?
I would recommend taking about $50 - $100 per person per day. Many places are credit card friendly, but you may end up wanting to eat at a little mom & pop shop that will only take cash.
If you're taking a cruise you can probably bring less cash because you can eat your meals on the ship.
4. Foreign Currencies
After you’ve chosen your destination(s), research what currency is used where you’re traveling.
There are about 19 European countries that use the euro as their currency. Notable exceptions are the United Kingdom who use Pounds and Switzerland who use the Swiss Franc.
For more in-depth information about money when traveling, check out Rick Steves’ very informative money travel tips. - Money Travel Tips
If you have any questions for us or are planning on traveling, please come into the office, email, or give us a call. We would love to assist you in your travels.