CURRENCY TRAVEL TIPS
updated on January 6, 2015)
There are 27 member
countries of the European Union (the “EU”). 18 of them use the EU’s
currency, the EURO. These 18 countries are:
the EURO can be used in Andorra, Kosovo, Lithuania, Montenegro, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City as of January 1, 2015.
There are seven EURO
banknotes – 5, 10,
20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 EUROS each. There are coins for one and two
EUROS as well as smaller coins.
ENGLISH POUND STERLING:
English notes are issued in 5, 10,
20 and 50 pound banknotes. There are also one pound coins.
The Republic of Ireland,
with cities such as Dublin and Waterford, uses the EURO; Northern
Ireland, which includes the city of Belfast, uses the English pound
Scotland is a part of the United
Kingdom but also has its own currency, the Scottish pound. Scottish
pounds have the same value as English pounds sterling. Scottish pounds
are issued by several Scottish banks. Both the English pound and the
Scottish pound can be used in Scotland; however, it has been reported
that some problems have been encountered outside of Scotland in using
Scottish pounds elsewhere in the United Kingdom. Checks issued by
Scottish banks are difficult to exchange outside of Scotland.
Russia has its own
currency – the ruble; however, we have heard from several customers that
both EUROS and U.S. dollars can be exchanged for Russian currency in
Russian banks. We understand they will only accept currency with no
tears, writing, or extraneous marks on them.
SERBIA AND KOSOVO:
Both U.S. dollars and
EUROS can be exchanged in Serbia; in Kosovo, the EURO is used
principally but the U.S. dollar and Swiss francs are also used.
Western tourists in Cuba
use a currency called Convertible Pesos. U.S. dollars can be
exchanged for Convertible Pesos but the Cuban government charges a 10%
tax. Canada dollars and Euros can be exchanged for convertible pesos
without the tax; however, our understanding is that the Cuban government
is extremely picky about the currency they receive: there can be no
tears, major creases, writing or extraneous marks on the currency they
receive. Bills with tears, etc. will be rejected. We can calculate which
currency - Euro or Canadian dollar - will buy the most Cuban
convertibles - Contact Us
GREECE AND TURKEY:
Many visitors to
Greece also travel to its close neighbor - Turkey.
Be aware that Turkey has its own currency -
the Lira, although many vendors, including some international hotels,
require payment in Euros. In January, 2004, Turkey had a 1,000,000-to-1
devaluation of the Lira and issued banknotes called the “new” Lira; in
2007 the “new” Lira was replaced with a banknote of a different design
which omits the Turkish word for “new”, and this is the currency that is
currently in use. The 2004 “new” lira can be exchanged for the current
issue but only in person and at the Turkish Central Bank. The largest
Turkish Lira that is in current use is for 200 Liras. Therefore, careful
attention should be paid to any currency received within the country.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS:
the custom in many parts of Europe for
dining out to be a leisurely
experience. Therefore many establishments take advantage of this by
having one price level for, say, standing at a bar, with higher prices
for sitting at a table or perhaps for sitting outside on a Paris street
in April, etc. Those unfamiliar with this perfectly legal pricing
arrangement might find themselves quite surprised after doing a cursory
review of pricing when the final check arrives and the bill is much
higher than anticipated. We have heard stories from our customers who
did not check the prices or were given verbal “standing” prices and were
charged 30 Euros for a soft drink and a cup of coffee or 100 Euros for a
couple of sandwiches and beverages. Therefore, the only way to be
protected from this happening is to order only from a printed menu which
has prices posted.
Most American credit
cards add a conversion fee when their card is used overseas and the fee
is a percentage of the amount charged. The percentage of the fee depends
on the bank that issues the credit card. However, as pointed out in a
2006 Wall Street Journal article, some overseas merchants will
present their bills already converted into U.S. dollars and in doing so
may add 2% to 5% to the international conversion rate. Thus, the
traveler ends up paying two fees – one to the credit card company and
the other as a result of the immediate conversion to U.S. dollars.
Therefore, it is preferable for the traveler to be invoiced only in the
currency that is in use in the particular country.
Note: Georgian Financial
Services of Athens makes every effort to provide accurate information on
this page, but does not guarantee it. Particular care should be taken in
using this information beyond the last update.