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Money Matters

How Much Will it Cost?

In this section we will cover how much you will need, before you go and while you are traveling, the Euro, ATM's in Europe, how to carry your money and travelers cheques.

This first point is the most important - please take note:
It is better to go for less time and have money to enjoy yourself rather than go to Europe and just sit in the hostel as you can't afford to do anything. You will need at least $60 a day for living expenses.

Before You Go Expenses:

  • Plane ticket ($400-$900, depending on where you are and where you are going.)
  • Rail pass ($250 -$1700 US)
  • Travel Insurance ($1.25 per day)
  • Passport ($85 US for Americans, $85 CND for Canadians)
  • Any visas you may need (Canadians, you will need one for the Czech. Republic)
  • Backpack ($100 - $250 US Get a good one!)
  • Guidebook (about $23 US)
  • Camera (depends on what you get - I personally like Pentax)
  • Travel accessories (toiletry kit, first aid kit, travel locks, money belt etc.)

Expenses While Traveling

Budget a minimum of $60 - $75 per day. This might seem like a lot but it won't be when you get over there.

ATM's in Europe

Many people worry if they will be able to find ATM's while traveling - trust me, they are everywhere, this isn't a worry. If you are going to some small remote town and you are concerned, it's good to have money on you just in case.

Find out how much your bank charges for international transactions. You don't want to be paying hefty services charges. Change banks if you find one that is more reasonable. Don't worry too much about the small fees though, as the security of not having to carry around your money is well worth it.

Now, you need to have your money in a chequing, rather than a savings, account as in many places you will not be able to access a savings account at the ATM. When I asked why (yes, my money was in a savings account!), I was told savings are for savings. Fair enough.

You will need to make sure your pin is 4 numbers - this is standard for Europe. Do not rely on a "word" password, as most don't have letters printed about the numbers.

Leave a letter informing your bank that you are giving consent to <fill in name here> to do any transactions on your behalf while you are away. Then, if anything weird comes up (yes, like having your money in a savings account!), the person will be able to deal with it. Depending on where you live, you may have to go into the bank and sign it in front of a bank employee in order to make it official.

Travellers Cheques

These are going the way of the dinosaur with ATM's being so handy. That said, I still like to bring about $100 in travelers cheques just in case something happens and I can't access a bank machine. This has never happened but it's good to have a security blanket.

Carrying Around Money

This one is easy, you need a money belt. A money belt is worn under your clothes and should hold all your valuables, such as your rail pass, passport, plane tickets and extra cash. Leave a bit out in your wallet for your daily expenses - you shouldn't be going in and out of your money belt, you don't want people to know you are wearing it.

The Euro

On January 21, 2002, 12 countries started using the Euro. These are: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. Since then, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican have made the switch.

The rest of the countries generally will accept the Euro but it's really up to the individual businesses.

The Euro comes in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 bills,  1 and 2 euro coins, and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent coins.


 

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