Countries in the European Union using the Euro include:
Other European countries using their own unique currency include:
Switzerland and most of the Scandinavian countries.
EXCHANGING DOLLARS to EUROS
You will need "euros" to take care of things like taxi's / tips / food purchased ashore / souvenirs / etc. We recommend that you exchange perhaps $100 into euros at a currency exchange booth at the airport when you depart the US. Although you'll find that the exchange or conversion rate charged at any exchange facility in the US will be anywhere from 5-10%, which is high, at least you'll have some local currency when you arrive.
Then, after arriving, stop at the first ATM you come across for additional euros. When you withdraw money from a European ATM (usually referred to as a "Bankomat") you'll typically pay a service fee of 1-2% of the transaction and a one time "currency conversion fee" of $3-5. You will not be charged a fee by the European Bank to use their ATM, only your bank's fee. You should check with your bank on fees they may charge for each withdrawal. TIP: Withdraw the largest amount you are comfortable with considering that each time you use a "bankomat", you will be paying your bank that extra $3-5 conversion fee, regardless of the amount of money withdrawn! ATM's in Europe are found everywhere. They work the same in Europe as they do at home with several exceptions. The first, or sometimes the second screen, will ask what language. You can only withdraw from your primary account; usually this is your checking account. You cannot transfer funds between accounts. The keypad does not have letters, only numbers. They only accept 4 digit PINS (if your PIN has more digits, change it now). When it asks how much you want to withdraw it usually gives six choices, five set amounts and "other".
Exchanging dollars at a European Bank will involve a fee (buried in the exchange rate). Service fees for exchanging dollars for euros at a local "Money Exchange Kiosk" will be in excess of 6%. Exchanging traveler's checks will also involve an additional fee. Banks are not very convenient place to exchange money; opening hours are short, lines can be long, and paper work takes time. You can exchange dollars for euros aboard the ship, but their exchange rate will be considerably higher then the ATM.
Use your credit card for any major purchases. Credit cards can get you an exchange rate within 1-2% of the international rate, but be aware that most banks add a "conversion" fee of 1 or 2%. VISA and MasterCard charge a 1% conversion fee, which is reasonable.
Credit cards have some advantages over cash. They provide a receipt and some recourse if there is a dispute. If lost they can be cancelled and anything charged by someone else can be disputed. They are safer than carrying large amounts of cash.
Notify your credit card/debit-ATM company that you will be in Europe and the dates (the phone number is on the back of the card). If you don't notify them they may flag your overseas purchases as suspicious activity and freeze your account.
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