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jsmith Mar 15th, 2004 01:40 PM

Money for the Eastern Adriatic Coast
I've been contemplating flying to Switzerland, renting a car and driving to Greece for the Olympics?

Since I will be beginning in a non-Euro country and, after Italy, traveling thru non-Euro countries should I get currency for all the countries before I leave the US or TC denominated in the respective currencies?

Lesli Mar 15th, 2004 01:50 PM

I would say neither. Get the equivilant of about $50-100 of the currency of the first country you hit (Switzerland, in this case) before you leave, if it makes you feel more comfortable.

Use ATMs to get local currency after you arrive in each country. Use credit cards for big-ticket items.

I don't carry TCs at all anymore, but you could bring about $200 worth (in US or Euros) as a back-up. Or you could just bring about the same amount in US cash, which is what I do.

rkkwan Mar 15th, 2004 02:30 PM

ATMs may be hard to find in the Balkan states. And it's expensive if not impossible to buy traveller's cheques anything other than USD, Euro or Sterling Pounds. In my opinion, you should just carry enough Euros for your trip through the Balkan states, exchange into local currencies as need require. That should be the easiest way.

JudyC Mar 15th, 2004 02:45 PM

ATM are quite commom in cities and small tourist sites in the Balkan. Last August, travelling from Slovenia down to Montenegro,I obtained local currency from ATM solely. Besides I carried some Euro for emergency.

jsmith Mar 16th, 2004 03:40 PM

Excellent suggestions, thank you.

One further question, I have a six digit pin number of all zeros (two are silent). Will I need to change it?

ira Mar 17th, 2004 04:57 AM

Hi js,

A PIN number of all zeros is dangerous, as it is verrrrrrrry easy to find.

Change your PIN to a 4-digit random number.

Wayne Mar 17th, 2004 06:13 AM

There was a suggestion earlier that you take euros and change them into local currency in the non-euro countries. That is really not the best way because it involves a double conversion with the attendant conversion costs (from dollars to euros and then to local currency). It makes more sense to me to simply take dollars and change them to the local currency, saving one conversion fee.

jsmith Mar 17th, 2004 01:44 PM

I can understand letting me get away with the original post but, ira, "6 digit pin of all zeroes (two are silent)".

jelzie Mar 17th, 2004 01:56 PM


I am a travel agent and I always tell my clients to pay for as much as possible by major credit card, i.e. Visa, Mastercard. This way, the credit card companies give you the best possible exchange rates on the day of your purchase. But, I also tell them to use the ATMs to get a bit of pocket money to buy lunch, a newspaper - any small purchases. I usually use the ones at banks, personally, but any location near a tourism bureau, bank, etc. will be fine. The exchange rate and/or loss is minimal for small amounts of money, so don't worry about it too much and decide you'll end up about even in the end.

Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions!

Best Regards,

rkkwan Mar 17th, 2004 02:26 PM

The reason I suggested the OP bring some Euros is that they will be travelling through Euro countries before the Balkans, and then will be in Greece for the Olympics. Any leftover Euros can easily be spent during the stay in Greece. Therefore, there should be basically zero cost with that strategy.

I believe in the emergency situation where there can't find an ATM, and can't find a bank to exchange dollars, etc... Euro cash will be the easiest way to pay for necessary service and goods.

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