Poland Trip 2017

Old Jul 30th, 2017, 05:58 PM
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Poland Trip 2017

My family and I will be going to Poland for a week. We have two questions: Do you tip wait staff, house keeping, and tour guides? Should we change our money before leaving the US?
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 06:04 PM
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I used my ATM card to get Zloty in Poland - the cheapest way for most people to get the best exchange rate. Learn what your credit union or bank charges per ATM withdrawal if anything and what percentage they charge for a currency conversion fee. My credit union charges $0 per withdrawal and 0% conversion fee, but many banks are much more expensive than that.

I also used my credit cards in many places. Same thing: learn what the foreign transaction fee (percent) is on any card you use. And make sure you notify your credit union or bank before you travel so they don't block your cards due to suspicion of fraud.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 06:16 PM
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As Andrew notes, ATMs would be your best option for getting local currency. Be sure to know what your banks charge and whether to look for a particular network (e.g., Cirrus), and make sure to let your banks know IN ADVANCE that you will be traveling.

As for tipping:
- for meals, maybe 5 or 10 percent (no more) for the server if warranted. Basically, round up, and round up a BIT more -- up to 5 or 10 percent -- if the service was good (the normal scenario). Do NOT tip as one does in the U.S.
- No tips for housekeeping.
- No tips for tour guides.
Thanks for asking!
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 06:26 PM
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I forgot to mention: watch out for Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) - a scam that has taken hold in the last few years to try to milk an extra, unnecessary fee from travelers using credit cards and ATM cards in other countries. When you make an ATM withdrawal or use a credit card in Poland, ALWAYS pay or get currency in Zloty, the local currency of Poland! NEVER pay in US dollars! Reject requests to have the amount taken in US dollars; all that means is they'll charge you more. Figure out the approximate exchange rate ahead of time, and either do the math in your head or use your phone to calculate what something would cost in USD if you need to.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 06:37 PM
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BTW, if these issues aren't covered in the guidebook that you are using, then I would encourage you to get, or consult, one that does. In comparison to the cost of your trip, the cost of a guidebook will be nugatory, and you will have a wealth of information at your fingertips. For that matter, you can consult one at a local library or book store....
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 06:49 PM
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I tip tour guides in Poland, but I only round up when I tip at restaurants.

I get zlotys at ATM's. My bank (Wells Fargo) charges $5.00 per withdrawal, but since I'm paying thousands of dollars for my trip, I don't grudge that $5.00.

I agree that you should not accept dynamic currency conversion. You may be told that it's normal, but it's not.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 07:05 PM
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Use ATM, however, at Krakow airport, the only ATM I found were Euronet which I knew does BOTH DCC and charges additional independent ATM fees, so I stayed away from those airport ATMs. I asked my taxi driver to stop by at a road side bank ATM on the way to Krakow to get Zloty. Although the bank was closed, the indoor ATM area was accessible.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 07:13 PM
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greg has given some excellent advice (as he usually does ;-) )
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 10:25 PM
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thanks for asking!
It's totally upto you wheteher you want to tip the wait staff, house keeping or not. And yes I suggest, you should get the money exchange before leaving for U.S, though in U.S also you can easily do so.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 10:51 PM
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@ rajithajohnson -- I'm curious: do you have special experience with tipping norms in Poland?
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Old Jul 31st, 2017, 07:45 AM
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>

No. Use ATMs.

If the ATM asks if you want to convert your money, say no. Just withdraw the Polish wampum.

And get a decent bank account that doesn't charge you a ridiculous $5 fee per foreign withdrawal. That's just a waste considering how many banks and credit unions charge little to no fee at all.
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Old Jul 31st, 2017, 09:36 AM
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From my research before going to Krakow and Warsaw last year, Polish waitstaff are not paid particularly well and a 10% tip is not uncommon, nor is it obligatory; more if you think service was exceptional. It was suggested, however, to tip in cash (and, by the way, currency exchange places were everywhere and the exchange rates were very favorable and certainly better than my bank here in the U.S., but I would always have some local currency with me upon arrival).
I always tip housekeeping. I've yet to discover that place on earth where the folks who clean the toilet you use are paid handsomely. A little extra for those folks is not too much to ask and is also not uncommon in Poland.
Let the complaining begin.
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