Europe blog and travel tips

The best ways of taking spending money to Europe

June 8, 2011 (Last Updated: May 25, 2020)
by Carolyn
spending money

There are a number of different options to consider regarding how you will take your spending money to Europe. Will you take travellers cheques, a pre-paid card or use your credit card? 

These days with the options available, travellers cheques are not as widely used.  Many travellers find it easier to use their ATM card at the thousands of ATMs abroad.

I recommend you check with your bank that your card is compatible for use overseas – generally if your card bears the Cirrus or Maestro symbol it is OK – but please check to be certain.  Fees do apply each time you make a withdrawal, so again, check with your bank.

I’ve written about the advantages of pre-paid money cards previously and generally prefer to use one of these myself when travelling as I find the fees are overall less than withdrawing money with my ATM card.

A combination of ATM card, credit card and pre-paid ‘cash passport’ cards is probably best, as it gives you some form of back up if one of your cards is lost or stolen. 

Remember to record the numbers of your cards (and leave a copy at home with a friend or relative) in case of loss or theft.  You will then have the correct details to give to the Police.

Euro notes Image © vipman4 / Dollar Photo Club

Security should be of your highest concern when travelling.  NEVER carry your money, credit cards, passport or valuables in a shoulder bag or backpack that can easily be grabbed by a pick pocket.  Thieves are experts are quickly cutting the straps without you even realising. 

I suggest you always carry your valuables in a cross-body bag (with the bag at the front of your body) or a money belt that is worn under your clothing – out of sight, out of mind!

Remember:  Your European holiday may well be a once in a lifetime trip, and sometimes it’s worth ‘blowing the budget’ once in a while if there is something you really want to do. 

There’s nothing worse than returning home and lamenting that you should have spent that extra 50 Euros and taken that cable car ride in Switzerland, or a gondola ride in Venice, if it’s something you’ve always wanted to do. 

And hey, coffee and croissants at a cafe along the Champs Elysees might be ridiculously expensive, but you’re not going to eat there every day!  Try and allow a little ‘excess’ in your budget for that ‘must do’ extravagance.

The information provided above is of a general nature and is to be used as a guide only.