Post # 1
Hi Bees, hoping you can help me out with this. DH and I are going on our honeymoon to Paris in September for a week. We will use our credit cards as much as possible and pay them off when we get back to Canada, but we obviously need to bring some actual Euros with us for places that don’t take credit cards – ie. markets and other street vendors, small shops, some restaurants.
How much would you recommend us to bring in actual cash?
Post # 3
My grandfather always brought cash with him when we traveled abroad…until he realized that the ATM fees were about equal to the cost of switching the money over. I don’t know about Canadian banks, though. I also know that some banks in North America have ATMs in Paris and London (for example, Bank of America). Do you have an account with a very large bank?
Post # 4
We went for 18 days and I think I brought the equivalent of about $700 Canadian. We had the same plan to use the credit card as much as possible and only use cash for cabs and markets or small purchases.
As far as your ATm card if you turn it over and it says cirrus youll b able to use it in european ATMs as well.
Post # 5
Take twice as much as whatever you plan, as most of Europe is on a “chip and pin” credit card system, rendering your low-tech American card useless at many smaller businesses. Their card readers read an RFID chip embedded in the card, which doesn’t exist on our cards. The American ATM cards are hit-or-miss too. I’d take €800 if I were thrifty, twice that if I were looking for a little luxury now and then.
Post # 6
@fishbone: Canadian cards are chip and pin. Only the USA is lagging behnd in that regard.
Post # 7
I’m Canadian and our credit cards have chips with PIN numbers as well so I am assuming that will work?
Post # 8
On the flip side, you can always exchange them back at your bank, so you’re better off having too many than not enough. Depending on the bank it may not cost to swap currencies. So I’d check in to that, also some credit cards will have a reduced or no fee for taking money from your account and Fedexing you the equivalent of another currency. Even if you end up paying to switch and switch back, the convience may be worth it.
Also, for security your best bet is to keep what you have on you (including credit cards) in a money clip in a tight pocket, or if you have a roomy front pants pocket that is best if possible. Most tourists LOOK like tourists and are easy marks. Nothing negative, but for the most part, most people travelling (who don’t normally) have “that look” that says “I’m not from around here”. lol
Post # 9
@GeekChic: Ours worked just fine. Canada tends to be one of the early adopters of payment technologies.
Post # 10
My bad– didn’t catch that you were Canadian! If you’ve got chip and pin, I’d take maybe €200, it’s easy to get more cash.
Post # 11
I would not bring more than 200 EUR split up between the 2 of you. In country ATMs give you a better exchange rate and lower fee than changing in advance. Most places you can change in advance, banks included use the rate when they bought the currency or an average rate. Since the EUR just fell to 1.22 to the USD yesterday, it seems to be advantageous to pull cash as needed. That being said once you run out of your 200 make one pull for the rest of your trip and you should have a better idea how much you are spending and where you need cash at that that point. Also check your CC, some charge a foreign transaction fee of 3% which can realy add up and may make you choose cash instead. I have used the ATM card from my local, US based credit union sucessfully in many European countries as well as Japan and only paid the exchange rate as 3 out of network ATM uses are allowed per month.
If you rather know how far the cash will go 200 will certainly be enough to get you from the airport to your hotel via public transport or taxi. I expect you will be able to use a card anywhere you go out to dinner or shopping in Paris with the exception of small cafes or street vendors. Bring about 20 EUR and head toward the Eifel Tower at night for the light show, sit on the lawn for a good view and use your cash to buy drinks from the random guys selling beer and wine out of their backpacks. sounds super setch but is the perfect way to spend a summer night in Paris 🙂
I know you are Canadian but my referencei s USD so that’s what I have included.
Post # 12
@GeekChic: I’m not sure if credit cards work differently in Canada, but I believe that cards here start charging interest immediately on a cash advance on a credit card, unlike regular purchases where you can pay the balance before interset is charged. If you have a debit card, I’d use that for cash withdrawals instaed of a credit card, or make sure to check with your credit card company first.
Post # 13
You can definitely use your debit or credit card to do ATM withdrawals in Europe. Check with your bank – I get a way better fee using my credit card (both with Visa and MC) than using my debit, with my credit card charging me a $2 ATM fee plus 2.5% foreign exchange, and my debit card charging me a $5 ATM fee plus 2.5% foreign exchange. The only issue with using your credit card to withdraw is as pinkshoes said – you get charged interest immediately on a cash advance. You can avoid this by loading money onto your credit card from your chequing account, though.
I only bring the minimum of cash with me, even when I’m travelling to a primary cash-use country. It’s *not* worth the stress of hiding your cash, sometimes having to declare it to customs if you bring over a certain amount, and worrying about it getting stolen from your bag. I might bring about $200 worth of USD/Euros when I travel, and then use my cards to take out a bulk amount for use during the trip.
Post # 14
I’d bring a few hundred dollars worth, and then your ATM card.
I have used debit and credit cards exclusively since about 2001 travelling, even to remote places in India, Thailand, Cuba, Argentina, Peru, and western Europe.
The exchange rates are usually better on your Debit card, and there is only a small fee (~$2) per transaction, like using another banks ATM. Scotia bank, HSBC definitely have banks in Paris as well.
Have fun! Paris is great.
Post # 15
Personally, I always travel with cash. I don’t know how things work in Canada, but over here we can exhange money with no commission, and our banks and CC companies levy a charge for using cards abroad, so it works out cheaper to bring cash. I have also had issues using my card in the past, so like to have enough cash should any problems arise.
That said, obviously it is personal. It’s difficult to advise how much to bring in cash; Paris is expensive, and it depends how you’re planning on spending your money eg how often you’re likely to visit markets, etc. As a guide, I’d be budgeting around 70-100 euros pp per day, and I’d probably personally bring around 20% of that in cash.