Hi all! I am taking a trip with my mother in August to London, Norway, and Sweden and wondered if I should obtain currency before we leave for our trip? Is it just easier to utilize our debit or credits cards and withdraw from the ATM's there or should I have around $100-200 cash on hand for emergencies? I have never traveled to Norway or Sweden before so wasn't sure what was recommended. Thanks for any advice!
Seattle, many people have questions like this. On the webpage you are looking at right now, look to the left and there is a tab that says "Travel Tips". Click on that and then the Link that says "Money". It will be very helpful to you. Bottom line is that the best deal on getting cash is to use your DEBIT card over there to get cash. Do not use your credit card to get cash from a bankomat (ATM) or you will likely get charged a lot for your transaction. Many people, including me, like to have some local currency in hand before you arrive, enough to survive a day or so. Rick advocates taking some US dollars as a deep emergency fund, but not everyone agrees.
As Stan noted, your question is a FAQ and RIck Steves' tips answer your questions:
Your itinerary is a three currency one: Pounds GBP, Norwegian Krone NOK and Swedish Krona SEK.
Having FX in hand is a comfort for some that is a added cost generally not needed. My insurance policy is carrying several hundred $USD in the event that I needed to use a currency exchange service but never had to use that insurance in Europe. I do cheat in term's of traveling with leftover Pounds or Krone from past trips for repeat visits.
You do best to find a bank ATM in the airport upon your landing. Note that not all ATM's are bank ATM's, and some discount the currency substantially.
You could get some money from your local National Bank, however they're going to charge you a ridiculous amount for foreign currency.
Just wait until you hit the country being visited. I use my credit cards every chance I get when traveling--before using an ATM. Most hotels, many restaurants and most public transportation station offices take credit cards.