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How much to budget for our trip

We will be traveling to Athens late September for a cruise. We will stay in Athens 2 full days, the cruise is 9 days to many of the Greek islands. Our cruise will end in Barcelona 3 full days then to Madrid 4 full days. I read that many places rather take credit cards, approximately how much cash do you suggest we take? We have not travelled to Greece before, it’s my husband and I, we are in our late 50’s not big spenders but we enjoy drinks and food. I haven’t been to Spain either.
Thanks for your input.

Posted by
1397 posts

Greece was notorious for years only willing to take cash. That has changed you can use your credit card everywhere. Any business that says they don't take credit cards is up to no good.
On the other hand it's a good idea to have a couple hundred euros in cash for small purchases. We only use ATMs at a location that is represented by one of the Greek banks. There are fees.

Posted by
375 posts

^ So many German and Austrian businesses are shady than.

I hate using cash and will only use if forced to, I had 250 Euros for each of my month long trips.

Posted by
27408 posts

Don't worry about guessing how much you'll need; you can use your ATM card to get additional euros from bank machines in Greece and Spain. Yes, there might be fees if you don't want to take the time to try multiple machines, but since you're unlikely to need a lot of cash, the fees probably won't add up to much.

Important: Make sure the withdrawal is recorded in euros rather than dollars. (Do the same when you use a credit card to pay for something.) Any transaction recorded in dollars is going to cost you extra money, because the bank/hotel/restaurant/store is going to use a bad exchange rate. You don't want to see US dollars (or whatever is your home currency) displayed during any of your transactions.

If you end up with a bunch of excess euros at the end of the trip and want to convert them to dollars, that will cost you money, too, so don't overdo the ATM withdrawals. I haven't been to Greece at all recently, so I can't help you guess about an initial withdrawal. For a land-based trip of 18 days in Spain, I wouldn't be surprised if the two of you spent less than 200 euros; it might be less than 100 euros or even less than 50 euros. I suppose you could run into quite a few taxi drivers who don't take credit cards--or who pretend their card terminals aren't working. Do you anticipate using taxis a lot? That's something I do less than once a month when I'm traveling.

Posted by
75 posts

We found that even with small purchases for small shops they readily accepted credit cards. And the tollboths also took credit cards. In two weeks, we only needed cash about three times. One of the monasteries at Meteora took only cash (3 Euros per person). At one of the archeological sites, their credit card machine stopped working and so I needed to use cash. And also, one of the little "hotels" we used wanted cash--I think we could have used a card there if we'd pressed it but I had realized at that point that I had too much cash and so that as a good way to get rid of some of it.