My husband and I will stay in Budapest 5 days after completion of a river cruise. Our hotel is prepaid. I expect our only expenses will be meals. We do not buy souvenirs. (1) How much money should we plan for meals at moderate cost restaurants? (2) Do most places accept Visa? Or, should be take Hungarian currancy? Friends who were there last spring said they used credit cards everywhere.
We recommend getting some Hungarian currency from an ATM while you're there. Since dining and sightseeing can be relatively affordable and some places will take credit cards, don't take out too much cash at one time. You can always visit the ATM again when you run out; they are everywhere. Here are some typical, random prices listed in Rick Steves' Budapest book:
visit a public swim bath about 4,500 ft/person
book of 10 metro tickets 3,000 ft
main course at the "Wine Lab" restaurant 2,500 ft.
Do you have a guide book for Budapest yet? If so, great. If not I would recommend getting a copy of RS Budapest Guide Book that is on sale elsewhere on this web site. We found if very helpful when we visited Budapest. We go to Europe every summer for a month for 12 of the last 13 years and have seldom used a credit card for anything except for major purchases (may 3) like a rug from Turkey.
We always use a debit card tied to a checking account at a local credit union where our total costs are 1% to get local currency for what ever country we are in from ATM machines that are all over the place these days. Just be sure to notify whomever issues you whatever "plastic" you decide to take of your schedule so that they do not shut down your access for that card.
Regarding Laura's post, for reference right now 1 USD = 247 HUF.
I used my credit card in alot of places.
however, i didnt find any public rest room that took a credit card, only coins.
Here is the menu of a sort of moderate cost "Hungarian" restaurant with good solid food. http://lugas-etterem.com/etlap/ You can pay a little more and you can pay a little less depending on where you go. I pay when ever possible with a Credit card because I get such good exchange rates on my card, but if asked the answer is you do not want the restaurant or store or what ever to make the exchange; you want your bank to do it. Still, carry an ATM card for drawing spending cash. The costs on the menu in the link are first in Forints and then in Euro. Not real common but sometimes you see it. Again, you want to pay in Forints. The internet will show you a better rate but in reality you will get about 235 forints to the dollar.
some other places you might want to check out