I keep hearing that our credit cards are difficult to use in Europe and want to know how best to carry funds or obtain access to them when traveling these days. I need to pay substantial amounts for a family group renting places and just getting around.I'm not sure how to do this. HELP please.
It is not at all difficult to use our credit cards in Europe. The only problem may be that some smaller B and Bs, hotels and hostels don't accept credit cards of any kind, but that's very easy for you to check.
We do recommend using credit cards where they're accepted and using debit cards to take cash (in local currency) from ATMs as you go. This usually gives you the best exchange rate. You may ask your bank to raise your daily cash withdrawal limit for the debit card. You may also have to hit the ATM several days in a row when a big cash-only hotel bill is coming up. See more tips at http://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/money.
The main thing to be aware of when using credit cards (debit cards don't apply) is not to use it in an ATM, it will be a cash advance and subject to interest being charged. And be sure to notify your financial institutions for the cards you'll be using of the countries you'll be traveling to so they can note of it and not freeze the card when they see transactions on it.