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Currency

I know Poland is on the Zloty (PLN), but we're on a coach tour and wondered if they take Euros at a small kiosk? I assume restaurants etc. will take a credit card?

Thank you,
Jean

Posted by
6174 posts

No, unfortunately, you should hit the ATM and get zloty. When you're in any country (in the world), use their local currency (that applies to Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic - they are no different). You'll get a lousy exchange rate and may not even get your proper change back if you use the Euro. Of course there are many restaurants that will take credit cards but the only way you will know is if you see confirmation right outside the door. Smaller mom and pop places may be cash only, so definitely don't assume that they all take credit cards.

There will be folks that tell you they used Euros in some places and that may certainly be true. That still doesn't make good financial sense because you'll take a hit in the exchange rate. There are ATMs everywhere in cities these days, there are no barriers to getting local currency except whatever your bank charges you for using a non-bank ATM (I get charged 1% for any withdrawal from my credit union and no other fee).

Posted by
6047 posts

If you're on a coach tour have you asked the tour company what they recommend? I would start there. Chances are a coach tour will take you to heavily touristed places in these countries which may very well take € for purchases, but don't count on it and don't get peaved if they don't. As to credit cards, some places will take them, some will not. Be sure you have a debit card/bank card/ATM card with you, most tourist areas will have ATMs conveniently located so you can take out some of the local currency. Good tour guides will direct you to ATMs and will advise you when you enter a country approximately how much local money you might need.

Posted by
410 posts

As I haven't booked my tour yet, I thought I'd ask online; I do plan to take a small amount of each Countries currency I visit but just wondered if the tourist stalls take Euros...
Thanks for answering so quickly.
Jean

Posted by
11154 posts

Three general principles of using a non-local currency (similar whether it's US dollars in Canada, euros in Poland, or something else):

1) There is no obligation to accept the non-local currency; it's done as a courtesy only. So, even if you can use euros in "many" or "most" situations in a non-euro country, you can never count on it. In Krakow and Warsaw, I don't remember any stores or restaurants having signs showing that they would accept euros, but maybe some will. In Prague, I did see signs saying they would - in some places.

2) The store/restaurant is free to set whatever exchange rate they choose, which may be close to the rate you'd get by using your ATM card at a local ATM, or may be extremely poorer (i.e., you may be paying a small markup or a big markup for the convenience of not getting local currency).

3) You will get change in local currency (I've seen some near-tantrums over this).

As for restaurants taking a credit card, it's similar to the US. Many will, but some will not; you have to check each one before assuming.

So, if you're only buying a few items and eating in a few restaurants, you may be able to get away with credit cards and cash euros only. Otherwise, you'll want at least a small amount of local cash for each country.

Posted by
2092 posts

I also answered in the Hungary forum, and my answer is the same for Poland--get some zloty, either at home or when in Poland. Harold explains the situation perfectly. I like to be prepared as I travel solo and don't ever assume credit cards will be accepted, nor do I think using euros in a non-euro country is a good idea.

Purchases for food and other small stuff are one thing, but if you'll be shopping for souvenirs, etc. I suggest printing the wallet-size currency conversion chart from www.coinmill.com for each country. This has saved me from numerous surprises when using my credit card to buy, oh, let's say, clothing or expensive souvenirs--a $50 top is one thing, but one that's $125 would certainly give me pause.

When travelling with more than one type of currency I keep them separate in my belt-loop pouch in those little ziplock snack-size bags until I hit the country where it's needed.

Posted by
106 posts

You will definitely need zloty. As others have recommended, I would suggest getting it prior to leaving (do not get it at the exchange counter in the airport), or use an ATM when you get there. You will see currency exchange places in Poland, but unless you are exchanging a large sum of money, the exchange rate is really bad. ATM's are plentiful. Just be sure to notify your bank of your travel plans before you leave, so they don't shut down you debit card due to suspicious activity.

Posted by
199 posts

We were on a tour this past June and had no trouble getting zlotys from bank ATMs. This was less expensive than bringing them from our US bank.

Posted by
12103 posts

Hi,

I'll mention a comparable experience, not in Poland but in Brno. I didn't have ample Czech money on me, thought the Czech coin was valid...wrong! When I got to museum in Slavkov (north of Brno), I found out the Czech coin was unacceptable...oh, well. I told them I would pay in Euro, keep the change, I wasn't interested in getting the change back, only to effect the transaction. The clerks/staff knew the exchange rate between Euro and the Czech krone. The museum entrance fee was 3 plus Euro. In Prague this time I saw kiosks with prices quoted in krone and Euro for the drinks (water, coke, etc).

Posted by
4637 posts

In Poland, Hungary, C.R. it's better to pay in local currency. Even if they accept Euro exchange course is to their advantage, not yours. By the way Slavkov is east of Brno.

Posted by
12103 posts

Thanks...sorry, I'll check the map next time.

Posted by
30961 posts

Jean,

I've found that it's necessary to have Zloty as many smaller places such as Kiosks only accept local cash. Larger restaurants that cater to tourists will likely take credit cards, but smaller places may not. One benefit of travel in Poland is that it's relatively cheap compared to other European countries (at least that's my experience).

You might ask the tour company about currency when you book the tour.