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Eastern European currency

We are planning on traveling through Eastern Europe (Czech Rep, Hungary, Croatia, Austria, Poland). Since these countries use different currencies, we are concerned about what to do with the leftover monies from all these countries. Is there a good easy way to convert these to Euros, dollars, or will businesses honor currencies from neighboring countries?

Posted by
8984 posts

When you enter a new country simply head to an exchange counter, and convert the leftovers to the new local currency. You can find them at airports, large train stations, and touristy city centers.

Posted by
26 posts

Thanks.
Do they charge exorbitant fees for this service?

Posted by
807 posts

you can use credit card to pay for most items. just try to estimate your budget when getting cash. every time you exchange money it costs.

Posted by
1832 posts

You can use your left over money to pay part of your last hotel bill, or buy some food to take along, or a beer. We always bring a few coins and bills home for the grandkids. There is a woman here in town that collects foreign currency and we help her in her endeavor.

Posted by
13530 posts

I can only tell you how I handle it. But understand that while on vacation i don't w aste money but my enjoyment at times is worth a less than perfect bargain at the exchange house. First I charge everything i can. My card does not hit me with a foreign transaction fee. Most cards do and i think its generally about 3%. Even with a 3% fee I would still use the card because the exchange rate MC gives is very, very good. When I can't use my MC I use the cash I got from the ATM that morning. Okay, once again i have a bank that doesn't charge me a fee. Fees can be as high as $5 but again the exchange rate is good so I wouldn't care. If i want to save money i eat at excellent local restaurants as opposed to tourist fare and that one delicious act is worth more than anyone ever saved by shopping exchange houses. You are probably going to pay the hotel and major transportation costs with your card so we are talking about food and trinkets money here. So if you spent $300 a day and you had to pay all the fees you might be spending an additional $10 a day worst case for the ATM and Credit card convenience. AND doing it this way you are likely to have less Monopoly Money when you cross the border. I keep enough for safe passage that i generally keep and give away to friends who are vacationing the rest i donate to a charity before leaving the country. But yes you can change it in the next country But try not to have too much because changing money twice will really cost you.

Posted by
2876 posts

I think Monte's method is best - use the cash to pay your last hotel bill. On the other hand, I have a drawer full of leftover lira, francs, pesetas, marks, etc, from the old days, so it's not always that easy to totally empty your pockets. Currency exchanges are ripoffs, avoid them if you can.

Posted by
13530 posts

As one way or another you can always find a way out of trouble almost any place in the world with Dollars or Euros I still feel best with some local currency in my pocket until i cross the border or get on the next flight. No matter how you handle it the important thing is to have a memorable vacation so don't beat too hard on the exchange issue in the long run it matters less than your choice of entree at dinner. By the way, there is an interesting word for Americans in Europe. But that's another thread.

Posted by
389 posts

Five countries, five different currencies. Just like western Europe before 2002. Do try to minimize the amount of cash you take to the next country, but just hit up an exchange bureau when you arrive and don't worry too much about the fees. Just the cost of doing business. The bureaux should change the larger-value coins as well. Most businesses will not accept any foreign currency, and those that do will give you a terrible exchange rate.

Posted by
12881 posts

Hi, If you see a restaurant in Budapest that has a "welcome" sign in German and English, it's safe to bet that the staff will speak both and the place accepts Euro as payment as well since it wants to cater to all those German/Austrian tourists visiting Budapest as a day trip r/t or otherwise.

Posted by
13530 posts

Fred, you are absolutely correct. And if you restrict your dining to Andrassy ut, District V and the Castle District you will have a hard time finding a restaurant where you cant communicate in English and probably use your euros. But you will be paying more for dinner vs the cost in less touristy areas than you would ever lose in an exchange house or on a credit card foreign transaction fee. The areas I mentioned have some outrageously good restaurants and we go to a lot of them when in town; but we also spend time in the places where they have to go and find the one person who sort of talks English to help you. And you know those experiences are priceless and the food can be so wonderful. Please don't reduce your experience in Budapest by worrying too much about where you can spend your euros or where they speak English. These are some of the nicest most wonderful people I have ever met and by and large they will treat you with hospitality despite the language barrier.

Posted by
26 posts

Thanks all for the helpful advice!

Posted by
129 posts

Thanks for posting this! I am going to those same countries minus Croatia plus Romania and Bulgaria (and a few others) and it just dawned on me about the different currencies. Thanks for everyone's responses. I love this site!! What I will do is just budget for each country and try not to take out any more than needed. Also if you have an smart phone, download the XE app. It keeps you on top of the current exchange rates so you can see how much you're being ripped off at the exchange bureaus. LOL. Are there better exchange bureau's than others? Thomas Cook? etc

Posted by
13530 posts

Double check and make sure you are not going to have any trouble with your ATM card in Bulgaria and Romania. Call your bank. I didnt have any trouble but that was a few years ago. I understand that there are some restrictions now. If thats the case then bring Euros or Dollars and change them as you need them. Bulgaria was so inexpenisve we didnt spend much at all. Same in Romania. Credit cards work fine at most hotels but I always write them in advance and confirm especially if you arent in the city. For food i would just count on cash most of the time. But again this is pretty inexpensive fare.