Please sign in to post.

Cash to take with me

How much cash can i take into europe without raising eyebrows? Im traveling on the cheap!!

Posted by
2788 posts

Why would you want to take any cash to Europe if you are traveling on the cheap. Get a Debit Card and use it at ATMs to withdraw money from a Checking Account for the cheapest rates available. If you really must take the max amount of $ to Europe without raising eyebrows, why not ask TSA or the Treasury Department that question. You should be able to figure out a way to ask anonymously.

Posted by
31516 posts

joe, I'd suggest taking about €100 or so to provide travel funds (ie: meals, taxi fare, etc.) and then use ATM's to obtain cash as needed. It's not a good idea to pack huge amounts of cash. I've found that it's a good idea to take two ATM cards, preferably on different accounts. If there are any problems with your primary card (which has happened to me), it's wise to have a backup. Note that your travel funds must usually be in a chequing account with a four-number PIN. Be sure to notify your financial institutions that you'll be travelling so they don't "freeze" your cards when they detect transactions in Europe. That also applies to credit cards. Happy travels!

Posted by
69 posts

I just came back from a trip and brought 250Euros with me. I used my debit a few times but my bank charges me. I don't keep all my money in one spot, some in my wallet the rest in a money belt.

Posted by
337 posts

Just to clarify: you can bring unlimited amounts of cash into the EU, but if you bring more than 10,000€ (or the equivalent in other currencies) you'll have to declare it to customs (anti-money laundering laws).

Posted by
760 posts

We have taken as much as 3000 Euros and never been asked. I would recommend at least 250 so you don't have to worry about finding an ATM right off the bat. Carry 50 in your wallet and the rest in a money belt. I also carry two wallets an empty one in my back pocket (the one pickpockets go for) and one that is a glorified money clip in my front pocket with the day money. The trick with ATM cards is to take two just in case there is a screw up on one. We went through that a few years ago with Bank of America. My wife made all the calls to alert them of European travel and larger than usual withdrawls and the first time she used it it was permanently rejected. Fortunately, my ATM card was not with Bank of America and we got cash for three weeks on it.

Posted by
4737 posts

If 800 numbers work, why do all my credit cards have a different number (302, 303, or 336 area code) for calling from outside the US? The 800 number goes through. It is just a toll call instead of a toll-free call. As Ed stated, you get a message saying that you will be paying for it. The difference is that you get to the IVR (e.g. press 1 for your balance, press 2 for ...) before you get to a real person, thus there is no possibility to reverse the charges on this number. I've used the 800 numbers before from overseas with no issue. Some cards don't give you an alternative. With the non-800 numbers, if you call collect the charges will be accepted.

Posted by
11613 posts

US banks will permit up to $10,000 per transaction for taking euro instead of dollars, but you'll probably have to order the euro (takes 2 days), pay a higher rate, plus the fedex charge for receiving the money. I've done it, and I'm over it. I'll trust my ATM/debit card and take a couple of hundred euro (left over from the last trip) in cash to get started.

Posted by
2876 posts

Irv makes a good point about screwups. A couple of years ago on the first night of a trip to France I received an email from BofA that my debit card had been blocked. The email gave me an 800 number to call. Turned out they had blocked it because of a foreign transaction (my initial ATM withdrawal at CDG) - despite the fact that I had informed them of my travel plans ahead of time, including dates & itinerary. They unblocked the card right away. I felt lucky that I was traveling with an IPad and was able to check my email. Otherwise I wouldn't have known about the block - until the next time I would have tried to use my card. My takeaway is to always know the 800 "trouble number" for your ATM card(s). If your card doesn't work, call your bank right away.

Posted by
2845 posts

Tom, do mean you could call the bank's 800 number from Europe? I thought 800 numbers don't work from there. Mi always make sure I have the non-800 number just in case. As for how much cash you can carry, maybe the amount you have to declare going IN to The EU is 10,000€, but the amount you must declare when taking it OUT of the US is $10,000. Your bank will report that you have withdrawn a large amount of cash, and if you do not declare it, you are in big trouble. But why bother with carrying that much cash? Use the ATMs as suggested here over and over.

Posted by
2876 posts

@Sasha - Yes, I had no trouble calling the 800 number from my hotel room in France, using dialing instructions attached to the phone. I don't remember if the hotel tacked on any extra charges for the call, but I don't think they did. But knowing the non-800 number is no doubt a good idea.

Posted by
3580 posts

My CapOne card has an 804 # on the back for calling the bank collect from outside the USA. I have never had to use this feature, but most of the credit cards have such a collect number to use when abroad. It may work best during normal working hours in the US.

Posted by
9110 posts

The 800 number will obviously work. What happens is you get a recording asking if you want to proceed at the normal call rate rather than it being a freebie. Pretty much chump change when it only takes a couple minutes to unscrew a card. All of the numbers are serviced around the clock.

Posted by
2845 posts

If 800 numbers work, why do all my credit cards have a different number (302, 303, or 336 area code) for calling from outside the US?

Posted by
9110 posts

Because the other numbers are collect calls, but are automatically answered anyway so you don't notice it.

Posted by
2876 posts

For what it's worth, I looked at the back of my BofA debit card, and it has only a single 800 number. No separate number for international calls. Obviously everyone should use the numbers from his or her own card.

Posted by
11973 posts

I don't carry any. I stop at an ATM in the airport for cash to get me going. I never pay exchange rates unless I have to. When I do pay an exchange rate, I want it to be the best rate possible. The only place you're going to get that is through an ATM - any other exchange you will overpay for. I have yet to find an airport that didn't have a multitude of (working) ATMs. I do carry a couple hundred in US currency (for an emergency). At the end of my trip I pace my use of cash to end with as close to zero euros as possible, so I don't have to pay to exchange it back to dollars.

Posted by
224 posts

I don't understand how bringing a bunch of cash is traveling on the cheap. Going to the bank here to obtain thousands of euro is much, much, much more expensive compared to getting cash from ATMs over there.
I'm going to Austria this January and bringing zero euro and dollars. Like the man said in the "The Graduate", I'm into plastic.

Posted by
323 posts

We have never had a problem finding an ATM machine in the airport. It is a real pain, not to mention a terrible exchange rate to carry euros to Europe and to exchange dollars in Europe borders on highway robbery.

Posted by
6950 posts

ATM's are everywhere in Europe, and they take a 4 digit number password. You'll always want to call your bank and give them the dates and countries you'll be visiting. They'll unlock your card to those places and dates. The exchange rate at the ATM's are far, far better than anywhere you speak to a person. You could also get a cash advance on your Visa/Mastercard or other charge cards, but they come with a big fat discount percentage; They are a bad deal. I usually take $100 cash, and keep it in a security pouch. I usually return with just about all of the cash. I do travel with a laptop and move money between accounts and pay bills from European hotel WIFI service.