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Best of Eastern Europe currency and "currency"

Hi -- I'm interested in hearing from alums of the Best of Eastern Europe tour about how you handled the need for so many different currencies when spending such a short amount of time in each country?

Also, what currency adaptors did you need? Did you need different types for various countries on the tour?

Any travel aids, gadgets, etc. that were especially helpful on this tour (yes, I'm thinking about tour planning holiday gifts!)

Posted by
8889 posts

1) Keep the currencies separate. Have a separate purse or wallet (or small plastic bag) for each currency. There is nothing worse than trying to identify coins and notes when you want to pay, or more embarrassing occidentally trying to pay with the wrong currency.
2) Try to run down the amount of money, especially coins, before crossing a border.
3) At land borders, you may find a small exchange booth beside the road. These will exchange the two currencies at a (relatively) good rate, and may even take larger coins.
4) Have a rough idea of the value of each currency. For example, If 17.34 Whatsits = 1 of your home currency, remember that as "20". You should be able to divide by 20 in your head, that is close enough.

I am not sure what you mean by "currency adaptors".

Posted by
4104 posts

Chris F, electricity adapters - for different plugs, current, etc.

Posted by
2525 posts

Hi Ruth. We took that tour a few years ago and it was great. As for managing currencies, a no foreign transaction fee and no other fee ATM card is very worthwhile. It allows you to withdraw small amounts of currency as needed rather than worrying about transaction costs and the related problem of too much leftover currency as you enter a new country. Withdraw only what you realistically need in each country and spend down when exiting, especially coins. If you still have too much currency, then I would exchange it into euro and spend it in Slovenia, your last country. Visit the Oanda website and under "Travel Exchange Rates" find and print cheat sheets for each currency so you have some idea of the values involved.

Posted by
170 posts

This was our first RS tour. Took this tour in 2013. You will love it. I had the same thoughts about currencies as you. I made a small cheat sheet as mentioned in another post. But really never used it. Our guide, Katka suggested how much we may need (we used less than she suggested) where to use ATMs, and when we were leaving each country she would remind us to use up currency. She was so organized and helpful with this. My husband would carry currency so that way we always knew how much we had left. We never withdrew to much money because of her help.

Posted by
8889 posts

Ruth, please note that plug adapters just allow your plug to fit into a differently shaped socket. They DO NOT adapt the electricity (voltage or current), that stays the same, 230V 50 Hz AC in all European countries. US electricity is 110V 60 Hz AC
Before plugging anything in check it will accept 230V 50 Hz AC.
Most modern portable chargers (phone, tablet etc.) are labelled "110-240V 50/60Hz AC" and will be OK. If it is not so labelled, plugging it into 240V AC will fry it (smoke etc.).

Posted by
5547 posts

I use the sandwich size "slide-lock" plastic bag as my FX wallets to keep the different currencies segregated.

One two country trip started in the Czech Republic (CZK) and ended in Norway (NOK). I departed Prague by air for Norway and attempted to convert unused CZK to NOK at the PRG foreign exchange kiosk. The FX kiosk would only convert CZK to EUR or USD, not directly to NOK. (I converted the CZK back to USD and waited to Oslo to withdraw NOK form the local AMT).

Lesson learned is don't draw an excess of FX and try to spend it down before departing by mixing credit card charges for the bigger purchases and cash for the small things. And don't worry about not finding a working ATM for local cash.

Posted by
1508 posts

I took this tour in 2012. Our guide, Peter Polczman, handed out a detailed itinerary on the first day of the trip, including suggestions about amount of currency needed and reminding us along the way to either get (or spend). It does depend on how much eating out/shopping you plan to do. Some of us pooled coins when we were on our way out of a country to buy snacks/treats at rest stops. I also gave my guide the remainder of my coins at the end of my tour, since he would have need for them again. I printed out an OANDA cheat sheet (https://www.oanda.com/currency/converter/) for each currency and kept the sheets with the money separate in small plastic ziplocks (kept in my money belt). At that time, I got some currency ahead, but I would just do ATMs these days. For reference, you'll be dealing with five currencies: Czech koruna (CZK), Polish zloty (PLN), Euro (Slovenia, Slovakia), Hungarian forint (HUF), Croatian kuna (HRK).

You only need the usual euro adapter plug (like this one).

No specific suggestions for this trip in terms of gadgets, etc. But I will recommend bringing home as much Hungarian paprika as you can carry (it's very inexpensive at the supermarket) and also add at least one day in Prague ahead of the tour. I had a really fun time in Krakow doing a Crazy Guides trabant tour (on my own time)

Posted by
548 posts

We took this trip this past fall. As we were beginning and ending in Vienna on our own, I took some Euros with me as well as some Czech money (we were in Prague about 2 days prior to the start of the tour). As for the other countries, we visited an ATM once we were settled and just took out small amounts. We used no-transaction-fee credit cards as much as possible, but would use cash more if we knew we were going to have some left over. Also, check with your guide before your travel days to know if you will have a final stop in that country where you might need cash (for the restroom or treats or whatever). The only time we had money to exchange after leaving a country was Croatia; we exchanged it in Vienna and probably got enough euro to buy a coffee. It is a great tour, even in the rain and cold.

Posted by
5379 posts

And if you end up with excess coins/small bills -- kids find them interesting.

Posted by
460 posts

Thank you! Your responses were very helpful!