When you travel to most European Union countries, you will spend currency in the form of Euros. There are many ways to obtain Euros, but it helps to be armed with some information on the best ways to do so.
Buy a small number of Euros before you leave for the trip. You can buy Euros at many banks, but not all keep a supply on hand, so you may need to order them. Allow plenty of time for the bank to fill your order. Call around to the banks in your area to find the lowest fees. Most banks usually charge a 2 to 3 oercent fee, but some may charge as much as 12 percent. Some may offer a lower rate or no fee at all if you have an account at the bank.
Buy only as many Euros ahead of your trip as you expect to spend on your first day because the exchange rates are generally better in Europe than they are in the United States.
Check with your auto club for quotes on the fees they charge for converting dollars into Euros.
Avoid buying currency at your arrival airport because the rates are almost always higher there than you will find in the city.
Shop around for an ATM card before you leave. Some banks charge hefty fees on foreign transactions; others charge nothing. Use ATMs in Europe to buy Euros, as money exchangers generally charge high fees when converting dollars into Euros.
Consider drawing your daily limit from an ATM all at once, rather than making several stops during the day, as you are usually charged a flat fee for each transaction.
Buy Euros in lower denominations. Five, 10, 20, and 50 Euros are easy to deal with. For larger purchases, 100 Euro notes are fine, but merchants may have a difficult time making change for small purchases. Try to avoid 500 Euro notes as people are suspicious of them.
Know exactly what you are buying by making yourself familiar with what different Euro notes look like. A good site with full color illustrations of Euros can be found at Asia Travel Tips.