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Travel Budget, Money Matters, Financial Talk Mom, can I borrow ten grand?! Gimme yo mastercard! How the heck can I pay for my trip?! Ideas for making money. How much dough do I need?

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Old 04-24-2006, 11:07 AM   #1
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I am going to Europe for a month (Spain, Italy, Prague, Krakow, Paris) and I have already booked my flight, alot of my travel in btw cities, and then most of my hostels.

For hostels, shopping, food, train & bus fares...is it easy to use a credit card in Europe?
How much should I expect to need in cash?
I would rather use my credit card as much as possible...is that realistic?
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Old 04-29-2006, 02:19 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally posted by halcyonrx@Apr 24 2006, 12:07 PM
I am going to Europe for a month (Spain, Italy, Prague, Krakow, Paris) and I have already booked my flight, alot of my travel in btw cities, and then most of my hostels.*

For hostels, shopping, food, train & bus fares...is it easy to use a credit card in Europe?*
How much should I expect to need in cash?*
I would rather use my credit card as much as possible...is that realistic?
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I know that at most hostels you can use credit cards. It would be kind of odd if they didnt. Keep in mind that they might charge you a fee to use you card. Probably will. If the card isnt in your name (its your parents card, for example) then you should have a letter signed by the cardholder saying its alright to use their card. I had to call soooo many parents who were back home in the states and get them to fax our hostel those damn letters. Also, make sure to inform your credit card company of where you're going, and when. otherwise they could very well put a hold and you're left up shit creek.
Shopping and food buying is much like it is here. Most of the time, yes you can use a card. I like street markets myself, for those sorts of shopping you need cash. Trains and buses.. I dont know for sure. I know you can in the UK and Paris, mostly. I would assume yes for trains.
I'd say using the card is realistic. Be careful though. Its so easy to just travel on a credit card and not think about it. Then you come back and BAM you have to work for the next year solid to pay it off. And you still want to have some cash on you.
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Old 04-29-2006, 02:27 PM   #3
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An idea though if you do want to travel and pretty much use your credit card the entire time is to pay your card BEFORE you go.

I had a friend that was so scared of losing her money or getting mugged and not being "financially" protected, the way a credit card protects you. So she paid ten grand directly to her visa before her trip. That way, she didnt have any nasty big debts waiting for her when she got home.

Or of course, you can just put your fund money into a bank account that has online banking and you can pay your Credit card as you go on the internet.
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Old 04-29-2006, 07:04 PM   #4
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Make sure that you keep all your reciepts too, and NEVER let your card out of your sight. Common knowledge I know, but it's so easy for the clerk to add a little to the card and suddenly your bill is a lot larger then it should be.

I know for a fact buses are cash to buy the tickets, at least it was wherever I traveled to. I wouldn't bank on train stations letting you use your credit card either. I remember I had to search all over the bloody barcelona train station for an atm after my friend and I waited in the loooooong line then were told that we needed to pay cash. So we grabbed new tickets, ran through the massive place in search of the *one* atm they said they had. How could they only have one?!!!

edited to add: I wouldnt recommend traveling on a credit card either. I mean for some things, sure, but there are atms everywhere, cash is so much easier to maneuver around and you can seriously rack up some debt if you let things go out of hand, as some of our fellow TPunks can attest to *ahem*Jake*ahem*. Credit cards are better off for emergencies. Not to mention that if you can't pay off the amount right away the interest can be atrocious!
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Old 04-30-2006, 12:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by halcyonrx@Apr 24 2006, 10:07 AM
I am going to Europe for a month (Spain, Italy, Prague, Krakow, Paris) and I have already booked my flight, alot of my travel in btw cities, and then most of my hostels.*

For hostels, shopping, food, train & bus fares...is it easy to use a credit card in Europe?*
How much should I expect to need in cash?*
I would rather use my credit card as much as possible...is that realistic?
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You may want to have some on the ground money in Europe. Now, Spain Italy and Paris will be easier because its all Euro but bear in mind that Poland still has the Zloty(pronounced Zwoty) and the Czech republic has their own currency.
It is fairly easy to use your card in Europe although personally I might by some tickets in cash. I mean you might be on the metro or something. BTW how long are you in Paris? If its long you may want to consider a carte jeun. You can get around the city for free.
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Old 04-30-2006, 12:49 AM   #6
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I'd also be hesitant to use a credit card most of the time, unless as was suggested, you prepay a good chunk of your anticipated expenses. Even so, some countries have a poor record regarding credit card fraud rates, so it pays to be vigilant.

It's no longer necessary to carry your whole trip finances with you (in cash and travelers cheques) like it used to be - ATMs are widespread, with the exception of the train station in Barcelona, apparently! So it's possible to get about a week's worth of cash at a time, which is better for safety, and you still have a credit card to back you up.

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