With the new euro currency, travel to Europe has never been easier. Earlier this year, 12 European Union countries introduced the euro. The participating European countries are:
Austria • Belgium • Finland • France • Germany • Greece • Italy • Luxembourg • Netherlands • Portugal • Spain
No longer do you have to count how many hundreds of thousands of lire (Italy’s former currency) equates to one U.S. dollar. No need to carry around separate currency conversion cards for each European country you plan to visit. As long as you stay within the 12 countries mentioned above, worry-free shopping is on the way. You’ll save money and time not having to calculate currency or worrying about exchange rates for each country.
The biggest advantages of the euro for the American traveler are:
1. Save money from transaction fees
As you travel through Europe, you’ll come across many “Change Money” shops. Many of these shops charge premiums for exchanging your currency. Once the euro is spread across the entire European Union, there will be no need to change money as you visit different countries. And the less you have to change money, the less you’ll have to pay fees.
2. Worry-free shopping
Many times tourists have trouble calculating exchange rates and prices, and unknowingly get short changed in areas with less-than-honest merchants. Now there’s no need to carry a calculator or rack your brain calculating prices. There’s only one exchange rate to remember.
3. Comparison-shopping is a breeze
In the past, most tourists found it difficult to accurately compare prices of goods and services across the European union because of differing exchange rates. The euro makes it easier to comparison shop as you travel from country to country.
4. Easier to get money
You can use your credit card and charge in euros, or use your ATM card at bank machines to withdraw euros.
These are great benefits. On the other hand, if the euro is strong against the U.S. dollar, then it’s strong in all 12 countries, no matter where you travel. In the past, you might have been given a break in certain countries where the currency was weak, but that’s no longer the case. Smart travelers plan ahead and purchase their euros at optimal times.
Some European countries have yet to convert to the euro. These are: Britain, Denmark, Greece, and Sweden. Britain, Denmark, and Sweden may decide to join later. Greece did not meet the economic requirements.
So if you’re traveling to a euro-accepting country, plan ahead, watch exchange rates and when they’re at their lowest – buy, buy, buy!