How to travel with money safely in Barcelona
People should always research local money travel tips before traveling to a new country. Because while some international travel advice might work for some places, they don’t work at all for other. During our tours, we often find ourselves helping out our guests with money issues and wasting their precious touring time with paperwork rather than enjoying their sightseeing.
Don’t let it happen to you! Here are our top money travel tips to make your vacation smooth and worry-free.
Top Barcelona travel money advice:
Forget about your American Express. Most local business don’t take Amex because they charge them outrageous commissions. I do understand that your Amex probably give you lots of advantages, so if you are decided to travel with it always have a backup (Visa or Mastercard are your best choices), so you can use a different card if your Amex is refused.
Call your credit card before you leave the country. Some credit card companies have ridiculous safety policies and they might block your credit card after you’ve used it a couple of times in a foreign country. Calling before leaving the country is not always going to stop them from blocking your card (I’ve seen more than one traveler getting their card blocked anyway…), but at least it’s a start. Of course, do have a backup card and don’t use it until you are sure your main card won’t be blocked.
Get a PIN number. Yes: in Spain ALL cards have a PIN number, not just debit cards. And you won’t be able to use your card in, for instance, a subway station ticket machine, unless you have a PIN. At shops and restaurants, you’ll generally only be asked to show your ID card (leave your passport at the hotel, but do carry your driving license for this purpose).
If the cash machine rejects your card… Take into account that often banks limit the amount of cash that you can retreive from an ATM in a day. If you were trying to retrieve a relatively large amount of money, try less. It often works out. And keep in mind that such limit amount might vary depending on the bank of the ATM (not just your credit card bank). Some local banks will allow you to get more money in a day than others.
Travel Checks are bad money advice. Travel Checks are something from the dinosaurs era. Don’t even consider buying them for your next trip to Spain: absolutely no one will take them as payment, because only the holder can exchange them again into real money. Plus most banks refuse to change them anyway. You’ll have a real hard time finding a place that accepts changing them, and you are likely to end up paying an outrageous amount of money in commissions for such transaction.
AND BONUS! What about cash? These are our tips to travel with money safely
Cash. Use your credit cards for most payments, and just carry a small amount of cash (20 to 50 euro per person per day) for small payments such as taxi rides or cheap purchases. Leave the rest of the money in your hotel safe, and please travel safely: check out our safety and money travel tips to avoid being scammed or pick pocketed. Also, avoid bringing your home currency: no one in Barcelona will accept to be paid in USD, and you’ll end up wasting your time figuring out where to get the best exchange rate, plus you’ll eventually be charged a lot of commissions (if you don’t have any other option, then chose any bank but avoid tourist exchange points: they are all tourist traps). It’s way easier (and often a better deal) to get money from a cash machine with your credit card than having to exchange international currency.
So what about you? Head to the comments below and tells us: any other travel money advice you’d like to share with us?