Here are some thoughts from my recent trip to Munich, Bergen, and Amsterdam. If you’re going to Europe, you might find something interesting. Click any image for a larger view.
- Take an American Express card. We now have the new chip cards, but as you probably know, ours are chip-and-signature, while Europe is on chip-and-pin. You probably don’t have a pin (there are a few exceptions). This means that there are places that won’t accept your credit card, like some fare machines. I didn’t find any, however, that accepted Amex that wouldn’t take my card. I guess it must waive the need for a pin when necessary.
- Take two credit cards. I still remember the call from my Visa issuer one evening several years back, also in Munich. “Hi. There’s been suspicious activity on your card, so we’ve cancelled it.” “Great. You do know I’m in Germany.” The response was, essentially, that it wasn’t their problem. Fortunately, I had the Amex.
Cash is rapidly disappearing from Europe. Various forms of card / electronic payment are replacing it. So if the Euro zone does break up, at least we won’t have to go back to changing cash at every border we cross. I brought $200 in cash with me and took $200 in cash home — the Visa did work at the one ATM I tried. Gave the remaining Euros — practically all of them — to the hotel on the last night.