With a bit of advance planning, it can be easy to access cash from an ATM while traveling. It can be simple to use your credit card. Just inform your bank and credit card company ahead of time that you will be traveling and they will not block charges made outside your local area. We also recommend you travel with some cash in your wallet so you don’t need to immediately access a cash machine upon arrival to your destination. After reading this section on money planning, you can feel confident that you will know how much spending money you will need.
We recommend using ATM/debit cards to get cash abroad. They ensure that you get the best exchange rate and do not limit you to banking hours. Be sure to inform your bank that you will be traveling abroad. With the increase in identity theft, banks and credit card companies are constantly monitoring for any suspicious activity on your account, including overseas purchases, which could result in a declined transaction if they are not notified prior to your departure.
When you notify your credit card company that you will be traveling in advance of your trip, also inquire whether a service charge, currency conversion fee, or international transaction fee will be applied for using the card abroad. These fees are generally lower than any exchange fees you would pay for exchanging cash or traveler’s checks.
We do not recommend using credit cards to withdraw cash abroad as the cash advance fees are usually quite high.
You will also be able to use a credit card for purchases in most places of business, though there are some locations (including some department stores) that only accept European bank cards. Many stores, cafes, and restaurants have a minimum charge (usually 10 Euro) for credit card use.
Please note that many countries around the world are adopting a system of chip-and-PIN credit/debit cards which means that some machines will not accept swipe-and-sign credit cards (especially many toll booths and ticket kiosks). Because of this, it is always recommended to have spare cash on you while traveling abroad so that you can exchange at a bank or the hotel front desk if necessary.
The exchange rate as of December 2019 is:
$1.00 = 0.90 € (Euro)
In Spain, the unit of currency is the Euro. The banknotes come in different colors, sizes are in denominations of 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of 1 and 2 Euros and then 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents. Every Euro coin carries a common European design on one side and each member state has its own design for the reverse side. No matter which motif is on the coins they can be used anywhere where the Euro is the official currency. A visitor in France will be able to buy a hot dog in Berlin using a Euro coin carrying the imprint of the King of Spain.
The above rate is only temporary and can be updated by referring to the Foreign Exchange table in your newspaper or through a number of currency exchange websites.
You may carry an unlimited amount of American or Canadian funds during your trip. However, you may not depart from a foreign country with more money than you brought into that country.
We recommend designating one person in the group to be in charge of tipping for the group. Tips should preferably be offered in cash, in either USD or local currency.