Yes! While some regular travelers are fine with finding an ATM upon arrival, my recommendation is to have some local currency when you arrive so you are prepared for any immediate cash needs. Later in the trip, when you find a convenient ATM, you can replenish. To get local currency, contact your bank a week before your departure date and order Euros or Pounds or whatever is the currency at your first destination.
What is the best credit card?
The best credit card is one that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees! Capital One, Chase Preferred and Amex cards are some companies that have fee-free cards. If you can get a card with Europe’s more advanced “chip and pin” technology, all the better. These are occasionally necessary at automated kiosks in Europe, but you can usually find an attendant that can process an American card. I read ThePointsGuy blog for the latest and greatest news and reviews on credit cards.
How do I handle tipping guides and drivers?
Generally speaking, tips are not as expected in Europe as they are in the US and the tipping amount is lower, about 10%. However, it is a nice practice to offer a tip to a great guide or driver. A client of mine had an excellent suggestion for keeping this simple: she prepared an envelope for each of their tours and transfers with about 15% of the cost of the tour in Euros inside. As each event happened, she adjusted some to 10% and increased some for especially good service. I love this idea to help ease the stress and hassle of tipping!
If you have questions while traveling, your hotel concierge is an excellent resource, and your local guides can be very helpful with all sorts of information, too.