Whenever I go to Europe, I’m happy that the coins reach higher denominations there than in the US: it seems to work pretty well. The thing is, though, I’m not sure that it would work well in the US: my change purse is always a lot fuller than my wallet, and I’m not sure that shifting dollars from the latter to the former would be a good idea.

There are a couple of factors at work that I can identify. For one thing, if they want to charge two euros for something, they change two euros, not some ridiculous price like €1.95 or €1.99. And, for another thing, the list price includes the sales price. Works much better; I acquired almost no 1- and 2-cent coins until we went to a pastry shop that was out of 5- and 10-cent coins.

(Though there is an unfortunate flip side to this: the ATM machines loved giving out 50-euro bills. I wish I could remember the machine that only gave out twenties…)

This was the first trip where we didn’t have to use a single traveler’s check; yay for global networks. We might have used one in the airport, since the ATM there didn’t like our cards, but the rates the change bureau there charged were obscene: convenience is one thing, but not at the expense of a ten percent premium. So we didn’t worry about spending all of our money: that way, the next time we go to Europe, it’ll be easier to get out of the airport.

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