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Tobotron's avatar

Travel Money in Eastern Europe and Russia?

Asked by Tobotron (1313points) May 4th, 2009

I’m traveling through Eastern Europe, all the countries accept the Euro but none of them really use them as they advertise all rates still in their own currency.
I’m also staying with friends in Siberia where Rubles is the currency. What’s the best way to carry money avoiding big ATM and all the other invisible fees while away for a 3 month period?

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7 Answers

eponymoushipster's avatar

Take cash. seriously. ATMs in Russia and former Soviet Union are completely unreliable. completely. Don’t take bills over $50 ($20 is best) – they don’t trust large bills.

There are a LOT of ATM scams in the FSU.

Don’t flash large wads, either. Prepare the amount you wish to transfer before you go in public, and convert that amount. The best exchanges I got were at local bazaars and smaller villages. As is generally the case everywhere, airports and hotels will rip you off (even more).

i brought an AmEx with me, simply because AmEx has Travel Services offices in Ukraine and Russia (St. Pete/Moscow/probably other major locations), in case I needed to get out ASAP or something. but i never used a card the whole time i was there.

Mtl_zack's avatar

Use travelers cheques. They’re easy to exchange, and if you lose them you can get your money back because they’re guaranteed. You can get travelers cheques in a variety of currencies. Don’t forget to bring your passport when you cash them!

eponymoushipster's avatar

@Mtl_zack that’s a good suggestion, but if you’re going outside a highly-populated area, that could be difficult.

Tobotron's avatar

I think the problems so far is one I don’t wana carry £2000 in cash on me the whole time, it’s one hell of a risk my insurance won’t cover me for that much cash…and travelers cheques are too old skool…not great for when I’m in the Siberian outback…any experience with prepaid visa travel cards?

eponymoushipster's avatar

@Tobotron yes, but not in Russia. I had one of those for Poland, as well as the UK, and they worked well. Rechargable too. I had one from AAA (American Auto Association). I’m not sure if you have a similar association in the UK, but they offer some insurance with that card as well.

But in the Siberian outback, you’re unlikely to find an ATM. you’re going to have to carry some amount of cash.

Tobotron's avatar

Yes we have loads to choose from too many haha but I think the Post Office is the best deal…thanks all for your fluthering! Siberian outback, I know too well when I worked there last year, 2 months living on cash that was ferried from over 150 miles away from the office every 10 days…don’t do work in the Siberian outback without the biggest wad you can get your hands on lol…new to this Fluther thing but great to get people opinions! :)

eponymoushipster's avatar

@Tobotron welcome to the collective!

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