You will need Czech koruna and Euros for our trip.
The koruna is for Prague which is our first stop, and we are there 3 nights. You should have some koruna on you before we leave the US, so in case the rates at the airport are skyhigh, you can still buy a drink and bus ticket. It is 20.93czk per one US dollar. So when an item is 418.50 czk it’s $20.00.
The euro € is used everywhere else.
It is .81€ per $1.00.
Or, if your mind works the other way it’s $1.23 per 1 €.
There are two convenient money exchange places I use. Call ahead to make sure they have koruna.
Bretton Woods (310) 447-6234
11659 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
A Plus Exchange Inc (310) 394-7211
1454 4th Street, Santa Monica, CA
(which is at 4th and Lincoln under the parking structure).
“How much money should I bring?”
Parents always ask how much money their kids will need. I will go over this idea at the Thursday night meeting, but I think it is best to create a per city budget prior to leaving, and help the travelers stay and follow the budget, to help teach them how to manage their money.
The best way I have found, is to get 100 dollars worth of koruna (2093 czk) and 100 dollars in euro (81€) in Santa Monica prior to departure. Then, in Europe, use an ATM card to withdraw the budget made per city. I personally tend to take out the maximum from the ATM, as I am only charged bank fees once. It is usually 350€ ($431.) and use this until it is gone. There are banks on every block, just like in Los Angeles, so it is super easy to get money. Money exchange at banks is pretty reasonable, so it is not worth walking around from currency exchange stores to find the “cheapest” rate.
Travel Tips for Keeping on a Budget
The predicted budget for “frugal” travelers is $750. which averages about $125 per city, but only $35 dollars a day. So, half of the money is for food, the other for museums and souvenirs.
The “easy living” traveler should have around $2000. which is about $100 a day.
AND, If the skies the limit, make sure you still have some kind of mental budget, so other travelers aren’t borrowing from you. It is hard to keep track of money borrowed, and more impossible to be paid back. Please alert travelers that there should be no lending and no “borrowing”, but any money loaned, is actually a “gift”. I don’t want to see any friendships ruined by the “borrowing of money”.
There are always the excited travelers who purchase any and every souvenir their hearts desire at that moment, only to get home and realize they won’t ever wear that jacket which says Amsterdam across the chest in orange. Or when buying friendship bracelets, only to have them break off, and have no souvenirs. And what are you really going to do with a mask, when was the last time you were invited to a masked ball?
So, I encourage pre-departure discussions about what TYPES of souvenirs could be looked for in Europe. Personally, I have started a plate collection to hang in my kitchen, so instead of random bursts of retail therapy across Europe, and baseball caps, tshirts and other items I never wear, I limit myself by focusing on certain items, and then I am excited to look for them, which helps me in not spending so much. This year I am looking for salad tongs, a pair of gold earrings, a stone ring, and a new kitchen plate. It’ll be exciting to see in what cities I find these souvenirs; by focusing on these 4 items, it’ll stop me from purchasing and spending money in the tourist traps.
I also do most of my purchases for family and friends in the last city, so I am not lugging around presents. There was a traveler who purchased an iron crepe cookware set for his baker girlfriend in Paris and carried the thing around through 4 other cities. Sweet gesture, but heavy, AND he had to pay an airport fee for going over the allotted 50 lbs.
Airport fees will also be discussed in a later blog, but passengers are allowed one checked bag up to 50 lbs. (23kg) anybag weighing over 51 lbs is charged $100 fee. It is cheaper to check in a second checked bag which is $75.