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Getting Cash on the Camino?

Year of past OR future Camino
Portuguese coastal (2021)
Hi everyone!
I have just been listening to several threads about getting cash on the Camino, and the fact that a lot of place only accept cash.
I never thought i would be an issue.
A lot of posts relate to cash machine use, their location and the distance between them.

My problem is i cant see to use them; i never use them in the UK! (on a normal day the screen is blank so is my phone)

I can use contactless and enter pin in card reader in shops etc (the number five is raised, so navigate from there to enter pin) i have been doing that for years no probs.

When i go on holiday for a week i am usually based in one location and take a wad of Euros and a couple of credit cards;enough for drink, food, taxis and any other eventualities and have always had enough cash.

My Camino is going to be more than three times as long.

Obviously there will be banks and i suppose my question relates to their frequency along the Portuguese Coastal and Spiritual Caminos.

I know Portugal and Spain are definitely not third World countries and towns will have a bank; but some parts of the route are a bit spread out or am i wrong?
I have a Starling Bank card which has no overseas charges and i know i could probs exchange to Euros in some of the Hotels i am staying in but i think i will get better rates from a bank.
Any info regarding this on the route would be most welcome.
Woody.
 
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SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Year of past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
Can't help you with the coastal and spiritual routes but I'm sure someone will come in and give you useful information.

In Spain Tui, Pontevedra and Caldas de Reis have sufficient banks. It might be a wise idea to visit them in the morning. I noticed that especially the smaller banks have limited opening hours.

In general on a Camino I always carry enough money to keep me safe for five days. If I notice I have my last 50 € banknote I will get more cash.
 
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jgiesbrecht

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept-Oct 2020
Yes you can go a few days without atms, but never more than a few. More places accept cards now than they use to, but you are correct, many are still cash only. I was just there in Sept/Oct. I carried 500 on me, all in 20s. Kept most in the back part of my pouch so any time I needed cash people wouldn't see more than like 50. It was slower when I was there so no theft issues or anything, but you still need to be wise. Some of the villages are really tiny and don't even have anywhere to buy food or anything, though most will have at least a bar.
 

Canada Wanders

Lost, but making great time...
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2015
CP 2018
I had thought I was being smart...getting euros prior leaving canada for our 2015 CF. I specifically got a rather large denomination note...'thinking' I could secure it in a safe, unobtrusive place until we needed it, and thus we mostly avoided ATMs completely. That worked out fine until I decided to go into a bank to get the note cashed so I would have a wad of smaller bills...and since I wasn't a client of their bank- they wouldn't touch my note, no one would in Spain. I ended up having to bring it back to Canda to return it for cash.
The few ATM we used were no problems...but beware the 'brillant' plan of too large a euro note!
5, 10 and 20 euro are fine, and perhaps 50 in larger areas....but anything larger can be a problem in a cash-only environment like the Camino.
Once again turns out I am not nearly as smart as I think I am! (Just ask my wife).
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
I had thought I was being smart...getting euros prior leaving canada for our 2015 CF. I specifically got a rather large denomination note...'thinking' I could secure it in a safe, unobtrusive place until we needed it, and thus we mostly avoided ATMs completely. That worked out fine until I decided to go into a bank to get the note cashed so I would have a wad of smaller bills...and since I wasn't a client of their bank- they wouldn't touch my note, no one would in Spain. I ended up having to bring it back to Canda to return it for cash.
The few ATM we used were no problems...but beware the 'brillant' plan of too large a euro note!
5, 10 and 20 euro are fine, and perhaps 50 in larger areas....but anything larger can be a problem in a cash-only environment like the Camino.
Once again turns out I am not nearly as smart as I think I am! (Just ask my wife).

I took advantage of a very favourable exchange rate some years ago to stock up with (many) euros. The currency arrived in €100 notes - OK in large supermarkets, but useless in rural Spain.

In France I found a supermarket where you physically inserted your cash into a machine at the checkout, so it accepted any denomination and paid out nice new notes as change. I went in for a pack of chewing gum several times a day for the entire week I was in town. Problem solved for the cost of a lifetime supply of gum.
 
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RJM

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
A few times
Hmmm...the only two possible solutions I can think of may or may not be doable.
First is to estimate how much you expect to spend and carry that much cash (definitely small denomination) with you. Yes, yes I know that's risky. Not saying it isn't, but depending on the person and how careful they are, still doable.
The second is to ask someone you meet and trust to withdraw money from the ATM for you. Yes, yes I know that's risky too.
Either way, cash is king on the Camino and small bills waaaay preferable and at times necessity.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
My problem is i cant see to use them; i never use them in the UK! (on a normal day the screen is blank so is my phone)
I think that you need to figure out why you can't use ATMs at home. Once you've solved that, you are 99% there as far as using them in Spain.

Edit: I read through the post too quickly and didn't understand the problem. My apologies!!!🙇‍♀️
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Hi Trecile!
Sorry my fault, should have said my eyes don't work and the ATMS have no voice prompts!
Woody
So sorry, I'm obviously having reading comprehension problems!
Careful reading of Original Posts always helps. As Woody66 has explained above

Mea culpa!! 😳
 
Last edited:
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Year of past OR future Camino
Portuguese coastal (2021)
@woody66 there is an app that is available in Spain and the EU that allows you to link your phone with many ATMs and provides an audio interface. See: https://www.techsoupeurope.org/disabled-people-in-spain-now-have-access-to-atms-through-an-app/
Hi Doughnut NZ!
That sounds great listened to the info from your link!(appeals to me as the input is done on the phone before approaching the ATM card in cash out and the app navigates you to the nearest ATM )

They do have audio options in the UK for ATMS but i have never liked the idea of standing in the street with my G/dog and taking out cash being obviously vulnerable (i live in a place that does not feel to safe;the week after i moved here i was burgled and the week after that someone in my street was hacked to death with a machete! I was followed through town by a person; he tagged me in 5 or 6 shops until i asked the store assistant to make it obvious we were aware of him and he left. How did i no he had tagged me;he stank of cannabis)
Here a get cash in the bank from the cashier with my card;they have a card reader or i get cashback up to £50 from stores when buying shopping which works for me it's less obvious!
Not everybody has the Camino spirit!!
I will bring this app you have found to my RNIB rep and G/dogs.
Thanks
Woody.
 

Harland2019

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances April/May "2019"
I'm a cash man as well, being 6'4" and male helps although age is against me. However walking pole without the rubber end would help if necessary! Majority of money is deep into my rucksack, daily funds in a zipped trouser pocket. In the evening all funds, camera, phone etc is held securely in a bag in my hand or around my neck.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Galicia!
I had thought I was being smart...getting euros prior leaving canada for our 2015 CF. I specifically got a rather large denomination note...'thinking' I could secure it in a safe, unobtrusive place until we needed it, and thus we mostly avoided ATMs completely. That worked out fine until I decided to go into a bank to get the note cashed so I would have a wad of smaller bills...and since I wasn't a client of their bank- they wouldn't touch my note, no one would in Spain. I ended up having to bring it back to Canda to return it for cash.
The few ATM we used were no problems...but beware the 'brillant' plan of too large a euro note!
5, 10 and 20 euro are fine, and perhaps 50 in larger areas....but anything larger can be a problem in a cash-only environment like the Camino.
Once again turns out I am not nearly as smart as I think I am! (Just ask my wife).
If it was a €500 note that's not likely to be a problem any more as the European Central Bank has stopped issuing them (although they are still legal tender). Like the $1000 CDN bill they were deemed the province of drug smugglers, international criminals and terrorist organisations!

BTW if a $1 is a Loonie what the heck was a $1000 called?
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I decided to go into a bank to get the note cashed so I would have a wad of smaller bills...and since I wasn't a client of their bank- they wouldn't touch my note, no one would in Spain. I ended up having to bring it back to Canda to return it for cash.
Good advice, @Canada Wanders, to avoid getting high-denomination euro banknotes. I would even avoid getting 50 € banknotes for a Camino trip. Sounds like Spanish banks are similar to elsewhere in Euroland: you can no longer change money in a bank because the banks are not keeping cash as a rule or the staff cannot access it. You need to deposit cash or get cash from an ATM, even inside the bank, and in order to deposit it, you need a bank account that can accept it.

Even in environments that are not "cash-only", I do not use anything higher than 50 €, if at all, and many retail shops are reluctant or even refuse to accept higher banknotes.

Best of luck to @woody66!
 

Canada Wanders

Lost, but making great time...
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2015
CP 2018
If it was a €500 note that's not likely to be a problem any more as the European Central Bank has stopped issuing them (although they are still legal tender). Like the $1000 CDN bill they were deemed the province of drug smugglers, international criminals and terrorist organisations!

BTW if a $1 is a Loonie what the heck was a $1000 called?
A $1000. Bill? A mirage? Lol....not sure I have ever seen one!
 

Peter Wright

Walking to stay young
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Portuguese Porto to Santiago Sept/ Oct (2019)
Hi everyone!
I have just been listening to several threads about getting cash on the Camino, and the fact that a lot of place only accept cash.
I never thought i would be an issue.
A lot of posts relate to cash machine use, their location and the distance between them.

My problem is i cant see to use them; i never use them in the UK! (on a normal day the screen is blank so is my phone)

I can use contactless and enter pin in card reader in shops etc (the number five is raised, so navigate from there to enter pin) i have been doing that for years no probs.

When i go on holiday for a week i am usually based in one location and take a wad of Euros and a couple of credit cards;enough for drink, food, taxis and any other eventualities and have always had enough cash.

My Camino is going to be more than three times as long.

Obviously there will be banks and i suppose my question relates to their frequency along the Portuguese Coastal and Spiritual Caminos.

I know Portugal and Spain are definitely not third World countries and towns will have a bank; but some parts of the route are a bit spread out or am i wrong?
I have a Starling Bank card which has no overseas charges and i know i could probs exchange to Euros in some of the Hotels i am staying in but i think i will get better rates from a bank.
Any info regarding this on the route would be most welcome.
Woody.
I don't use a credit card, last year my bank said don't take your debit card as its risky. Issued me with a credit card but I forgot to activate the pin so it didn't work. Only took 100 euros cash so by 3rd day was running out. Got my partner at home to transfer cash via Western Union and collected it in Barcellos just before the agent closed for the weekend. Very easy and fees not high. Most small places only take cash and once I got my credit card working found that tap wouldn't work, only using pin
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés, Oct 2020
Good advice, @Canada Wanders, to avoid getting high-denomination euro banknotes. I would even avoid getting 50 € banknotes for a Camino trip. Sounds like Spanish banks are similar to elsewhere in Euroland: you can no longer change money in a bank because the banks are not keeping cash as a rule or the staff cannot access it. You need to deposit cash or get cash from an ATM, even inside the bank, and in order to deposit it, you need a bank account that can accept it.

Even in environments that are not "cash-only", I do not use anything higher than 50 €, if at all, and many retail shops are reluctant or even refuse to accept higher banknotes.

Best of luck to @woody66!
Having recently returned from the CF, I didn’t find using €50 notes a problem. Was not always given the choice when using an ATM for withdrawal. Usually changed at albergue or meal, either of the two around €10.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés, Oct 2020
I don't use a credit card, last year my bank said don't take your debit card as its risky. Issued me with a credit card but I forgot to activate the pin so it didn't work. Only took 100 euros cash so by 3rd day was running out. Got my partner at home to transfer cash via Western Union and collected it in Barcellos just before the agent closed for the weekend. Very easy and fees not high. Most small places only take cash and once I got my credit card working found that tap wouldn't work, only using pin

UK visa debit no problem.
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
BTW if a $1 is a Loonie what the heck was a $1000 called?
A $1 coin is a loonie because the "tails" side features a loon (the bird). $1 bills were never called that. They were called "ones". When the $2 coin was introduced, people started calling it a "toonie" in reference to the loonie. As to what $1000 would be called - we'll have to wait until a $1000 coin is in general circulation and see.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
I hope that the app works out. If not, you may need to use banks to get cash. While they may generally reserve cashier transactions for bank customers (as Canada Wanders points out above), if it is pointed out to them that their ATMs are not accessible to you, one hopes they will make an exception. Banks are not in every village but they are frequent enough that you shouldn't go more than a few days between them. It will take a bit of planning, though, to figure out not just where they are but their opening hours. I expect that the main banks in Spain all have websites that will allow you to locate branches and that give opening hours, which should help you with that planning.
 

Martin Cole

Love being a pilgrim walker
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 French x3 Portugese x2 Primitivo x1 English x1, Muxia x1 Cancelled 2020!!
I always carried several hundred in a couple of different places on me and in my bag. And no problems, except the ATMs are the thieves so watch out, try and find one is a small local place because all the tourist used ATMs are 4-8 euro fee for with drawing cash, especially Santander I discovered (and I bank with them at home), dont get down to no money left, start trying the machines before you need money, many are free too.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Portuguese coastal (2021)
HI all!
Regarding the BBVA Para Todos app i found the app on play store on my desktop which is linked to my 4 portable android devices it says all of them are not compatible with the app! BBVA on the web promote the app!
However on my devices the apps that appear for BBVA are for online banking in various countries cant locate para todos it could be unavailable for the UK.
I am not sure, but i would think that if the idea is the app is for everyone; having an account with BBVA should not be a requirement.
I will see if i can find out more as this app appealed to me!
Woody.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
I quickly learned on camino 1 that this was basically a cash economy; for each of the following nine I carried 2000 € in 100 and 50 € bills to last a 7 week trip. The bills folded very small were hidden within tea bags (color coded by value ! ) and a small opaque medicine bottle.This stash was never totally removed from my kit nor did I talk about it.
Breaking a 50 € bill in a remote village can be impossible! However especially in winter, gas stations will often make change even if you don't buy gas
 
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Michael; Camino-addicted

Take your time to enjoy a beautiful moment
Year of past OR future Camino
A few Caminos
Next plan - Camino de Baztan
In my home country, Germany, you will definitely need cash, especially in small shops in the countryside. We are notorious for this. This is slowly changing, also because in times of the Corona pandemic, there is a lot of advertising for cashless payment.

On the Camino Portugues as well as on the CF you will have the opportunity to get cash at the ATM after 2-3 days at the latest. Usually I go "and buy money" when I don't have 100 € left.

But there is one important hint. I myself only use an ATM abroad if it is directly at an open bank. I go into the bank beforehand and ask if they are able to get my card out of the machine and give it back to me if something doesn't work. If this is not possible, I will look for another bank. And I always have two cards with me.
Last year I met an Austrian whose card was withheld from the machine for no apparent reason. The bank branch was not allowed to hand the card back to him, but sent it to him by post to Austria. Not ideal if your cash is getting less and you still have three weeks of Camino ahead of you. Luckily he also had a second card with him.

Since he spoke English very poorly in addition to German, it was a certain challenge, but he had never the problem finding a helpful Spaniard who went with him to the bank to clarify this question before using the card at the ATM.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Hi Doughnut NZ!
That sounds great listened to the info from your link!(appeals to me as the input is done on the phone before approaching the ATM card in cash out and the app navigates you to the nearest ATM )

They do have audio options in the UK for ATMS but i have never liked the idea of standing in the street with my G/dog and taking out cash being obviously vulnerable (i live in a place that does not feel to safe;the week after i moved here i was burgled and the week after that someone in my street was hacked to death with a machete! I was followed through town by a person; he tagged me in 5 or 6 shops until i asked the store assistant to make it obvious we were aware of him and he left. How did i no he had tagged me;he stank of cannabis)
Here a get cash in the bank from the cashier with my card;they have a card reader or i get cashback up to £50 from stores when buying shopping which works for me it's less obvious!
Not everybody has the Camino spirit!!
I will bring this app you have found to my RNIB rep and G/dogs.
Thanks
Woody.
I looked a bit deeper at the BBVA App and it may only be for BBVA customers who live in Spain.

I tried to download the app and this was successful but I couldn't do anything without being a customer and when I tried to become a customer it asked me for a national id number but wouldn't accept any that I entered (from NZ). I tried a couple of different options including the number from my NZ and UK passports but they didn't work either.

I have emailed BBVA support and asked them about pilgrims using their audio assistance features and I am waiting for a reply.

It doesn't look likely though. A pity because the description of the app indicated that it was very useful.

Doug
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Perhaps there is an agency in Spain that supports sight-impaired persons, which might be able to answer your question?
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Portuguese coastal (2021)
I looked a bit deeper at the BBVA App and it may only be for BBVA customers who live in Spain.

I tried to download the app and this was successful but I couldn't do anything without being a customer and when I tried to become a customer it asked me for a national id number but wouldn't accept any that I entered (from NZ). I tried a couple of different options including the number from my NZ and UK passports but they didn't work either.

I have emailed BBVA support and asked them about pilgrims using their audio assistance features and I am waiting for a reply.

It doesn't look likely though. A pity because the description of the app indicated that it was very useful.

Doug
Wow Doug all that effort just for me; thanks so much.
As in my post just above mspath's, i thought it might be unavailable because of being in the UK. That's obviously not the problem is it.
I think i will try and contact ONCE (Spanish society for the blind) i will send email as that can be translated directly as opposed to a phone call where things might get lost in translation. Also G/Dogs have affiliations with them;how far they would help with this often depends on the person receiving the request.
I do find it a bit disappointing that this might be limited to this banks customers only.
Woody
 

RRat

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Planning 2017
Hi everyone!
I have just been listening to several threads about getting cash on the Camino, and the fact that a lot of place only accept cash.
I never thought i would be an issue.
A lot of posts relate to cash machine use, their location and the distance between them.

My problem is i cant see to use them; i never use them in the UK! (on a normal day the screen is blank so is my phone)

I can use contactless and enter pin in card reader in shops etc (the number five is raised, so navigate from there to enter pin) i have been doing that for years no probs.

When i go on holiday for a week i am usually based in one location and take a wad of Euros and a couple of credit cards;enough for drink, food, taxis and any other eventualities and have always had enough cash.

My Camino is going to be more than three times as long.

Obviously there will be banks and i suppose my question relates to their frequency along the Portuguese Coastal and Spiritual Caminos.

I know Portugal and Spain are definitely not third World countries and towns will have a bank; but some parts of the route are a bit spread out or am i wrong?
I have a Starling Bank card which has no overseas charges and i know i could probs exchange to Euros in some of the Hotels i am staying in but i think i will get better rates from a bank.
Any info regarding this on the route would be most welcome.
Woody.
Just a hint, in Spain if you ask for a location of a near ATM you might get a blank stare. It's "telebanco" in Spain.
 

RRat

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Planning 2017
Hi everyone!
I have just been listening to several threads about getting cash on the Camino, and the fact that a lot of place only accept cash.
I never thought i would be an issue.
A lot of posts relate to cash machine use, their location and the distance between them.

My problem is i cant see to use them; i never use them in the UK! (on a normal day the screen is blank so is my phone)

I can use contactless and enter pin in card reader in shops etc (the number five is raised, so navigate from there to enter pin) i have been doing that for years no probs.

When i go on holiday for a week i am usually based in one location and take a wad of Euros and a couple of credit cards;enough for drink, food, taxis and any other eventualities and have always had enough cash.

My Camino is going to be more than three times as long.

Obviously there will be banks and i suppose my question relates to their frequency along the Portuguese Coastal and Spiritual Caminos.

I know Portugal and Spain are definitely not third World countries and towns will have a bank; but some parts of the route are a bit spread out or am i wrong?
I have a Starling Bank card which has no overseas charges and i know i could probs exchange to Euros in some of the Hotels i am staying in but i think i will get better rates from a bank.
Any info regarding this on the route would be most welcome.
Woody.
Get 300 in Euros, all twenty, from your local bank, before you leave. It took 5 days for my local bank to order. Usually all you need to last over a week is 200 but the extra 100 comes in handy at first for things forgotten and transportation to start. Take two credit cards, kept in separate pockets. When you start to run low, €50, plan on getting another 200. Don't fret over exchange rates or fees, in the grand scheme of things, they are insignificant.
 

Jacobus

Pilgrim since 2008
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés(2008,09 14)
Del Norte (2011)
Portuguese(2015,2017)
Inglés 2015
Fisterre (2015 17)
Hi everyone!
I have just been listening to several threads about getting cash on the Camino, and the fact that a lot of place only accept cash.
I never thought i would be an issue.
A lot of posts relate to cash machine use, their location and the distance between them.

My problem is i cant see to use them; i never use them in the UK! (on a normal day the screen is blank so is my phone)

I can use contactless and enter pin in card reader in shops etc (the number five is raised, so navigate from there to enter pin) i have been doing that for years no probs.

When i go on holiday for a week i am usually based in one location and take a wad of Euros and a couple of credit cards;enough for drink, food, taxis and any other eventualities and have always had enough cash.

My Camino is going to be more than three times as long.

Obviously there will be banks and i suppose my question relates to their frequency along the Portuguese Coastal and Spiritual Caminos.

I know Portugal and Spain are definitely not third World countries and towns will have a bank; but some parts of the route are a bit spread out or am i wrong?
I have a Starling Bank card which has no overseas charges and i know i could probs exchange to Euros in some of the Hotels i am staying in but i think i will get better rates from a bank.
Any info regarding this on the route would be most welcome.
Woody.
Maybe stating the obvious here but make sure you use atm’s only when the bank is open in case you have issues that can’t be resolved with the machine and it keeps your card as security.
BC
Jim
 

AndrewDavOz

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2019
I can understand the ATM problem is significant for someone unable to read the screen. In Australia many ATMs have an audio service. Hopefully this will become normal in all countries. A cash economy is an awkward issue in these days where crowds seem to be infested with criminals. The main practical suggestion I have is to travel with a trusted walking partner, who has good vision to deal with the ATMs. This may not be your plan, but perhaps is a practical necessity.

Regarding banks being open, that is not usually sufficient - bank staff usually have no access to the cards swallowed by the ATM. Don’t rely on being able to retrieve a card when a PIN is incorrect etc.

In 2019 I walked CF. I tried to use Santander ATMs as recommended in this forum. And similarly, I withdrew about €300 at a time, their ATMs issued this in a mix of denominations with, I think, only two or three of the €50 notes. Also, I used an ING visa debit card, so despite the ATM fees, they were always refunded by ING immediately. I set up the account several months before my trip and used the card successfully in Australia, Thailand and the UK before needing to use it in Spain.

Good luck and stay safe.
Andrew
 
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Jamieb

Member
I walked CF in summer 2019. Before leaving USA I ordered $500 in Euros from my bank in small bills. Only used the ATMs a couple of times during my 6 weeks - each time I used the ATM I withdrew 300 euros - I didn't concern myself with bank fee's, had already factored that into my budget. Carried a credit card and two different ATM cards - kept the credit card and the backup ATM card hidden away with all of my extra cash.
 

RRat

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Planning 2017
I walked CF in summer 2019. Before leaving USA I ordered $500 in Euros from my bank in small bills. Only used the ATMs a couple of times during my 6 weeks - each time I used the ATM I withdrew 300 euros - I didn't concern myself with bank fee's, had already factored that into my budget. Carried a credit card and two different ATM cards - kept the credit card and the backup ATM card hidden away with all of my extra cash.
Easy. Same approach. It's not ATM in Spain it's Telebanco, learned that after a few blank stares when asking where the nearest ATM.
 

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