How much cash to carry? | Camino de Santiago Forum
Camino Forum App now available
Camino Forum Android APP Camino Forum iOS APP
Search 30 000 Camino Questions right here... your question might have been asked before
Camino Guides (for sale) | Camino Guides made by pilgrims
By Signing up to the forum (free) you will be able to:

-- Ask any Camino related question you might have
-- Participate in the camino conversation on this forum
-- Get an weekly e-mail (Saturdays) with the most popular topics from the last 7 days
-- Be able to download pdf's and other Camino Resources
Sign

Weekly forum email Daily forum email Luggage Storage in Santiago de Compostela
Dismiss Notice
Have a question you would like to ask? Here is how you do it!

How much cash to carry?

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by holborn, Jun 16, 2013.

  1. holborn

    holborn New Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi,

    I hope to start my Camino (Camino Frances) from Burgos on Sept 1st 2013. I was wondering how much cash I should carry with me. I have heard that there are some towns where ATMs are hard to come by. I would be grateful for any advise.

    Thanks
     
  2. luisalovespaul

    luisalovespaul New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2013
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    2
    Camino(s) past & future:
    April (2013)
    We carried 200 euros, that would last the two of us 4 or 5 days easily.
     
  3. anniethenurse

    anniethenurse Veteran Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,125
    Likes Received:
    599
    Location:
    Sweden
    Camino(s) past & future:
    SJPP- Burgos2009- Burgos-SDC2011- Irun-STODomingo2012- STODomingo-SDC2012- Leon-SDC-Finistere2013- Porto- SDC2014- ViladoCastelo-SDC2014- Lisbon-SDC-Finisterre2015-Ruta del Ebro Riumar to Zaragoza2016-Vigo-SDC2106.
    Welcome to the Forum holborn!

    You can find ATMs on the Camino Frances between Burgos and Santiago AT LEAST in following towns:
    Fromista
    Carrion de los Condes
    Sahagun
    Leon
    Astorga
    Ponferrada
    Villafranca del Bierzo
    Triacastela
    Sarria
    Portomarin
    Palas de Rei
    Melide
    Arzua.

    So no worries.
     
  4. whariwharangi

    whariwharangi Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,741
    Likes Received:
    3,331
    Camino(s) past & future:
    x
    I carried at minimum 100 Euros. I would recommend that you travel from home with at least that much in folding money in Euros. I once landed at Malaga and the ATMs, at the airport only, were out of order. I once landed at Buenoes Aires and spent an hour in a line up at the ATM, otherwise unable to pay for a bus fare.

    The bus driver at Biarritz was annoyed because I could only pay the 1 Euro fare with a 20 Euro note.

    I usually drew the maximum the machine would allow to reduce bank fees. 300 - 500 Euro. Enough for ten or twelve days.

    Every town large enough to have a grocery store had a bank with ATM. So very rarely three days maybe between ATMs.

    The more remote sections would be between: Astorga and Ponferrada; Villa Franca(Galacia) and Sarria; Santiago and Fisterra. There were some remote places between Burgos and Leon too. There may have been ATMs in some of these places but I didn't have need and wasn't looking.

    The small stores and Albergues like small bills.
     
  5. ChrisMO

    ChrisMO New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2013
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    4
    Camino(s) past & future:
    French (2013)
    This is good. Thank you.
     
  6. nreyn12

    nreyn12 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Messages:
    556
    Likes Received:
    370
    Location:
    Spain & San Francisco Bay Area
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Walked (2005) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010) (2011) (2012) (2013) (2014) (2015); Guide leading groups 2013-present
    When you first arrive into Spain, I'd recommend withdrawing 300 euros from the first ATM you come to (hopefully at the airport). Then take one 20 euro note and tuck it somewhere in your pack, at the bottom, or in an unlikely place (just be sure to remember where you put it!). That way, if you find yourself running low on euros without an ATM in your current town, you won't need to panic.

    Then I would recommend keeping your total cash stash at around 200 euros. Of that, I'd keep just a two to three days budget in your 'front wallet', whatever that might be - a pocket or small wallet/coin purse.

    Once your cash stash reaches 40 euros, or your two-day budget amount, start looking for that next ATM.
     
    RayoDeLuna, Cejanus, Stellere and 7 others like this.
  7. ChrisMO

    ChrisMO New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2013
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    4
    Camino(s) past & future:
    French (2013)
    Thank you Nrey12.
     
  8. Januz

    Januz New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    7
    This is very helpful! Thank you.


    Sent from my iPhone using Camino de Santiago Forum
     
  9. jstorybook

    jstorybook Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2012
    Messages:
    137
    Likes Received:
    119
    Location:
    Athens, Ohio
    Camino(s) past & future:
    October-November 2013
    I never carried more than about 160 euros at a time--this would last me 4 0r 5 days. This of course makes to dependent upon ATMs--so you will need a backup plan just in case your card fails--gets eaten by a machine etc. Mine was eaten twice by a machine.
     
    David likes this.
  10. lynnejohn

    lynnejohn Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Messages:
    1,271
    Likes Received:
    442
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
    I agree - somewhere between 150-200 euro. Ask yourself how much can you afford to lose and still be able to continue your camino.
     
  11. Phillypilgrim

    Phillypilgrim Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2013
    Messages:
    551
    Likes Received:
    811
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA USA
    Camino(s) past & future:
    C F Sept.(2013) Camino de Madrid & Finisterre/Muxia Sept. (2014)
    Finisterre/Muia June (2017).
    Every morning I put about 10 euros in change in my pants pocket for the walk. That way when I stopped for food/coffee I did not have to pull out my money belt.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014
    santiago_67 and Stefania13/14 like this.
  12. falcon269

    falcon269 sidra; no commercial interests

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Messages:
    13,162
    Likes Received:
    13,774
    Location:
    USA
    Camino(s) past & future:
    yes
    Being robbed face to face is much rarer than losing something from unattended packs. Thieves know where the hidden pockets are in backpacks, so anything in them can disappear when you back is turned. Pickpockets are rare, limited to big cities and train/bus stations. Spreading your money around locations on your body is a good idea. It also keeps money from slipping out of an unzipped or unbuttoned pocket.
     
    David likes this.
  13. Anniesantiago

    Anniesantiago Veteran Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    Messages:
    6,529
    Likes Received:
    6,572
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances 2006,9,11,12,13,14, 16, Aragones 2011,12,
    VDLP 2011, 13, Lourdes 2012, Portuguese 2008, Madrid 2014, (2016)
    I agree with Nancy. I carry between 200 and 300 euros.
    I also agree with Falcon. I spread it around.
    Much of it goes into a money belt that lives inside my clothes and hangs from my belt.
    But I always keep half elsewhere.
    I only carry "today's money" in my little change purse and I never ever EVER get into my money belt in public.
     
    Gerardonderweg likes this.
  14. jcatienza

    jcatienza New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2011
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Singapore
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances March 2012
    Frances April 2015
    300 seems ok, then replenish at 150. It'll be cold out still in April so its better that you have spare cash. I met a pair of twins who couldn't find a compatible ATM at 7pm (they were unable to get a place to sleep I suppose) so they had to walk to the next town where there was an ATM. I did offer but they said they can still walk to the next town.
     
  15. jpflavin1

    jpflavin1 Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    Messages:
    1,783
    Likes Received:
    1,608
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), Primitivo(13), Norte(14), Madrid (16)
    Everyone's tolerance level for carrying cash is different. There are no bad answers to this question. The idea of carrying cash in multiple locations is a good one. I usually carry 100 Euro's in small bills in zipped pants pocket. I also carry a larger amount in a money pouch around my neck. When my pocket money gets to 20 euro's I break a large bill in a grocery store or the equivalent, if possible. Keep in mind there are fees for using ATM's and currency exchange. These fees add up if you are using an ATM every few days. There are a number of cards that minimize these costs. this subject is covered in another thread.

    Ultreya,
    Joe
     
    wayfarer likes this.
  16. wayfarer

    wayfarer Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,975
    Likes Received:
    9,269
    Location:
    Co. Clare. Ireland
    Camino(s) past & future:
    SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
    Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
    SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
    I start with €300 and top up at about €100 when I can. Do what you feel comfortable with and keep it close, even in the shower, better for it to be damp than gone.
    Gives a whole new meaning to the term "money laundering" :):)
     
    Gerardonderweg, angie, Madidi and 5 others like this.
  17. ManyMiles2Go

    ManyMiles2Go Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2013
    Messages:
    265
    Likes Received:
    487
    Location:
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances (2013)
    We used a Charles Schwab debit card. We opened an account with them specifically for the Camino. That way, it was not tied to any of our other bank accounts. There are NO ATM fees (they reimburse them all at the end of the month), and no international exchange fees. They were even VERY helpful when my card got eaten by that nasty ATM machine (luckily we still had my wife's card), but the would have overnighted a new card to me if needed. Great to deal with!!

    Jim
     
  18. wayfarer

    wayfarer Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,975
    Likes Received:
    9,269
    Location:
    Co. Clare. Ireland
    Camino(s) past & future:
    SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
    Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
    SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
    Great info Jim.
     
  19. ManyMiles2Go

    ManyMiles2Go Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2013
    Messages:
    265
    Likes Received:
    487
    Location:
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances (2013)
    Thanks! Actually learned about that card on this forum, just thought it was worth mentioning again.

    By the way, I wanted to mention earlier that I laugh every time I see your icon. Saw it on the forums before we went on Camino, then when I saw while we were walking, I just busted up laughing. Told my wife, "Hey I saw that stop sign on the forums :)"
     
    wayfarer likes this.
  20. crios339

    crios339 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2013
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Galati, Romania
    Hi, I noticed a great concern about money on the Camino. Has anyone been actually robbed or mugged on the track, or had his/hers money stolen in an albergue?
     
  21. NicoZ

    NicoZ Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2013
    Messages:
    628
    Likes Received:
    248
    Camino(s) past & future:
    2013
    You don't need to be robbed.

    You can lose / forget your wallet.

    Many of the people here don't come from Euro countries so the bills are unfamiliar. Easy enough to hand the wrong denomination.

    If you only carry a bit of cash then you can only lose a bit.
     
    Ruth_Ess and lettinggo like this.
  22. ryan1son

    ryan1son New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    2
    Camino(s) past & future:
    2014
    Check with your local banks, My bank in New Mexico can get me all the EUROS I want at no charge(probably because I have an account), take 250 to 350 with you to start and you won"t have to worry for a week or two.
     
  23. julie

    julie Active Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2006
    Messages:
    454
    Likes Received:
    435
    Location:
    Sydney NSW Australia
    I usually carry about 200€ with me. Where possible I use an ATM when the bank is open. If that's not a possibility, I only withdraw if the bank is going to be open in the morning.

    That means I always make sure I have enough cash to tide me over the weekend so I can avoid using an ATM. Why? because an ATM swallowed my card in Astorga and I had to present myself at the bank when it opened the next morning. Met a very nice cyclist there for the same reason so I'm not the only one it has happened to.
     
  24. Letsgocamino

    Letsgocamino Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    33
    Camino(s) past & future:
    May 2013 Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela.
    Leaving for Camino Portuguese May 2017.
    Excellent idea, ManyMiles. My husband and I did the same thing but with my credit union account. Since its a small organization the customer service was great and we had no problems withdrawing money from Spanish ATM's.
     
  25. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2006
    Messages:
    9,806
    Likes Received:
    12,216
    Location:
    Champaign, Illinois, USA
    One thing not mentioned on this thread is the use of credit cards instead of using an ATM and paying in cash. I haven't walked the Frances in years, but one thing I have definitely noticed on many of the lesser traveled caminos is the increasing number of stores, bars, pensiones, and restaurants that accept credit cards, even in very small towns. I have been told that you get a better rate on credit card transactions than ATM withdrawals. I try to always have at least 100 euros cash but use my credit card whenever possible. This cuts down on the ATM visits.

    In fact, last year on the Levante, which is 1200 km from Valencia, I only used an ATM four times. The rest was on a credit card.
     
    David likes this.
  26. RoamFarAndWide

    RoamFarAndWide Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2014
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    43
    Location:
    Continuous Traveler
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Walked the Camino Frances in 2013. Part of Jeju Olle Trail in 2014. A Pilgrimage in Bavaria: Regensburg Diözesanfußwallfahrt to Altötting 2014. Trekking Nepal 2014. European Peace Trail 2015.
    I also carried about 200 euros and had no problem finding ATMs in the bigger cities. Make sure you let your bank know you will be in Spain so you don't have a problem at ATMs.
     
  27. julie

    julie Active Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2006
    Messages:
    454
    Likes Received:
    435
    Location:
    Sydney NSW Australia
    It depends on the bank. I use a cash card preloaded with euros. When the $AU was high, I took the opportunity to load the card with enough for my last trip. As is normal, you pay a conversion fee in the first place but there is no ATM charge attached to the card. The bank that owns the ATM may charge but, if that's the case, there will be a message on the screen to that effect before you finalise the withdrawal. It's a MasterCard so it also works anywhere that credit is available.

    I like this system because I'm working in the local currency rather than paying a foreign currency conversion fee every time I spend money. It also means I can preload it when the exchange rate is favourable.

    By the way, this wasn't the card that was swallowed. That was an unfortunate misunderstanding that had a happy outcome so no harm was done to me, my card or the reputation of the bank.
     
  28. whariwharangi

    whariwharangi Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,741
    Likes Received:
    3,331
    Camino(s) past & future:
    x
    Yes. Rare but it happens ... just like in real life.

    Incident on Via del Plata was reported here last year. See the thread.
     
  29. David

    David Veteran Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2006
    Messages:
    1,918
    Likes Received:
    6,813
    Location:
    Weston-Super-Mare, England
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
    All the above are good tips and true. Definitely stash some cash 'elsewhere' so that if you do lose your money you have a backup, and definitely never open/reveal your main 'stash' in public.

    If you get large bank notes from an atm then go and buy something cheap from a supermarket with the largest denomination note (they don't care about large notes) so that you then have change and small notes.

    If you are in the UK I would recommend getting a Post Office credit card as there are no transaction fees for using it abroad. I use one of those for purchases, and my French bank account card, which is in Euros, for withdrawals when 'over there'.

    I seem to remember other posts on the forum that suggested that some American cards could be a problem with atm's as they have a different number of numbers on the pin? I may be wrong (I usually am).
     
  30. norelle

    norelle Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    Messages:
    203
    Likes Received:
    399
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances (2011 April, 2014 March) San Salvador, Primitivo, Finisterre, Muxia (June 2015) Del Norte (Sept/Oct 2016)
    yes - the atm numbers are different to those in Australia and New Zealand too! I was with a Kiwi girl who was frustrated her card wasn't working until she noticed she was punching in her numbers on autopilot and not looking!! Luckily she noticed before the machine swallowed her card!
     
    David likes this.
  31. gerardcarey

    gerardcarey Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2011
    Messages:
    1,201
    Likes Received:
    2,681
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Charles Schwab tell me they are only available for US citizens who intend to be outside the US for less than 6 months.
    Regds
    Gerard
     
  32. ManyMiles2Go

    ManyMiles2Go Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2013
    Messages:
    265
    Likes Received:
    487
    Location:
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances (2013)
    Sorry Gerard, never thought about that :( Sometimes I have narrow vision :)

    Jim
     
    gerardcarey likes this.
  33. gerardcarey

    gerardcarey Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2011
    Messages:
    1,201
    Likes Received:
    2,681
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Me too Jim!
    Aussies have access to the GE Money 28 degrees card which has much the same benefits.
    I'm looking for something for my New Zealand niece if anyone has any ideas. (Haven't tried GE in NZ yet, if they are there)

    Regds
    Gerard
     
    ManyMiles2Go likes this.
  34. Dr. Don

    Dr. Don New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    Greetings. Wondering what the best kind of credit card is to carry from the US to Spain? regular Visa credit card, pre-loaded credit card or debit card? Thanks for your advice.
    Don & Steve; Corrales, New Mexico
     
  35. Dr. Don

    Dr. Don New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    Hey Ryan, Don here from Corrales. Gone yet or going? Steve and I leave May 1 for 200 km from Ponferrada to Santiago.
     
  36. falcon269

    falcon269 sidra; no commercial interests

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Messages:
    13,162
    Likes Received:
    13,774
    Location:
    USA
    Camino(s) past & future:
    yes
  37. november_moon

    november_moon Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    Messages:
    749
    Likes Received:
    1,225
    Bring a regular Visa card for credit purchases and a debit card/ATM card to get cash from cash machines. Pre-loaded cards are generally a pretty bad deal for Americans - the ones available to us are filled with fees and bad exchange rates.

    When I travel overseas, and it will be the same for the Camino, I bring 2 credit cards and an ATM card. I have PINs for my credit cards also, which I can use as a backup to get cash from ATMs if something happens to my ATM card, but that is as a backup since the fees associated with using a credit card to get cash are usually higher.
     
  38. Dr. Don

    Dr. Don New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gracias everyone!
    Don, Nuevo Mexico!
     
  39. RobertS26

    RobertS26 Active Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    2,094
    Location:
    Moses Lake, Washington, United States
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances, Oct 2013
    Camino Frances, Aug 2014
    Camino Frances, Apr 2015
    I am not aware of anyone being robbed, assaulted or even accosted on the Camino. I felt completely safe in Spain and especially safe on the Camino. Most of the people who live along the Camino respect the act of pilgrimage. I never worried about leaving my backpack outside a café, church or other location when I walked inside. However, I always carried my cell phone, passport, wallet, pilgrim's credential and cash on my person for peace of mind.
     
    Ruth_Ess likes this.
  40. Saint Mike II

    Saint Mike II Vetran Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    Messages:
    1,559
    Likes Received:
    2,332
    Location:
    Illawarra Region NSW Australia
    Camino(s) past & future:
    cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
    I used a mix of cash and credit cards last year. The cash was at smaller venues - bars; albergues etc. The credit card was used to purchase bus/train tickets / hotels; oh and also major tourist stuff to take home.
    I agree with separating the cash into two or three lots - pockets / money belt / hidden in backpack.
    Cheers:)
     
  41. mspath

    mspath Veteran Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2009
    Messages:
    5,558
    Likes Received:
    13,665
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
    Carry some euro bills in small denominations; breaking a 50 euro bill in a remote village can be impossible especially out of tourist season! However, gas stations will often make change even if you don't buy gas!

    MM
     
  42. grayland

    grayland Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,903
    Likes Received:
    4,371
    Location:
    Seattle
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Yes
    The Camino is no different from anywhere else in the world,
    in terms of theft!
    There are many cases of stolen backpacks and gear left unattended.
    Use the same care you would anywhere else.
    I would strongly advise not leaving your backpack or other gear on the street in front of a bar or anywhere else.
    Unless, of course, you would do that where you live and trust to luck that no evil doers will pass by. :)
     
  43. lynnejohn

    lynnejohn Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Messages:
    1,271
    Likes Received:
    442
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
    We used to leave our packs outside the bar until a dog peed on my husband's pack. Spent a long time with soap and water and never left them outside again.
     
  44. november_moon

    november_moon Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    Messages:
    749
    Likes Received:
    1,225
    I have heard reports of theft too. I haven't heard of muggings or anything like that, but I have heard about theft of gear, money, and electronics. It seems to me that because walking the Camino is relatively safe and because of the communal living and camaraderie, people are probably more apt to let their guard down than they would be anywhere else. So they leave their stuff laying around and if a thief comes along, it would be easy pickings.
     
  45. tpmchugh

    tpmchugh Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2012
    Messages:
    426
    Likes Received:
    537
    Location:
    Belfast, Ireland
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances (2013)
    Camino Frances (2015)
    I carried €350 cash and a prepaid credit card with €600 on it. I could use it as a credit card or debit card. Regularly left my bags and poles and occasionally my boots outside bars. Only problem I ever had was a red squirrel climbing up onto my bag and refusing to get off :)
     
    CaminoKris2013 likes this.
  46. ryan1son

    ryan1son New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    2
    Camino(s) past & future:
    2014
    Dr. Don ,I start on May 9th from St. Jean, hope, it's getting close.
     
  47. CaminoKris2013

    CaminoKris2013 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    Messages:
    240
    Likes Received:
    225
    Location:
    Bradenton, FL, USA
    Camino(s) past & future:
    (2014)
    Coming from the US, this is concern of mine. Is it possible for me to find a prepaid card at the start of the Camino for me? Concerned also about the atm fees. Any ideas or suggestions?
    Kris
     
  48. november_moon

    november_moon Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    Messages:
    749
    Likes Received:
    1,225
    I am from the US too. There are pre-paid cards available in the US that you could take, but the fees make them a really bad deal for us. If you were to buy a pre-paid card in Spain, you'd have to get money to fund it - either from a credit card or using cash - and if you are going to get cash or use a credit card to buy a pre-paid card in Spain, then you may as well skip the pre-paid card entirely (and the associated fees) and just use cash or credit card to pay your expenses directly.

    The bottom line is that there will almost always be some sort of fee associated with converting money. The key is to limit the fees. Here is what I do:

    1. Cash for day-to-day expenses - food, incidentals, hostels, etc. - use my ATM card. My bank is probably the worst bank for foreign transaction fees in that they charge a $5 per transaction fee and 3% above the interbank exchange rate for the conversion from USD to Euro. Still, this is much cheaper than exchanging currency or using a pre-paid card. To minimize the fees, I take out the equivalent of USD 200-300 at a time - that way my ATM fee works out to about 2%. The Spanish banks don't charge a fee, so your fees are entirely based on what your own bank charges.

    2. For larger purchases - hotel, rental car, some train tickets, etc. - Use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees. Capital One is a popular no-transaction fee card. I have one with Chase affiliated with United Airlines because it also comes with airline perks, but that is because I fly a lot. If you use a card that charges a fee, it will likely be a small percentage - still cheaper than a pre-paid card.
     
  49. biarritzdon

    biarritzdon Veteran Member Donating Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    Messages:
    1,756
    Likes Received:
    3,718
    Location:
    Biarritz and Naples
    Camino(s) past & future:
    CF 2011, CF 2012, CP 2013, CF 2014, CA 2015, S. Anton 2015, CF 2015, CI 2015
    Ditch Pig 2016, CF (2017)
    Perhaps we should open a Templar style bank in France and Spain for Camino pilgrims. :rolleyes: On my first Camino I carried way too much cash in various pockets and I learned later after several stories about thievery that there are not enough places to keep your money safe. I now know there are enough ATM's across Spain to make your trip safe and there is no need to carry more than 300 Euros.
    BTW The rate you pay for withdrawing money is all relative, I live in France and I get ripped off with fees every month by my US and French bank along with having to pay a horrible exchange rate. Suck it up!
     
  50. lynnejohn

    lynnejohn Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Messages:
    1,271
    Likes Received:
    442
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
    MonicaS likes this.
  51. Monya

    Monya Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2013
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    57
    Location:
    Cape Town, South Africa
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Francés (April 2014)
    What is the least offensive way (more than one would be great?) to break a €100 note?
     
  52. mspath

    mspath Veteran Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2009
    Messages:
    5,558
    Likes Received:
    13,665
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
    Monya,

    Good ways would be to buy food supplies or eat in a restaurant. Carrying two 50's is better than a single €100 note. Try to always carry some bills in small denominations; breaking a 50 euro bill in a remote village can be impossible! However, gas stations will often make change even if you don't buy gas!

    Buen Camino,

    Margaret Meredith
     
    David and Monya like this.
  53. alansykes

    alansykes Veteran Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2010
    Messages:
    746
    Likes Received:
    1,438
    Location:
    Cumbria, UK
    Camino(s) past & future:
    VdlP (2010 & 2012), St Cuthbert's (2011), Madrid/Levante (2013),
    Sureste-Fisterra (2014), Deltebre-Padrón (2015), Mozárabe from Almería (2016)
    I get round the problem of large denomination notes by only drawing €80 from the ATM at a time - you (almost) always then get 4 twenties.

    I did almost run out of money when I stupidly forgot to use the ATMs at Baňos de Montemayor. Heading up towards Puerto de Béjar, I realised I had €54 to get me to Salamanca, three days away. Fortunately it was ample, although I did without a cup of coffee and tostada at Valdelacasa and paid for supper at Morille with a credit card, just to be on the safe side.
     
    David likes this.
  54. jeffnd

    jeffnd Active Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Messages:
    470
    Likes Received:
    893
    Location:
    North Dakota, USA
    Camino(s) past & future:
    March/April 2014
    I usually carried about 150 euros on me. I like the advice of bringing over some euros as well. See if you can't get about 10 euros in coins too. I didn't see many vending machines that take bills.
     
    David likes this.
  55. CaminoKris2013

    CaminoKris2013 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    Messages:
    240
    Likes Received:
    225
    Location:
    Bradenton, FL, USA
    Camino(s) past & future:
    (2014)
    Is there a ATM in St. Jean that anyone can suggest?


    Sent from my iPhone using Camino de Santiago Forum
     
  56. falcon269

    falcon269 sidra; no commercial interests

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Messages:
    13,162
    Likes Received:
    13,774
    Location:
    USA
    Camino(s) past & future:
    yes
    You need one that is part of your bank's network. Most will be, but check the sticker postings. There are plenty around including at the post office. They are so common that it is hard to remember where a specific one is.
     
  57. mspath

    mspath Veteran Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2009
    Messages:
    5,558
    Likes Received:
    13,665
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
    Here is a list of the major banks (banques) in SJPdP.

    Caisse d'Epargne St-jean-pied-de-port
    7 Avenue du Jai Alai, 64220 Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France ‎
    +33 5 64 77 00 01 ‎ · caisse-epargne.fr

    Société Générale
    23 Place Charles de Gaulle, 64220 Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France ‎
    +33 5 59 37 06 24 ‎ · societegenerale.fr

    BNP Paribas - Saint Jean Pied De Port
    5 Rue Zuharpeta, 64220 Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France ‎
    +33 820 82 00 01 ‎ · bnpparibas.net


    Crédit Agricole Pyrénées Gascogne
    Rue Sainte-Eulalie, 64220 Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France ‎
    +33 5 59 37 22 27 ‎ · ca-pyrenees-gascogne.fr

    Banque Populaire Aquitaine Centre Atlantique
    14 Avenue du Jai Alai, 64220 Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France ‎
    +33 5 59 49 21 90 ‎ · bpaca.banquepopulaire.fr
     
    CaminoKris2013 likes this.
  58. CaminoKris2013

    CaminoKris2013 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    Messages:
    240
    Likes Received:
    225
    Location:
    Bradenton, FL, USA
    Camino(s) past & future:
    (2014)
    Actually I made sure before I left to get a atm MasterCard. I found that ally bank was the best for me. No ATM charges other than a 1% transaction fee.

    Got 200€ at Atocha and with what I have and need, I should be good to Pamplona at least.

    Kris


    Sent from my iPhone using Camino de Santiago Forum
     
  59. David

    David Veteran Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2006
    Messages:
    1,918
    Likes Received:
    6,813
    Location:
    Weston-Super-Mare, England
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
    Sure, it is a fair sized little town, and is also a tourist town - plenty of cashpoints. Europe uses four numbers as the pin at cashpoints - I assume yours is the same?
    I use my Credit Agricole card outside the bank, just down the road to the left on the way to the railway station from the centre of town - 100 metres from the main high street.
    (or on the right 100 metres before you join the High st!!)
     

Share This Page

This site is run by Ivar at
Casa Ivar
in Santiago de Compostela