I am often asked about important money tips to consider when traveling to Hungary. Here are a few of the ones I’ve figured out over my years of international travel:
- Contact your bank or AAA before you leave if you want to have some Hungarian forints (HUF) in your pocket as you land in Hungary, or you can exchange a small amount of money at the airport. Just keep in mind you won’t get the best exchange rate at the airport so don’t exchange all the money you brought from home, just enough to tide you over until you get to town!
- Money exchange places are in Budapest and the larger cities. Exchange money before you go to the countryside because not every place takes a credit card. But, do not go to the ones called INTERCHANGE that have an orange sign. They are notoriously more expensive.
- Be sure to call your credit card companies and tell them to note on your account when and where you will be traveling internationally, including the countries you are connecting through on your way to Budapest if you do not have a direct flight. If your credit card company thinks your card or card number has been compromised, they will shut it down. Bring along more cash than you think you need.
- If you will have a layover in a European country that uses Euros, don’t stress about having euros as long as you have a credit card without foreign transaction fees. My time is typically so short at the airports I just use my credit card for food and souvenir purchases and I don’t mess with Euros at all.
- Bring a combination of cash and credit cards. DO NOT bring travelers checks or money orders because you cannot cash them in Hungary. Make sure your credit card has a chip, doesn’t have foreign transaction fees, and please set up and remember your pin code! Also, that important number on the back of your card to call in case you lose it or it is stolen? Make sure you have that number with you separate from your card! American Express and Discover cards are not widely accepted. If you are planning to spend some time out in the countryside it is best to plan on using Hungarian forints for transactions. Most small family businesses do not accept credit cards.
- Always keep 150-200 HUF with you when you travel in Hungary. While coffee shops and restaurants are required to have restrooms (WC) for their patrons there are many places where there is a fee to use the WC.
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