Traveling to Krakow next month. Once I land, where is the most convenient place to get the best exchange rate? Since I can use my VISA in a lot of places (including gas stations, right?), how much cash do I need to keep on me?
Also, where can I easily pick up a local cellular phone that I can use just for the week I am in town, then dump it when I'm done? I have a lot of ground to cover while I am there, so I need to get these two things done quickly. Thanks much!
Money isn't too much of an issue, there are cash machines, and exchange places everywhere. Just keep a couple hundred on you. that shold be heaps.
You may be able to buy a pre-paid sim card at the airport, if not most phone shops will sell them to you.
Using your visa card you will most likely be charged a fee for a foreign transaction and receive a worse rate of exchange. Sometimes It can be quite significant especially the exchange rate difference.
When you spend on a credit or debit card abroad the exchange rate is based on the Visa or Mastercard wholesale rate which is normally good.
Unfortunately, if you read carefully the terms and conditions of your card, there will be a reference to 'foreign usage loading'. This is a commission that your card issuer charges when you buy something abroad.
The amount varies between card issuers and can be as high as 2.75%. So if you are buying something worth $100, using the credit card to do this could add $2.75 to the cost. Factor in the exchange rate sting and it can be 5% more expensive to use a card than cash.
Although if you are just using it at gas stations etc for a week it won't amount to a great deal.
Once you land only change a small amount at the airpot, the rates there are usually not very good, so I'd suggest getting enough to get you to where you want to go and a bit spare and then finding a local Kantor once you arrive at your destination.
The many "Kantor" exchange kiosks are usually the best bet for exchaging cash, you can sometimes negotiate a few groszy in your favour depending on how much you change. Just look out for the signs.
Most card types are accepted, Visa, Mastercard, Visa Plus/Electron both in ATM machines and in stores.