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The Czech Republic is a European Union member state, but like neighboring Poland, the Czech Republic does not use euros. The Czech Crown koruna is the national currency of the Czech Republic. Since the end of communism in 1989 and subsequent split with Slovakia in 1993, the Czech Republic has transformed into a modern European economy.
Like so many destinations in the region, westernization in recent years has lifted the living standards, monthly salaries and daily costs, which in turn has increased expenses for travelers. Although the Czech Republic is not as cheap as it used to be, with local know-how and a bit of travel savviness, your visit there doesn’t need to be expensive, either.
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People traveling to the Czech Republic will find that debit, credit and travel cards can be used throughout the country, especially in major cities such as Prague, Brno and Ostrava. Visa, Mastercard and American Express products can be used for purchases and at ATM machines (bancomats) for withdrawals.
In Prague, cards are accepted at restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, retailers, train and metro stations. Bars and small eateries are cash only. Outside the capital and cities, you’ll need cash more often. Most Czech banks don’t charge ATM usage fees (non-bank affiliated ATMs generally will) so a product which waives the currency conversion fee and international ATM withdrawal fee is most suited for a trip to the Czech Republic.
While emergency cash assistance from companies such as Visa and Mastercard can give you the money in your account if your card is lost or stolen, this request can take a up to a couple of days to process. Travel friendly debit cards combine some of the benefits of a travel card minus the fees. You might want to take a credit card so you can access an emergency line of credit — there will also be times when you’ll need to put down a credit card as a security deposit.
Look for a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® that waives the fee for foreign transaction . This card features complimentary travel insurance when you charge your flight. It also protects you with anti-fraud guarantees. Avoid using your credit card to withdraw cash if possible. This will be considered a cash advance and will cost you a fee and will attract high interest immediately.
A travel friendly debit card provides a cheap way to buy things over the counter and make withdrawals from ATMs overseas. Look for debit cards that don’t charge for international ATM withdrawals and don’t charge a currency conversion fee. ATMs in the Czech Republic don’t charge a local ATM operator fee.
According to a report published in the New Europe Investor, the Czech Republic is the number one country in the European Union for contactless card payments, so load your credit cards onto your smartphone for simple payments.
Unfortunately, no US travel cards allow you to load and spend in Czech koruna.
While cards are widely accepted, there are a handful of times when you’ll need cash — markets, hole in the wall bars, small transactions at some stores and rural areas are all cash only.
Although traveler’s checks are not a popular way to carry funds to another country any more, traveler’s checks can be cashed at banks and exchange offices in Prague and the Czech Republic.
A full member of the European Union since 2004, The Czech Republic has yet to introduce the euro as the official currency. The euro acts as a kind of unofficial currency in the Czech Republic, often readily accepted, sometimes even more than cards. Unless you are sure of the exchange rate between the euros and the koruna, you should pay with koruna to be sure you get the best rate.
It is likely that your bank can sell you koruna before you travel. You can also buy koruna from Travelex and other foreign exchange providers in shopping centers and airports. The main difference between a provider like Travelex and your bank is that the bank fees are often much lower.
It is easy to get cash exchanged in Prague and all over the Czech Republic, even in smaller towns. Look for the word “valuty” meaning change. Some exchange places will charge a flat fee for the service and others will charge a commission.
A commission is more suitable if you are changing a small amount of money and a fixed rate is better for larger amounts.
Stay away from the exchange places in the Old Town, Wenceslas Square and other tourist centers as they often have poorer exchange rates and higher commission designed just for tourists. Banks generally charge two percent.
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Although the Czech Republic still enjoys a lingering reputation as a bargain destination, in reality prices have risen considerably in recent years. Travelers will still find it rather affordable in comparison to western European countries. Budget travelers can get around the city for as little as $40 a day, while midrange travelers should plan on budgeting $90 or more. All prices are in US dollars.
$15–$25 per night
|2 star hotel|
$50 per night
|5 star hotel|
$200 per night
|Meals||Trdelnik/ Kürtőskalács/ Kurtosh (Rolled Pastries) $2–$2.50|
$8–$20 per dish
$100 a head
|Activities||Walk Charles Bridge —|
one of the most beautiful bridges
in the world — at dawn or dusk
|Private guided walking tour of Prague|
Appr. $15 per hour (prices can vary depending
on the size of your group)
|Prague communism and nuclear bunker tour|
$30 per person
*Prices are approximate and based on summer seasonality and are subject to change.
Greg visited the Czech Republic for the first time on his last trip to Europe. He started his trip in Prague and visited Kutna Hora, Plzen (the home of Pilsner!) and Cesky Krumlov.
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If you are planning Czech adventure, make sure your vacation is protected against the unexpected, with the help of travel insurance. Travel insurance can provide you and your family with protection from the unknown. Situations protected by travel insurance include:
Don’t let accidents, illness or travel delays ruin your Czech vacation. Compare travel insurance policies today.Back to top
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