In the last 14 days we have used Croation kuna, Hungarian forint, Polish zloty, Czech koruna and euros.
That is a whole lot of monopoly money to get your head around.
I have stopped counting the number of times I've looked pleadingly over shop counters, my outstretched hands filled with foreign coins, hoping the sales people will count them for me (and not rip me off).
The easiest option is obviously to hand over a note, but after doing that a few times your pants are sagging from the excessive weight of change in your pockets.
It also leaves you somewhat unpopular with the locals, like when we bought a 25 koruna body wash with a 1000 koruna bill. We thanked the woman profusely, but that didn't seem to help. My Czech isn't quite fluent, but I'm pretty sure her angry, spitting reply didn't translate as "You're welcome".
Having got used to 10 cents being New Zealand's lowest coin, it's even more bizarre to suddenly be dealing with one and two cent pieces, which seem pretty unnecessary.
The other big difference is the instinct to go for gold.
I always had a joyous feeling at home when I found a gold coin mysteriously in my pocket, or under the couch cushion - some serious snack cash. But over here I've often found the silver coins have more value, so I'm having to be a wee bit more careful about what I throw into busker's hats - it would probably be wrong to return and swap the coins once I've thrown them in.
Multiple currencies also set you up with ample opportunity to be scammed.
At a bar in Splt, one friend went to buy two ciders and was charged 400 kuna (roughly $NZ85). After recalculating, he went back, had a go at the bartender, and managed to get 360 back.
First time, you could forgive that as a mistake, but we heard about the same thing happening constantly. Clearly drunk tourists are easy targets.
As well as making it a little tougher to work out what money to hand over, the constant currency changes can be expensive.
The very sensible way around that is to convert each currency into NZ dollars. If you do that you each time, you will always know exactly what you are spending, and that you are on budget.
So, obviously, we didn't do that.
Mistake one: Converting to the euro.
Around eastern European countries the local money is often written up with the euro amount, and we didn't always bother to convert the euro into NZ dollar.
Mistake two: Money exchange fees
Trying to guess how much money to get out in each place was difficult and we ended up losing quite a bit because we had to keep exchanging money in new places.
Mistake three: Travelling with Australians
To them everything is cheap, and you can't help but join in with their enthusiasm for spending. Come the end of the trip, our funds were considerably more depleted.
Number three actually reminds me of something I've wanted to have a bit of a whine about for a while. Has anyone been to Australia recently and fallen into that trap of assuming things cost just a little bit more? Using the exchange rate that existed a decade ago, rather than their current money-bags, come-live-here-and-double-your-current-pay-themed exchange rate?
Has anyone else suffered from money exchange troubles?
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