Fear change? Traveling to Europe could help
Americans fear change – literally. Traveling to Europe, Americans are confronted with the challenge of understanding and adapting to culture, language and the use of coins. The Euro has coins as large as 2 Euros – depending on exchange rate, this can be $3.20. Coins aren’t necessarily the small change that Americans normally consider them.
Of course, the difference is how quickly these coins fill pockets and how quickly they may disappear again. An American in the habit of getting rid of all the coins in his or her possession may find all of the vacations funds wasted in a silver flood of psychologically worthless metal.
Because the coins are worth so much more in Europe than in America, it is harder to break bills to get change. Smaller shops will often ask for smaller bills, and the public transportation system may not let the individual on board if the driver cannot make correct change.
Most of the world’s public transportation requires exact change to get on board. This saves the driver the hassle of trying to make change. It also saves time as people get on and off the bus. Malta is one exception where the bus driver will issue tickets and can sometimes make change. However, get on board with a 5 Euro bill, and you may find yourself in a fight with the driver who does not want to let you on the bus.
For people who live in a country that hasn’t accepted the $1 coin, Europe and its monetary system can be exasperating. While plastic has made inroads into many countries, cash is still king. The glittering on the crown comes from the minted coins of the realm. Americans who are traveling abroad will need to learn to embrace change, to manage change and to create a space for change.