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Eastern Europe, the EU and Euro

addlebrains

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Tags: Europe, euro, eastern europe
  • Added on: June 26th, 2006
Hi there, everybody. This looks like the right place to ask some questions, so I'm going to go ahead and babble forth.

I'm thinking about planning another trip, and at the moment I'm just trying to rule things out and see what'll be feasible. I'll be on an extreme budget for this one (like, bread and Ramen type budget), but I'd like to be able to pull off a trip for a couple of months if possible.

Anyway, I'm looking into Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia...maybe even Turkey. The problem (for me) is, quite a few of these countries are being initiated into the EU if they're not already there, and will be changing over to the Euro soon as a result. The very same Euro that sucked the life out of my bank account on my last trip to Ireland... the Euro I fear more than I would Nosferatu himself.

To me, part of the appeal of eastern/central Europe, aside from the culture and some of the "untouched" areas, was the fact that they were, well, cheaper. Until now. Just as I look into making my plans, they decide they want to up and join the union ...starting January 1st, 2007. If I have enough money, I'm sure I'd be leaving by early '07.

The naive question would be: Is this going to effect economies immediately... I mean, any chance I'd be able to sneak in and still get by using the old currency? Is it probable I'll be paying in blood like I did in Ireland?

And while I'm here (I know you're not travel agents -- sorry) if I were to try to visit four countries or so, including some of the ones I mentioned above, would anyone have a recommendation for how long the trip should be, or how much money bare minimum I'd need? A couple months, $3,000? I'm just trying to wrap my mind around what is possible here.

Sorry for all the questions... and thank you!

seraphim

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  • Added on: June 26th, 2006
Except for Slovenia (which is allready kind of expensive I hear), none of these countries are going to join the Euro any time soon.
Karlien
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Kathryn M

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Joined: June 16th, 2005

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  • Added on: June 27th, 2006
Seraphim is right. The last I heard no more countries will be getting the euro until at least 2010. They have to get their economies to a place where joining the euro won't cause the value to plumet. I believe that joining the EU will just make those countries borders a little easier for you. Not that they would have been terrible anyway.

andrei morosan

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  • Added on: June 27th, 2006
that's an interesting issue. The parity euro/dollar changed a lot in the past few months. My advice , if you travel to eastern europe is to take dollars with you and not to change them in euro. all exchange offices here accept dollars. all countries in eastern europe have their own currency, so you need euro only if you plan to travel to western europe.

if you come to romania , be very careful. we are denominating the notes. the romanian goverment managed to stop the inflation, and this year the old notes and the new ones go together. for example 1 new Leu has the same value as 10.000 old lei. the notes look the same , they have the same aspect and colour.

andrei morosan

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  • Added on: June 27th, 2006
and by the way, (here i second myself). being here (in eastern europe i mean) , prices are LOT cheaper comparring to US for example, and that's why i can not understand your fear.

addlebrains

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  • Added on: June 27th, 2006
Well, I clearly had no idea what the hell I was talking about, but I suppose that's why it's always good to ask.

I assumed since all these articles I'm reading said Bulgaria and Romania in particular were joining as of Jan 1st 07, that the Euro currency would be sure to follow and that things would be changing rapidly.

Thanks for clearing it up, and I appreciate the advice Andrei. I don't believe I'll be going to western Europe if my plan unfolds, so dollars and debit it is.

michey_b

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  • Added on: June 27th, 2006
Just because they join the EU which is better in terms of free movement of people and trade - doesnt mean that they automatically join the currency as well. Hopefully we wont have to join for some time yet. What the lovely people in power of the EU are trying to do is to create a United States of Europe, which is why you might hear about a single constitution, this has been an on going idea sine the 2nd World War, but it will take years to put all this into practice - so yeah go with your dollars -

Michelle

Brambles24601

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  • Added on: June 27th, 2006
quote:
Originally posted by michey_b:
What the lovely people in power of the EU are trying to do is to create a United States of Europe


This is true. A copy can never be as good as the original until you start to really inavate (look at for instance Asian car production). So the Euro will continue to be a less universal currency until the EU straightens itself out.

Many Eastern-European countries have Euro based currencies. For instance BiH and Bulgaria both have a currecny of 1=0.50€ and they stay at that rate--so you will have so impact there but it is nothing like Irelandly expensive.

Suncana

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  • Added on: June 27th, 2006
Yeah, that's right, but just in case you find this useful: Euro is not used in EU exclusively. It's has been the official currency in Montenegro for about 4 years or so, even though Montenegro is not a member or a candidate yet. It's also the currency used in Kosovo. You can pay with Euros in places like Medjugorje and also next season Croatia might start accepting payments in euros to make it easier for tourists (without changing the official currency)... but that won't affect the prices so there's nothing to worry about. Have fun Smile

Capt Steve

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  • Added on: June 27th, 2006
i'm just back from Hungary, Poland, and Latvia. Hungary and Poland are certainly "cheap" from a US perspective, Latvia less so, but still a bit cheaper than western Europe.

here's a decent article about what it takes for the new EU members to be allowed to adopt the euro, and the estimated euro introduction dates for the countries. all subject to change, of course.

gonorth

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  • Added on: June 27th, 2006
I think you will also find that though there will likely be some flow on effect as various countries admitted to the EU (Bulgaria and Romania scheduled for 2007 and Croatia for 2009) qualify to use the Euro, it will still be countries individual economies that will determine domestic pricing.

ie, just because someone might pay E5 for a coffee in Paris or Berlin does not mean that it will be typical of pricing througout the EU.

As indicated in other posts Eastern Europe will still be cheaper for the forseeable future and you will gain from less currency exchange loss in longer term as Euro does become more adopted, but meanwhile as Andrei indicates there will be local currency issues to be aware of.
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andrei morosan

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  • Added on: June 27th, 2006
travelling to romania will be quite an experience.

Hint: try to accomodate to agroturistic pensions, NOT hotels.

addlebrains

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  • Added on: June 27th, 2006
Like via WOOF, andrei? Bet that would be interesting... or catastrophic Smile

"Where the hell is my goat?"
"It looked like it wanted outside!"
"Kill the American!"

Right up my alley

Bobo

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  • Added on: June 28th, 2006
I would not "exchange" dollars. Instead, use your ATM card to withdraw money as needed. You typically get a better exchange and don't have to carry large sums of money with you.

Leif, God of Thunder

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  • Added on: June 29th, 2006
To echo the regally named Bobo, please keep in mind that many independent currency exchange places in Europe are crooked, particularly in Romania. There’s one outside my building and there are screaming episodes almost daily (Indeed, there's one happening right now!) by customers that have been conned by their bait and switch exchange rates. Go to regular banks when exchanging currency.

And yes, ATMs are indeed best. You can withdraw just one or two weeks worth of money at a time. The ATM rates are always optimum and you aren’t stuck hoofing around Europe with huge sums of easily snatchable, irreplaceable wads of cash. There’s usually a per-transaction fee (mine is $2), but I think this price is worth it for the worry-free convenience. Viking
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