Heidelberg Castle

Travel Germany

For those who have asked to travel vicariously. Explore Germany through photos, video, anecdotes, and quips. You’ll even get to learn some Deutsch along the way.

By the way, your first word is Deutsch.

Example: Ich spreche kein Deutsch. I do not speak German.

p.s. I’m leaving the DSLR behind, so all pictures will be taken with my phone’s camera, for better or worse.

How to pay for stuff in Europe

It turns out much of Europe is more advanced than the U.S. (does it really surprise you?) – at least in terms of financial security. Most U.S. credit cards use a magnetic stripe to identify the card’s information. In Germany and many EU countries, credit cards use a [micro]chip and pin technology.

Chip and pin technology is great for security, but makes paying for things difficult for U.S. travellers who have limited access to this technology. This usually isn’t an issue for those travelling with a tour group, which tend to stay on the beaten path where magnetic stripe cards are still accepted, but does complicate travel for those wanting to¬†live like the locals.

At the time of writing this post, I am only aware of two U.S. cards supporting chip and pin – Barclay Arrival Plus and Chase Sapphire, both of which also have no foreign transaction fees.

For those travelling to Europe, I strongly recommend checking into your payment options at least a month before leaving, so you have time to process your credit application if you need a new card. And remember to let your bank know where you’ll be travelling so they don’t block your card for unusual spending.

In a pinch, Barclay offers an expedited overnight delivery and if your application isn’t instantly approved, you can call a direct-line to expedite the process if you don’t have time to wait.