Before you begin your journey to Spain, you should know what costs you will come across as you travel the country, and the best way to pay the least amount of "extra fees", including exchange rate fees, bank fees, and credit card fees. You will find banks in every city, from major cities to small villages, with branches to exchange U.S. Dollars for Euros. The exchange rate will be at whatever it is that day and the Spanish bank will charge you a small fee. All banks also offer ATM machines, where you can take money out of your U.S. account. When using the ATM to pull out money, the Spanish bank will charge you a fee as well as your U.S. Bank. To find out what the current Euro vs. U.S. Dollar rate is, please visit XE.com. You should also consider contacting your U.S. Bank before your departure to see what fees they charge, when you use your card out of the country. Also let them know you wil be using your card in Spain, so they do not place a block on your account.
Whether you have a lot of money to spend on your vacation or are on a tight budget, you still want to pay as little as possible on money exchange fees and credit card fees. We recommend that you don't change your U.S. dollars to Euros at the airport, as they place a "Hefty" exchange rate fee. Its best to change your money at a bank in the states or at a bank in Spain. They will give you the best currency rate and charge a minimal exchange rate fee. Some of the top and most trusted banks in Spain are: BBVA, CAM, La Caixa, Caja de Ahorros de Madrid, Banco Santander, Bancaja, and Unicaja.
Visa and MasterCard (including debit cards that display a Visa or MasterCard logo) are widely accepted at most hotels, restaurants, and museums, and some even accept American Express. When using your credit card in Spain, you will get the best possible exchange rate, however your U.S. bank will charge you an "International Exchange Fee" for every transaction that you make (it usually consist of 3% of the transaction). If you use your credit card often in Spain, the charges can add up quickly. We suggest you only use your credit card to pay for Hotels, Rental Cars, and other major purchases. Paying with the Euros that you exchanged at the bank will save you the most money on bank fees, and is the most cost-effective way to get around the country.
Since Spain is the second most visited country, there are many outsiders that come to Spain to steal from tourist. Never show off your money or credit cards, and always be aware of your surroundings. Always keep your money in your wallet or purse and always have it close to you. Most thefts to tourist occur in major cities like: Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla and Valencia. In the smaller villages, there is usually no concern on outsiders stealing from tourist.