Not all of the European Union's 28 member states have adopted the common currency, making things a little more complicated for tourists travelling to the continent.
One in ten Britons admits to having exchanged their pounds sterling for the wrong currency before a trip to a European destination, a new study from International Currency Exchange Plc (ICE) reveals. While many travelers assume that the 28 EU member states have all adopted the euro, 11 of them still use only their local currency, providing ample room for confusion.
ICE, who commissioned the survey of 2,000 travelers during the month of August, encourages tourists to confirm the currency of their destination country before departure. In some cases, ICE notes, the local economy may operate with two different currencies.
Croatia, for example, which recently joined the EU, hopes to replace its local currency with the euro within the next four to five years. Starting this summer, consumers in the country may pay for goods and services in kuna or in euros.
Another detail to keep in mind: Latvia, Lithuania and Denmark are participants in the ERM 2 program (Exchange Rate Mechanism 2), meaning that the value of the Latvian lats, the Lithuanian litas and the Danish kroner are linked to that of the euro. Latvia is on track to adopt the euro starting in 2014.
The Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Sweden and Bulgaria are still awaiting approval from the European Central Bank before they can join the euro zone.
The UK and Denmark, on the other hand, have both made a conscious decision to maintain their traditional currency.