Prague is a great city to visit but there are few tourist traps you should be aware of. Usually if you visit Prague as a tourist you need to exchange your currency for the Czech Crowns. This seems to be easy, just look for the next exchange office and buy Crowns. Unfortunately this is the way where you will lose between 20% – 45% of your money.
Exchange offices in Prague have few tricks on how to get your money legally
- High commissions up to 28%
- If you see a big sign « 0% commission » or « best rates », check out the currency rate at their table, you will be surprised how much you can get for your money
- As bad as it sounds, it gets worse, employees at the exchange office make a difference whenever you are a tourist (bad rate) or a local (better rate)
Unfortunately many tourists are not aware of this fact and want to complain after they found out that they were « robed ». You can do that but it won’t help. It is all legal and the exchange offices can change the currency rate as they want. Each « customer » can basically get different rate.
How to get the best value for money?
1. Withdraw from your bank account
I know that there are few fees depending on your bank, but in the end it’s far less than exchanging at the exchange office.
2. Pay with Euros
Many tourists think that the shops and restaurants in downtown Prague don’t accept Euros or have bad exchange rates. This is not true. Most of them will have a better rate and you will get the change back in Czech Crowns, without paying any commission.
3. Pay with your debit/credit card
Often you don’t even need to carry cash in your pocket. There are many places where credit/debit cards are accepted for payment.
4. Exchange at the Bank
There are several Czech banks that will exchange your currency for a much better rate than the exchange offices.
If you have to exchange your currency at the exchange office, please ask in advance what are you going to get for your money to avoid bad surprises.
Here is the list of the tested unethical exchange offices which operate in downtown Prague.
- Company ICE
- Trick = 19,7 % commission
- Company Interchange
- Trick = 28 % commission
- Company Chequepoint
- Trick = sign „Best rates, best deals“ 0% commission
- See rate table 1 EUR = 15 CZK
Tip at the end
If you want to exchange your currency at the Prague Airport. Go to McDonalds and buy a burger, they also accept Euros (return Czech Crowns). You will get a better rate as at the Travelexy exchange office and you save yourself the commission (5%). Quite interesting isn’t it?
In case you are not sure about the exchange rate, you can always check the current rate at the website of the Czech National Bank. Today you will receive 27 CZK for 1 EUR (9.Nov.2015).
The information from this article comes from my own experience. Further data I have collected from a Czech online tv series Praha VS Prachy, which releases short videos on tourist traps and issues in Prague. Unfortunately the videos are not in English, so I allowed myself to briefly summarize the hard facts for you. Here is the link to the mentioned video (some parts are in English). Have a save journey to Prague.
You find this post helpful? Follow me on my Facebook Kuba’s Journeys to get my tips and travel guides for your travel on a budget.