I typically have some notes of the major currencies I am frequently using at home. I just feel it is very handy to be able to pay a metro ticket, a bottle of water or a short taxi ride right after you arrived somewhere without the urge of having to search for an ATM.
During the last months, however, it happened to me quite often that I just could not use my reserve money any more:
- Just in London, I found out that all Scottish notes I have in my purse and one English one is invalid
- In November in Sweden, I have been told that I cannot pay any more with that kind of Krona note
- In February in Madrid, it hasn’t been about bank notes, but about metro tickets (which is even worse somehow): they fully moved to magnetic cards so that I could not use my multi-ride tickets any more which I just bought a couple of months earlier.
The metro ticket money has been lost – for all other notes, you have to go to a bank (here in London, it took me three banks to get the money changed – some require an account…). If you just have a weekend trip with banks closed, this may be quite challenging.
Great Britain is by the way maybe the worst “invalidator” of money, as money may be invalid, even if it is valid:
- Even in London, you have to remind some shops that they also have to accept Scottish and Wales money
- Last year, when I have been to Gibraltar, they accepted the Gibraltar Pound and the English Pound. Scottish and Welsh money is invalid.
- Vice versa, Gibraltar Pound (yes, we are speaking about one country) is invalid in all the remaining UK. If you are very lucky, you may have an exchange to the local pound… But despite the noninal is a 1:1 exchange rate, you will easily loose 10 per cent by that.
I do understand the need to make money more safe against frauds. Nevertheless for travellers, it often very painful. I would like to have some European regulation for that reason that old money, train tickets, whatever should be valid for a certain period (at least in a way that you can easily refund / change them).