Don't assume that your hotel will take cards, though things are steadily improving in this area. Cash is still king in Poland, so make sure you have discussed payment with your hosts before you dash for the plane. Most shops and upmarket restaurants are switching to plastic - look out for Visa/Mastercard stickers (or lack thereof) on restaurant doors.
It can be confusing for visitors to a new country, and unfortunately, there are a few who are all too keen to take advantage of this. Here are some suggestions to help you avoid the common pitfalls.
ATMS (Cash Machines)
Probably the best option available, most of them offer services in English. Rates are generally fair, though your home bank will probably charge you a commission for each transaction. As in any major city, use the normal precautions when taking out money in a public place.
Travellers cheques are not commonly used in Poland so expect fairly long queues in all the major banks. In addition, you normally have to have your details checked at one desk, and collect your money from another. Best avoided if possible.
Bureaux de Change (Kantor)
Bureaux de change in the town centre are notorious for giving hopeless rates. The age old trick is to insert an extra zero on their list of rates. A rate of 5.0889, is easily read as 5.889. Visitors fall for this time and again. Once you are wise to this, have fun spotting all the scammers! Meanwhile shop around and you should get a decent rate of return.
Nigel from United Kingdom Reply
In Zakopane most restaurants took credit cards but for the ski schools and snowmobile places it was strictly cash only. Note that many ATMs wouldn't work with UK bank cards but others would. No real pattern to it, just had to try lots.
Greg from United States Reply
When is Poland changing to the Euro. Or is it at all? Thanks.
Steve from United States Reply
Useful tips Mick.
Mick from United Kingdom Reply
But always use a Kantor, not a bank. The bank charges you commission and it's not the best rate. Oddly enough, when I've stayed in Zakopane my hotel (pension) has given me the best rate.
Joanna Schmidt from United Kingdom Reply
Hey Just read the page about money and kantor( money exchange) the comment you wrote about them using an old trick by adding a zero is very misleading !!!! If the rate is 5,088 thats how they need to display it and not as 5,88 ( 5,88 would be a totaly different amount to 5,088 ) Not everyone in Poland is out to trick you !