There are a few useful tips to keep in mind when traveling to Romania in terms of currency, prices and money in general.
The first thing to know is that, here, euros don’t work. AT ALL! Even though this is an EU country you won’t get to use euros, only the national money which is “lei” – plural and “leu” – singular.
Of course the currency rate fluctuates here, but if you need to have an approximate idea about what you spend in terms of euros or dollars you need to know this:
1 euro (EUR) is about 4.5 lei (Romanian currency) to 5 lei. Other way put – 1 leu is about 0.22 euro to 0.30 euro.
1 dollar (USD) is about 3.2 to 3.5 lei. Other way put – 1 leu is 0.30 to 0.35 dollars.
Also, here are the bank bills:
Here are the coins.
All the coins are subdivisions of the “leu” unit, so they are called “bani” (which actually means money in Romanian). If you have two copper reddish coins (2 X 5 bani) it equals one “silverish” one. Five “silverish” coins (5 X 10 bani) equals one golden and larger one. Two golden ones (50 bani X 2) equals one leu – you can see it up above – it is the green bill.
Where to change your money into lei
There are many ways to change your money into lei but I am going to talk about the safest ones. So, it is better to arrive in this country with euros, dollars or pounds. It is the easiest way to have your money exchanged. Also, the safest way to get your lei is to have your money exchanged at a bank. In almost all the cities and towns of Romania you can find at least a bank. Never change your money in an unofficial way, like on the street with help from strangers regardless of what they tell you.
Besides banks, you can also have your money changed at exchange offices. Many are genuine and commission free. However, if you want to out any doubt that you could enter a scheme of some sort, choose a trusted bank.
Using your credit card in Romania
Using your credit card in Romania is like in any other european country. Just make sure before you leave home that your credit card works abroad and ask especially for Romania. This advice is consistent with any country you travel to, not only Romania. For example, as I was preparing to visit Holland, I found out at the bank that my ING credit card will work in all the countries on the way, but it might not work in Holland.
You will also find many ATMs in Romania. However, not all of them are safe. Try going to the ones that are attached to a bank office or in a mall, subway and any other place with a security camera.
The only inconvenience in Romania when having your money on the credit card is that not all the stores have a system of reading credit cards, not all the restaurants or the museums. It is better to have cash in your wallet when you go visiting and save your credit card for the hotel services.
Prices in Romania
Because Romania isn’t yet in the euro zone prices are cheaper than in other countries of Europe. The only prices that compete with the ones abroad are the hotels’. So, to have an idea of what kind of prices you’ll find in Romania here are some examples in Bucharest. In the rest of the country it is even cheaper.
1 bread – 0.25 euros to 0.50 euros
10 eco eggs – 3 euros
1 yogurt – 0.5 euros
1 coca-cola in restaurant – almost 2 euros
1 pizza – almost 4 euros
2 tickets for the subway – 1 euro
Taxi drive from the outskirts of Bucharest to the center of the city – 6-7 euros