It turns out you can travel just about anywhere in the world without ever having to handle an actual bill or coin.
Many people traveling through Europe have noticed that lots of places actually don’t even accept cash anymore. We Don’t Accept Cash signs can be found across Europe, and even in South Africa. The ritual of obtaining local currency at a bank at home before heading off or an ATM at the destination now seems almost obsolete. Consumers and the travel industry are both responsible for paving the road to cashless travel. As a society, Americans have become very familiar with cashless payments–from your morning coffee to using Venmo to tip the local street performer, there’s less and less need for physical dollars in one’s pocket.
Travel industry research firm Phocuswrite hints that paying with a tap of a card or phone is expected to persist. In other words: we won’t be going back to the good ol’ days of a pocket full of Kroners and Euros and Dollars. Another reason cashless travel took off in recent years has to do with hygiene: mid-pandemic, people felt more comfortable using their phone than a bill that had been in the hands of hundreds of others.
If you are heading abroad this summer, there are a few instances you will still need cash: tips and restrooms. Plus, if you’re using a car, tolls on the road often accept exclusively cash.