|I travel to Poland frequently and in fact will be there in a few weeks for the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, then on to Radom, my family’s hometown, where I will participate in the 10th anniversary celebration of the Jewish Cultural Festival. |
I always use Polish currency throughout Poland, known as the Zloty, which regardless of the rate of exchange, for Americans at least, we do quite well. Food, lodging, etc. tends to be less expensive in Poland anyway, and I am aware that Warsaw has become the destination for many Israeli’s to shop because it is so easy to get to and very economical.
Since you will generally want some zlotys for a cab ride or small bite to eat, if you have not had the chance to exchange some dollars for zlotys at a bank in the U.S., then just do the smallest amount possible at the airport and thereafter the Kanter Exchanges, which are located throughout Poland, sometimes on the same streets. The Exchange rates will often be listed outside in front of the kiosk, or right inside. A variance of one or two here or there will not make a huge impact.
Also, when paying by credit card it is usually better NOT to have the sales clerk convert it into U.S. dollars since the exchange rate via credit card tends to be better.
As for tipping, though many in Poland do not tip or expect to be tipped, I think it is still important to tip since it promotes positive feeling, impressions of foreigners, etc. However, a 10% tip is sufficient, 15% very nice, and 20% generous.
Such is my two-cents worth of advice.
Wishing everyone well,
Sharon Grosfeld, Esquire
Daughter of Holocaust Survivor Walter Grosfeld, from Radom, Poland
Dana Point, California
Two people have asked me about Euros vs. Zlotys in Poland so I’ll reply publicly to this listserv, as this information may be of broader interest.
In this respect, I have a different viewpoint than the official FAQ answer on the meeting website (so I realize some of the FAQ answerers might disagree with me).
The website Q&A reads:
|"Q. ||What is the currency used in Poland?|
| ||A. ||Poland maintains its own currency, the New Polish Zloty, which is approximately the same value as one Israeli New Shekel or about 34 cents US.|
Euros are also accepted but not preferred."
While currency values fluctuate all the time and the conference website can’t be up to the moment on this, over the past three months the value of Polish Zloty has averaged about 29 cents US, not 34 cents. (I think the 34 cent figure is a typo, as I’m not sure the Zloty was ever worth that much.) Having said that, the value of the US dollar has been declining severely against the Polish Zloty over the last year, but the reasons for the decline of the value of the dollar relative to many other currencies are beyond the scope of this listserv. The Zloty does remain worth almost the same amount as the Israeli Shekel.
More importantly for our conference, in my experience, Euros are NOT accepted as cash in most venues in Poland. Poland is, indeed, part of the European Union, but it has preferred to maintain its own currency: the Zloty. The good news is that change booths (“KANTOR”) are ubiquitous in Poland. If you’re stuck with dollars, Euros, rubles, Swiss Francs, or whatever you’d like to change to Zlotys, just ask where is the nearest change booth: "Gdzie jest kantor?” (pronounced G-dgee yest kahntor?). Your hotel clerk will surely understand your question in English as well. When you get to the change booth, offer your non-Polish currency to the clerk and say “Zlotys please”, or if you’re adventurous, try it in Polish and say “Prosze Zloty” (pronounced Pro-she Zwotty) and the clerk will make the exchange for you.
Woodbridge, Connecticut USA
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