Currency values fluctuate from country to country. The Euro, denoted by the € symbol (or EUR), has simplified traveling among many European countries. Before the Euro, exchanging money was time-consuming and costly. Fortunately, all coins and banknotes in the euro system can be used throughout the Euro zone. Countries currently using the Euro include Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
Most European countries levy a form of sales tax called a value-added tax (VAT). International shoppers can apply for a refund of the VAT on certain goods purchased. Always ask the place of purchase if they participate in the VAT refund program. Keep your receipts and ask which forms you need to fill out at the time of purchase. Be prepared to show the goods to customs officials at your point of departure from the European Union.