So I'm gearing up for a roughly 6-week trip to Europe early next year (Poland and one so-far undetermined eastern/central European country), but there's one big thing I'm still trying to figure out: how to carry around spending money for that time without hanging a giant sign on myself saying "mug me, please!".
The scenario is this: I haven't got a credit card, and only have a Canadian bank account. Ideally, I'd be able to use my Canadian debit card to make purchases (it's EMV, which I know is widely-accepted in Europe), but I also know that this may not be an option. Given that I'm going to be gone for roughly 6 weeks, and living out of my backpack for a good chunk of that time, it's been recommended that I bring anywhere between 1000 and 2000 euro with me, and I feel extremely uncomfortable carrying that much cash on my person (or storing it somewhere I don't trust, like at a hostel - and I can't afford hotels).
One thing I've been considering is only carrying a small amount of it and periodically topping up at ATMs, but that depends on how much I'd pay in ATM fees - are there any BMO Bank of Montreal customers out there who know how much I'd get dinged for using a European ATM? I know I paid a comparatively hefty fee when I had to go to the States and use an ATM there.
Are there alternate solutions? Given that I'm only going to be gone for 6 weeks, opening a European bank account isn't really practical (even though I also have Polish citizenship).
If it matters, my debit card can be used on the Cirrus, Maestro, and Interac networks - how many PoSs in Europe actually support these? I know that, in Canada, support for Interac is almost universal at retail endpoints.