I am of the opinion that cash is king when traveling abroad. Not every restaurant, shop, or gas station takes credit card so having cash is of utmost importance to me. I recently rented a car in Italy, my first time renting in Europe. I’ve always found that it was too much of a hassle, plus European public transit is often very reliable and connected.
Renting the car presented a whole host of new scenarios. One of which being the need to fill the car up with fuel.
Sounds like a pretty basic problem or not a problem at all, right?
Well, if you aren’t experienced with buying fuel in Europe, it can be tricky and confusing. One of the issues I found was selecting the right type of fuel. On my dashboard, the rental agency printed “Diesel/Gazole”.
Perfect, the work is done for me.
Think again! I get to the pump and I am presented with three options: SenzaPB, Diesel+, and Gasolio. I went with Gasolio because it was the closest to Gazole. After filling up I thought to myself, “Oh S***, maybe it was supposed to be Diesel+?”. Granted, this was late at night and no attendant was nearby.
Immediate panic set in. I thought I had just filled my Diesel vehicle up to the brim with the wrong type of fuel.
I thought I put the wrong type of fuel in my rental car in Italy and may have continuously peed myself for a few minutes until I figured out I was okay.
— Dom Perilli (@theshortfinal) July 14, 2018
After confirming with people in the know, Gasolio means diesel so I was good to go.
Now about credit cards
Each time I went to use a credit card at a gas station that was unstaffed, meaning no attendant or cashier present, the card got declined unless it was a Chip & PIN card — a card that you actually had to enter a PIN for.
The only card I had with me that was a Chip & PIN card was my Diner’s Club corporate card. I tried my AMEX Platinum, nothing; Barclay’s Arrival Plus, nothing; Citi AAdvantage Business, nothing.
Then one day I went to a gas station that had an attendant present. I tried my Arrival Plus card and it worked!
After doing a bit more research, I realized this is all purposeful:
Again, this was my first time paying for gas in Europe so for me it was all a new experience. With that said, I know every country is different so I’m curious to know if you’ve had an experience like this?