80% of travelers from CEE will be paying digitally during holidays abroad


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Warsaw, June 4, 2024 – This year, 41% of CEE citizens intend to go on holiday abroad and the most popular direction proved to be Italy. On the longest of planned journeys, they plan to spend on average EUR 850 per person, and 80% of travelers will pay by card, smartphone, or smartwatch once there. Also, as many as 1/4 of vacationers from the region intend to pay mobile – all according to the Visa CEE Travel and Payment Intentions Study 2024[1] covering seven countries.

As the latest Visa study shows, the importance of digital payments among CEE consumers is growing. Respondents traveling across borders from the region are increasingly likely to use this method of payment on-site, with card, smartphone, and smartwatch being the most popular choices, picked by 4/5 of tourists (vs 77% in 2023[2]). This practice is especially popular among Hungarians and Romanians (84% and 83% indications respectively).

Consumers have come to expect a highly personalised, intuitive and seamless payment experience – one that enables them to manage their finances in a way that best meets their individual needs, whether they’re buying a coffee, booking holidays, or applying for a loan. Therefore, Visa is constantly innovating to make new and future payment methods and channels better and more accessible to all, ensuring as fast, convenient, and secure payments abroad as at home. In the same terms, travelers from all surveyed CEE countries who use payment card abroad perceive the advantages of its use, pointing in particular to convenience (61%), speed (55%), and safety perceived as no risk of losing cash (54%).

As technology reshapes our world, so also do consumers’ needs and behaviours. Safe, intuitive, and convenient payment methods have to keep pace in this journey. As our study shows, we use our smartphones and smartwatches every day to make payments seamlessly even across borders, transcending physical limitations. Mobile wallets, which are particularly popular with young travelers from CEE (18-25-year-olds), are underpinned by Visa’s systems and technologies. Visa replaces your card data with a unique set of numbers through a technology called tokenisation, which provides an additional layer of security. Thus, their payments are protected no matter where they holidaying, says Kuba Kiwior, Regional Managing Director Central Eastern Europe, Visa.

Most of the CEE residents who are planning a holiday abroad this year decide on the payment method before departure (75%). If they are traveling to a country with a different currency, as many as 53% plans to use the same card as they use at home. Hungarians and Romanians are in turn the most likely to decide to switch to another card. Three out of five CEE travelers who are also card users abroad will opt for one that is linked to a multi-currency account.

Interestingly, as many as 17% of travelers from CEE countries who book accommodation or transport services further indicate that they have been refunded at least once in the last 12 months by a foreign entity to their payment card due to cancellation, delay, or non-use of the service. This means that not only is money circulating the world as people do, but also that the digital revolution is transforming the money movement, the sources of which are increasing.

The appetite for travel is not waning

This year, over 40% of Central and Eastern Europe residents are going to enjoy holidays abroad, taking a rest mostly in Europe. The respondents want to especially visit Italy, Greece, and Croatia. Outside our continent, almost every fourth Bulgarian will go to Asia, mostly it will be Turkey (20%), and Poles and Czechs will often go to Africa, mostly to Egypt. On average, CEE travelers will be holidaying for 8 days, spending time relaxing (61%), and sightseeing (56%). Also, two out of three travelers from the region will take a trip abroad once or twice this season. In every country studied, compared to 2023, the number of people for whom inflation and the rising cost of living would be an obstacle in undertaking the journey decreased by at least 11%[3].

Over half of trips planned this year by travelers from CEE will be organized independently, and Hungarians point to this type of journey particularly often (65% of travels). When planning a trip, the e-commerce channel is readily used – Visa’s research indicates that for independent travel, services such as accommodation (66%) or transport (39%) will be purchased this way. For both of these services, the most popular payment method proved to be the payment card. This form of holiday arrangement – so planning & booking on one’s own is the most popular way to plan a trip among all CEE countries.

As many as 36% of travels planned by CEE travelers will take the form of package holidays, with 42% of such trips being bought online using the website of a travel agency, 22% through aggregator platforms, and 36% in-store. As with independent travels, for package holidays card is also the most commonly indicated payment method when making an online purchase.

Spendings & preferences

On average, CEE travelers plan to spend just under EUR 850 per person for the longest trip abroad, but spendings vary from slightly over EUR 700 in Bulgaria to nearly EUR 1000 per person in Poland. Interestingly, people from the region are keen to spend money mainly on food and drinks, entertainment, and souvenirs when on a trip abroad. Using Visa credentials, travelers can enjoy paying for such pleasures in millions of places worldwide, in more than 180 currencies.

It is also worth noticing that Romanian (28%) and Hungarian (24%) travelers are most eager to pay more for ecofriendly solutions when traveling, while Slovaks (14%) and Poles (16%) are the least compelled to do so. In turn, over one-third of Poles and Croatians clearly declare they would be more inclined to be ecofriendly during travel if it gave them savings.


Payments abroad

When paying with Visa or withdrawing cash from an ATM abroad, travelers can choose whether to pay in the local or home currency. Choosing the local currency may mean a more favorable exchange rate.

Favorable exchange rates

Paying with Visa abroad can be more cost-effective than buying currency at an exchange office.

Peace of mind

Paying with Visa abroad provides a peace of mind, as domestic and international payments are protected by a number of different methods.


Visa payments abroad are protected from fraud thanks to the same high-tech systems that protect payments at home. Therefore, they are secure no matter where you pay.


Using Visa's simple and convenient payment methods allows people to travel without unnecessary burdens.

Wide acceptance network

Visa makes it easy and convenient to pay worldwide at more than 130 million merchant locations in over 200 countries and dependent territories – wherever the Visa logo is displayed.


About Visa

Visa (NYSE: V) is one of the world’s leader in digital payments, facilitating transactions between consumers, merchants, financial institutions and government entities across more than 200 countries and territories. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, convenient, reliable and secure payments network, enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. We believe that economies that include everyone everywhere, uplift everyone everywhere and see access as foundational to the future of money movement. Learn more at Visa.pl.

[1] All data used in this press release comes from Visa CEE Travel and Payment Intentions Study 2024 if no other source is indicated. The study covered the following countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. It was conducted by the research company GFK Polonia – a NIQ company in April 2024 on a representative sample of 1,000 respondents (18-65 years) in each of these countries.

[2] According to Visa CEE Travel and Payment Intentions Study 2023, which covered the following countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. It was conducted by the research company Kantar in March 2023 on a representative sample of 1,000 respondents (18-65 years) in each of these countries.

[3] Compared to the results of Visa CEE Travel and Payment Intentions Study 2023, which covered the following countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. It was conducted by the research company Kantar in March 2023 on a representative sample of 1,000 respondents (18-65 years) in each of these countries.