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Old 23-04-2010, 13:11   #1
Cap
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Cruising Finances

Hi All,

I may not have this in the right place, and it may be a stupid question, but thought I would ask anyway.
I haven't done any sailing that takes me off the US coast yet and was wondering how everyone takes care of buying things when cruising. Is the dollar pretty much accepted everywhere, or do you have to do an exchange wherever you go?

Thanks...Jeff
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Old 23-04-2010, 13:29   #2
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Originally Posted by Cap View Post
Hi All,

I may not have this in the right place, and it may be a stupid question, but thought I would ask anyway.
I haven't done any sailing that takes me off the US coast yet and was wondering how everyone takes care of buying things when cruising. Is the dollar pretty much accepted everywhere, or do you have to do an exchange wherever you go?

Thanks...Jeff
There are no stupid questions; only stupid answers.

The dollar is accepted almost nowhere other than Panama and a few Caribbean countries and tourist destinations. But you can change your dollars into whatever local currency, so by all means, take them with you. And your credit cards will work. You credit card company will make the exchange automatically, at a rate highly favorable to themselves.
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Old 23-04-2010, 20:30   #3
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I don't know what few caribbean countries your talking about but everyone I've been to readily accepted dollars. I've also traveled in Europe extensively and found almost everyplace will exchange dollars.

But, my answer to the op is to use a bank ATM card. Just go to a cash machine and it spits out local cheese. There are some credit cards which have low fee's when you make purchases, but for anything under $100 I think it's less to withdrawal money from an ATM once and use it as you go.
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Old 23-04-2010, 21:40   #4
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Most everywhere will take your US Dollars - but - you will be marked as a naive "day-tourist". They will exchange your US dollars sometimes fairly and sometimes at a not so fair rate. ATM machines are as prolific as T-shirt shops now so getting local currency is not a problem. If you set up your finances to be accessible via the internet, your banking is simpler than getting your anchor up and out of the mud after too many days in a paradise anchorage. ATM's, WiFi, Cell Phones, all the modern electronic world is at your fingertips anywhere in the Caribbean and most everywhere else on the planet these days. Besides getting a strictly ATM card and a couple of credit cards; also get a "Quad-band" unlocked cellphone (available cheap on the internet) before you leave. At each island you simply buy a local SIM card (really cheap on most islands), slip it into the phone and you have instant communications with local businesses and cruising friends. Also get an "amplified WiFi" external antenna and you will have internet access from inside your boat just about everywhere.
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Old 23-04-2010, 21:50   #5
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That's great advise on the phone. I just bought one in Sint Maarten and then took it to Switzerland. As you say, change the sim card and good to go. Make sure to get the quad band.
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Old 24-04-2010, 16:47   #6
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Don't know about Stateside but whats catching on here are the pre paid credit cards now available in currencies of choice at very good rates.. with a few of them you get free at the counter swipe transactions, and a flat 2% rate on your withdrawal at ATMs... many supermarkets in Europe offer a withdrawal service at the till which is simply totted on to your bill... costing you nothing.
Just make sure its nothing to do with American Express as they're not that popular.. a quick search on the Web should put you right.. and you can top up on line from your account.
As to dollars in the Caribbean.. they'll take them a lot more eagerly than they'll accept the pound or euro...
Some places like Venezuela have a thriving black market offering way over the local exchange.
The phone's an excellent idea that I've used a for a while..
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Old 24-04-2010, 19:10   #7
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Those cards are nice boatman. When we buy them we get them in the highest denomination available as it is the best percent per dollar rate. The only thing I'm not sure about is what happens when you use them in a foreign country. I would guess that the fee's at that point are the same as a regular card so you end up paying for the card and then paying for the transaction.
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Old 24-04-2010, 20:02   #8
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Don't know about outside Europe yet as I've only been working the
UK-Euro-Uk routine for the last couple of years and they've only recently started getting really competetive, but one or two dont charge for shop/hotel transactions but do charge 2% for ATM transactions.. which is better than most except the Debit Cards..
Start of with say $500 then if more is needed top up on line using the internet banking service.. but stick to the main international currencies in the Island States where favour can vary..
And the beauty is you can carry 3-4 or 5 different currencies at the best rates and access goods/cash with minmum fuss and expense.
I love em.. so far
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Old 03-05-2010, 09:37   #9
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Lots of interesting advice here. One thing I can add is to not convert too much into local currency because when it comes time to check out there are fees for converting back into dollars again. Plus you'll be stuck with any local coins you're holding when you leave.
...Jim
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