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Old 02-01-2007, 19:05   #1
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Finances in the Bahamas

We are heading over to the Bahamas in a few weeks and need ideas on money for our trip. Should we take several hundred dollas in cash or will our credit and debit cards take care of most of our cash needs?

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Old 02-01-2007, 19:30   #2
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Credit cards can be used in most places like Nassau, Freeport, Marsh Harbor and even Georgetown. But most out islands and grocery stores will want cash. You can get cash advances on credit cards if there is a bank on the island. So depending on your itinerary you will need both.
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Old 02-01-2007, 20:26   #3
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I take cash to the Bahamas for all my "planned" spending, then have plastic for emergencies.

The planned is usually custom and immigration ($150),
marina for check-in ($25) lobster dinner and drinks ($75.00) Diesel fuel for half the return trip ($60)
some other misc expenses ($40 or 50).

The above covers a 4 week trip from Florida to the Exumas and back, less than $400.00 and easily carried in cash.
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Old 02-01-2007, 21:07   #4
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CSY. are you saying that all that you need is $100 a week?
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Old 02-01-2007, 21:18   #5
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Quote:
CSY. are you saying that all that you need is $100 a week?
Yeah, that is what I am saying, but the boat is loaded with food and booze for the 4 week trip.

Made a shopping list last year that topped out @ $1K, but lots of tendreloin filets and premium drinks, etc.

Also lots of stuff leftover when returning. Could have done the trips much cheaper with just soup and pasta and baking own bread.

Don't go to any marinas except to check in. Much more pleasant and quited in a sheltered anchorage and cheaper.
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Old 03-01-2007, 01:58   #6
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Take enough smaller bills ($1 & $5 - NO $50/$100), to ensure you get appropriate change on your purchases.
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Old 03-01-2007, 06:04   #7
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We carry cash and stow it about the boat in $500 baggies. If someone uninvited comes in, I don't want it all in one place.

We have had no problem breaking $100 bills.

We use plastic when we can to conserve cash which we feel is best for an emergency.

Some businesses will charge you a fee of 3% or so to use a credit card.

Banks on many islands are only open one day per week. I have seen lines a block long to do business at the bank in George Town.

In addition to the cash, we carry $500 each in travelers checks on our persons as a fall back in case the boat is raided.

This has worked well for us. We have come home with cash and all travelers checks each year.

You will get a lot of Bahamian money in change. It can be tricky getting rid of it when headed home. Most places will give you U.S. currency in change if they have it.

Scotia Bank seems to have more branches in the Bahamas than anyone.

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Old 03-01-2007, 07:06   #8
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We always take cash. Accepted anywhere. I don't like using my credit cards while cruising because my bills are paid by my daughter and I don't get to see them until six months later so if there's any errors it's too late to dispute them. If you don't have a lot of cash take at least $300 for clearing in.
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Old 03-01-2007, 07:11   #9
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You can check your credit card charges on line and the number of Wi-Fi hot spots is growing all the time.

We had a double charge from a marina, saw it on the on-line AMEX statement, made a call and it was resolved at once.

You don't have to wait 6 months to see a statement.

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Old 03-01-2007, 07:15   #10
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While we are on the subject, sign up with a bank that has on-line banking. You can see your statements, transfer funds, and even pay bills on line. Improving technology and communications are making many of the old "givens" about cruising obsolete.

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Old 03-01-2007, 07:39   #11
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George,

All my bills are paid online or by direct deposit except a US $ Visa which cannot be fit in the system of one of the largest banks in Canada. Can you imagine that. If you've ever tried to resolve a payment you'll know you get stuck in voice mail hell and sometimes it takes days. Also there's no such thing as free 800 numbers and even though Batelco rates have come down it's still in the order of 50 cents a minute! Imagine waiting in a queue for 10 minutes and then being cut off and having to start all over again! When cruising I might go online once a month, as you might be aware wifi is not the best in the Exumas and non existent in the Jumentos. It took me two hours to book a flight in Sampson Cay last year. In GT if someone's on Skype it slows to nothing at Bal Sound Electronics. I take my computer mainly to load pictures. I do not feel the need to be connected all the time while I'm cruising. That's why I use cash.
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Old 03-01-2007, 08:25   #12
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Valid points and to each his own. FWIW there is now another Wi-Fi provider in George Town with signal that reaches the docks and most of "down town", $5/day or $40/month. Beats $3 an hour at Bal Sound.

It is frustrating to get caught in voice jail but despite minor irritations and a few bucks in BATELCO cards, we have been able to resolve an issue on a credit card, registration of Capn Voyager on a new laptop, etc.

We use a credit cards a lot so we don't carry as much cash to reduce loss risk.

You mentioned Skype, now your calling anywhere in the world for about $0.03/min. All this assumes you will be near a Wi-Fi hot spot once every 2 to 3 weeks. In the Jumentos, that is not possible. I do think my credit card companies would still act if I complained about a charge from a couple of statements ago. I just don't think it is the problem it used to be.

The biggest risk to using credit cards is identity theft and, personally, I think that risk is greater in the good old US of A than it is in the Bahamas.

As I said, to each his own. There is no single one solution that is right for every cruiser on any issue.

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Old 03-01-2007, 08:56   #13
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I just got a satphone

For our communications and weather info while in the Bahamas. I don't have SSB plus we need to have voice comunications with our mothers. Neither of them are well and we may have to head home on short notice. Hopefully that won't be an issue.
If the phone operates as advertised, we'll be able to access the internet for e-mail, weather files and checking bank statements.

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Old 03-01-2007, 09:10   #14
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Neat. What sat service did you get?

George
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Old 03-01-2007, 09:28   #15
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I bought the Globalstar phone

I also have ordered the 2700 minute annual package that makes the cost .29 per minute. I've been told by Globalstar that 2 new satellites have been/will be launched in Jan for better coverage in the Bahamas.
I have a lot of learning to do before we get there.

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