We will be spending about 3 days in Vancouver, BC before our cruise on the Vision of the Seas next month. Would we be better served to convert US dollars to Canadian dollars for our purchases in Vancouver? Or should we leave the cash in our bank account and just use the debit card? The big things like the hotel and car rental will be on our credit card, but I was thinking about things like our shopping, the restaurants, admission tickets to shows and parks, ferry ride to Vancouver Island and things like that. What's best, hard Canadian cash, or my US bank account debit card? Thanks!
Majesty of the Seas - 10/03 & 02/07 & 11/08
Enchantment of the Seas - 10/04 & 10/11
Mariner of the Seas - 10/05
Vision of the Seas - 10/06 & 09/07
Carnival Liberty - 10/07
Adventure of the Seas - 9/08
Ruby Princess - 12/09
Voyager of the Seas - 9/10
Carnival Spirit - 11/10
Oasis of the Seas - 9/13
If your choices are credit card, debit card or cash I would go in this order;
Credit Card - As Dean says yo have some protection and widly excepted (depending on type of card, Visa, MC or American Express)
Cash - Yes we still take that.
Debit Card - although widly accepted many of our Bank machines charge service fee for forgien cards. EG. I am a Royal Bank customer and I get a service fee for using my card in a CIBC Bank machine. Anywhere from $1.25 - $3.00 per transaction. This applies on cash withdrawls mainly. Also we mainly only take Cirrus or Interac Cards. So you need to be sure you card is compliant.
When we travel to American cities we keep a little US cash on hand for taxis, tips etc. otherwise go plastic. Same thing for you in Canada. It is not so much of an issue at present as Canadian dollar is now over .95 US and probably will go higher.
We find that the purchase exchange rate at banks is higher than that at private currency exchange places. Visa and Mastercard also tack on approx. 1.5% on international purchases and this is above their daily exchange rate. We take some cash but have recently discovered that the CAA/AAA sells Visa travel checks and their exchange rate is usually the lowest plus they do not charge purchase fees if you are a member.
GO ahead, exchange US funds for Canadian funds and see how colorful and interesting our money is, but don't ask for too many loonies or twoonies because they'll weigh your pockets down (FYI loonies and twoonies are our $1 and $2 coins). Heck, get some cuz we have several designs for both the loonie and twoonie!!! Same goes for the quarters, nickles, and dimes. Our quarters have had three full set special issues, two single issues (Breast cancer and Rememberance day poppy), and now we have the 2010 olympic quarts (two so far).
Most places will do the exchange, but at 93-95 cents to the US dollar, some places won't give you exchange unless it is a fair amount, probably $50 and over or even more....
2007 Victory & Triumph
2008 Conquest & Liberty
2009 Valor, Freedom, and Splendor
2010 Glory and Liberty