What do you recommend bringing, cash or travelers checks. The last time we brought cash and did alright, but I was wondering what is the safest or most used. Also, what would you say is a fair amount to bring????
I usually bring both. A couple of hundred in cash ($50 of it in ones for tipping) and the rest in traveler's checks. You don't say where you are going, for how long and how many are traveling. On our last cruise it was my husband and myself and three children for a seven day cruise. We had booked and paid for all our shore excursions ahead of time other than one. I took $200 in cash and $550 in traveler's checks, plus we had a our credit cards. We had both cash and traveler's checks left over at the end of the week.
Celebrity Century 1/09
Carnival Destiny 10/07
Carnival Destiny 9/06
Monarch of the Seas 3/06
Carnival Inspiration 8/05
Carnival Miracle 4/05
Carnival Inspiration 4/04
Sovereign of the Seas 4/03
We are going on a 7 day Eastern Carribean Cruise with RCCL. Myself, my husband and two sons, ages 12 and 14 will be going. I also have already purchased our excursions so I guess it should be too bad! I just want to be sure and not cut ourselves short. I have never used travelers checks. Are they easy to use??
I too bring both, I like the added safety of the travelers checks and you can cash them onboard at any time, thats not a problem. As to how much depends on your spending habits, how much do you gamble with, shop, etc. A good guideline is to bring between cash and travelers checks about $100 per day, and we always have some left. Have small bills handy for tipping along the way.
Can you cash the travelers checks on the ship? If so, is there a charge and what is it? I am thinking I will take your advice and bring both. Also, I have heard that you can pay for your tips at the beginning of the cruise on your cruise account . Is this what you did? On our last cruise our tips were given out the last night on the ship. I am not planning on doing much shopping, other than for a few souveneirs or something.
What nobody's addressed here is whether the assumption is that tips will be paid in cash or put on the shipboard account. This, of course, makes a quantum difference in the amount of money you will bring.
I understand and appreciate the fact that travelers checks offer some additional measure of safety by their very nature. But it's also true that they're used far less frequently than they once were be for three important reasons: credit cards, ATM's and in-room safes. All of these are available to one degree or another on most cruises.
I haven't bought or used travelers checks in over a decade. I carry what cash I need in a pouch under my shirt, and put it in the safe immediately upon reaching the ship or hotel. I also do everything I can in planning the trip to minimize the need for cash. For countries abroad, I go to the currency exchange and get between $50 and $100 in the local currency and put it away in the safe. If I need more I use my ATM card. Beyond that, of course, I plan to use credit cards whenever possible.
If a ship allows tips to be put on the bill, the need for cash can be minimal if you've played all the other angles I've mentioned. A few bucks for incidentals and tips should do it.
But, specifically, yes, the ship will cash your travelers checks, and no, they won't charge you to do it.
If you're wise you'll shop around and not pay a service charge when you buy the checks. The best place to start is the bank(s) where you do business. They often offer free checks for good customers.
Finally, realize that the big way travelers check issuers make their money is by you giving them a free loan of your money, often for an extended period. You'll note that they advertise "Good until used--no time limit." Damn right. That's how they get rich.
So. . .if you do decide to use them, be sure you don't pay a fee to buy them, then when you get home IMMEDIATELY cash in any checks you have left over. Resist the urge to "save them 'till next time." That's what they're counting on. It's your money and it makes no sense to lend it to them for free until you take your next vacation. To avoid spending the money, it's a good idea to put in in a separate account earmarked for your next vacation. That way, you'll already be on your way to the next one. Or, alternatively, use it to pay off your credit card bill if you can't do it with current cash flow.
No, that didn't include tips and that was for 2 adults...also no excursions, those are either pre-booked or we book with the cruiseline and they go on our sign/sail card. The amount you may need could be different, depends on what you want to buy, or how much you gamble?? That was just a guideline for misc., shopping, etc.
I go the same route as AR. I haven't used Travelers Checks in about 10 years. I will take a few hundred divided between my wife and I in a travel wallet and use an ATM if additional money is needed. The American dollar is gladly accepted at all ports on a standard Eastern Caribbean itinerary.
With tips being added to onboard accounts this greatly lessens the amount of money required. I do account for some additional money for tips. My overall cash budget is about $100/day for two people. This does not include standard tips, excursions or gambling.
Yes; you may be charged a fee by your bank for using an ATM but you will get the current transfer rate, not one that is rounded up or down, or three days old and the convenience of an ATM is worth it for me.
On a land or cruise vacation in Europe I will not use travelers checks. With different currencies (Not as many now with the Euro) and the abundance of bank ATM's, travelers checks are too much of a bother. An ATM or credit card can be replaced as quickly as travelers checks.
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Travelers checks can be cashed at the Pursers desk at no charge. They are accepted in most larger shops but no so much in the smaller ones and I don't like to give then larger TC's for items as they sometimes have "difficulty" finding change and they also know how much more you have to spend. <G> TC's are safe in that they allow you a chance to get your money back if you lose them or they get stolen. You need cash for tips and other small items you buy in ports. We don't use TC's simply because we don't have to fly so no danger of getting them stolen or lost and carry small amounts of cash in all ports for the little things and use our CC for any larger purchase.
One thing I discovered regarding travelers checks is that when they get wet they become invalid. When wet, a hidden print appears that voids the check. This happened to a friend of mine that had ALL his checks on him when he fell into the hotel pool! It caused him no end of difficulty. So a good idea would be to keep them in some kind of water-proof package if possible.