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Author: chpiep

Joined: 4/12/2010
Posts: 4
GCT Trips Taken: 0
OAT Trips Taken: 3
Traveler Since: 2008

July 09, 2010

 It always worries me to have to carry the amount of cash needed on OAT trips (couldn't they figure out a different way to tip) but on a recent trip to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos also found it difficult to come up with the needed cash to purchase goods without having to pay the high surcharge for use of credit cards which wasn't mentioned in the guide books!  And required airport taxes on exit must also be made in cash!  Travel guide needs to be more accurate in totaling the REAL cash needed on their trips.  I literally came home with 8 cents in my purse. Why not add 2% into our group leader's pay and lower the tip "guidelines" to a more packable amount and lower the number of day guides, drivers etc. that need tipping by the travelers.  I know it's "optional" but come on; does anyone ever NOT tip?  Loved the trip though, just wish I had a better handle on the cash needed.

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 543
GCT Trips Taken: 6
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji. Ireland

Traveler Since: 2006

July 22, 2010

I never pack a lot of cash. I use ATMs and withdraw money a couple of times during a trip. I figure the program director's gratuity and get it from an ATM a couple of days before the end of the trip. It's worked for six trips including Morocco and Egypt.

I hope other people respond; now I wonder what others do.

Author: knit2purl2

Joined: 7/26/2010
Posts: 3
GCT Trips Taken: 1
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2010

July 28, 2010

I'll be taking my first tour, one of the Romance of the Rhine & Mosel cruises in October, and would appreciate any "tips" including how much is recommended for tipping and who it is appropriate to tip. This is a new adventure for me and would prefer to be well prepared.

Thanks in advance to all of the more seasoned travelers for any ideas!

Author: uofmich77

Joined: 8/20/2010
Posts: 43
GCT Trips Taken: 4
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Traveler Since: 2005

June 25, 2011

 I'm with you Louisa. We never carry cash. Have always used ATM's. Leaders have been helpful in finding them when we ask and it's always worked out well. I don't understand why so many people still rely on cash. I'm afraid of loss and don't like depending on people to accept my currency over theirs. We've traveled many laces and it has always worked for us. You just need to keep the number of withdrawals down because of the fees. 

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 973
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

June 25, 2011

I think we discussed this at great length a few months ago.  It is really dangerous to carry a lot of cash of any currency.  I carry enough dollars to pay my limo driver upon my return, since he doesn't accept Visa, plus a few dollars more for coffee while waiting at the airport.  If I have any Euros or whatever currency I will need on hand, I bring that. 

My ATM card is my salvation.  I have used it in many countries without any problems..  Actually, I should correct that.  I just returned from Ireland this past Thursday evening and the day before, I found myself a little short of the amount of Euros I thought I would need for tips.  The first ATM I tried informed me that I had already withdrawn my limit for that day.  Since I hadn't used an ATM for over a week, I tried a different one and got my money.  After I returned home, I looked at my checking account online and all my deductions are listed with nothing there that shouldn't be. 

I did go into one bank and saw a sign that said since there was concern about counterfeiting, they would accept only new $100 bills in exchange.

 

Author: sealionlady

Joined: 8/1/2010
Posts: 128
GCT Trips Taken: 6
OAT Trips Taken: 7
Traveler Since: 2001

June 25, 2011

I may be the only person left on Earth who still carries cash.  I don't like to bother with ATMs, so I sit down with the GCT Handbook, figure out how much I'll need for tips, add some to that amount since there's always more tipping, and add several hundred more for souvenirs, coffee, snacks, etc, and put it all in a money belt.  I paper clip the tip money for the guide, so I don't dip into it by mistake.  Yeah ..... I tip the main guide in American money.  I figure they're always at hotels and banks, anyhow ..... and I do add a little extra for the inconvenience. 

I'm not much of a shopper, but, when it happens that I do make a big purchase, I use a credit card. 

I also put my passport, driver's license, and credit card in the money belt.  It's not uncomfortable and I usually forget it's on.

Once, on a trip, someone reached into my purse and grabbed my wallet. All they got was my daily money - about $10.00 in local cash.  Still, it was upsetting, and now I carry a purse with a zipper closure. 

 

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 543
GCT Trips Taken: 6
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji. Ireland

Traveler Since: 2006

June 26, 2011

I've had similar experiences to Pauline's possibly two or three times out of countless times I've used ATMs. I just try a different ATM and get the cash. I think sometimes the cash just isn't there and you get a strange message. After a few tries in Prague I realized that I was requesting an odd amount.

New $100s? I usually bring a couple of hundred in twenties for emergencies --  but have never brought 100 dollar bills.

Pauline, I hope you'll write a brief report of your trip. I'm especially interested in your experience with the air itinerary. I hope you had a wonderful time in Ireland.

 

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 973
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

June 26, 2011

Luisa,  my flight plans worked out beautifully.  I will be writing a review as soon as I put my thoughts together.  There are so many things to include!

Anyway, my flight from Boston to Shannon on Aer Lingus the day before was very comfortable and we arrived about 6:30 in the morning.  Entering the country was very quick and easy, and I went to the Information Desk to ask for directions to my hotel which I knew was walking distance.  The young lady pointed out the window and said it was right there.  I asked if it was the yellow building I could see, and she replied yes.  Just follow the footprints.  I pulled my large case across the parking lot following the footprints and came to the hotel, Park Inn.  I didn't even need to cross a road.  I got into my room right away and  paid for breakfast for both mornings.  After breakfast, I went back to the room which was quite cold and asked for someone to do something about the heat.  That someone came right away and turned the radiator back on.  Because I can't sleep on the plane, I was very tired and slept most of the day.  Had dinner in the hotel, breakfast the next morning, and went back to the terminal to meet the rest of the group who had flown overnight from JFK after getting there from wherever they started.  They were tired, and I was completely rested!

Coming home, I flew Aer Lingus again directly to Boston.

I'm feeling quite pleased with myself for changing the flight plans, since this worked out so well.

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