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Author: nancyf

Joined: 4/26/2010
Posts: 155
GCT Trips Taken: 5
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Countries Visited:

43 of the 50 United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, England , France , Italy , Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Africa (Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe. South Africa), Israel, Canada, the Carribbean, Peru, going to Egypt & Jordan in February 2011 ( canceled due to the unrest there, but I will take this trip later!), China, Russia, Kenya, Turkey, Greece, Malta, Sicily.

Traveler Since: 2007

December 28, 2010

I have read on this subject before, but can't find it now. I know that in the big shops they will probably take credit cards, but what about debit cards?........also, do the big shops want pounds or US$$ ?........what about in the markets: pounds or $$?

I am thinking about taking some of those pre-paid visa cards that operate almost like a debit card, but from that balance on the card only. Has anyone used these.....if so, any problems with cafes and shops taking these?

If you exchanged for Egyptian pounds, where was the best place for that when you got to Cairo??

On board the Anuket, do you settle up your bar bill, shop bill, etc. with a credit card or cash? If cash, pounds or $$ ?

Tips for the PD, staff on Anuket, bus drivers, etc.......$$ or pounds?

I am going on the Jordan post-trip also. Same questions as for above.....(except of course the money is dinars instead, correct??).

Thanks so much for any info. It always seems to vary from trip to trip, country to country!!

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 541
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

December 28, 2010

Two years ago we used pounds for everything, all shopping, all tips. I used my ATM card (twice I think) but I think some of the group exchanged dollars. The hotels usually exchanged smaller pound bills for the larger ones we got from the ATM.

If you exchange dollars, the PD will tell you where to get the best rate. Definitely use pounds for the bathroom tip, not dollars and pounds for small stuff in the markets. I didn't have any charges to settle on the Nile ship but tipped in pounds at the end.

The handbook at that time advised to tip the P.D., drivers, etc in the local currency; I don't know if that's changed.

You're right, it varies from country to country; our P.D. in Australia wanted U.S. dollars.

Have a great trip.

 

Author: try2b777

Joined: 12/29/2010
Posts: 1
GCT Trips Taken: 3
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

I've been to all US states except North Dakota, and lived in WA, CA, UT, KS, NH, NJ, and KY. Also lived in Norway and South Korea. Travelled to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, England, France, Germany, Austria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize, Canada, and many Caribbean islands.

Traveler Since: 2005

December 29, 2010

We made the trip in May/June 2010 and had no problems with currency.  I don't know if anyone in Egypt or Jordan will accept debit cards, but don't think I'd recommend using them except in ATMs.  The GCT folks might be able to answer your question about pre-paid VISA cards and similar.

We stayed at the Marriott in Cairo and they had banks in the hotel which would exchange US for Egyptian dollars 24 hours a day.  Exchange rates are set by the government, so you'll get pretty much the same rate anywhere.

On the Anuket we settled our bills using credit cards.  The billing goes through GCT where the currency is converted to US dollars.  That bill covered our bar tab, etc.  The gift shop on board accepted either cash (US or Egyptian currency) or credit cards.

Most vendors/stores in Egypt were happy to accept US dollars so you really don't need to do a lot of currency exchange.  But, I would recommend having some small denominations (including 1 dollar coins--Egyptian--for the rest rooms) for the street vendors.  There are LOTS of them and they all want "baksheesh".

In Jordan, folks were also willing to accept US dollars.  We did get some local currency for use as tips and for small vendors.  Our Program Director was very helpful in getting currency exchanged at the best possible rates.

Our Program Directors and drivers all preferred local currency for their tips.  This saves them from having to use part of the tips to pay the exchange rate that locals have to pay.

Enjoy your trip!  My mom and I had a fabulous time doing the Israel pre-trip along with the Egypt/Nile and Jordan trips.

Author: gobuckeyes

Joined: 7/7/2010
Posts: 158
GCT Trips Taken: 4
OAT Trips Taken: 9
Traveler Since: 2005

December 29, 2010

Re: Most vendors/stores in Egypt were happy to accept US dollars so you really don't need to do a lot of currency exchange.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And the reason is, that besides making the sale, they profit from it three ways:

1. They don't give the best exchange rate when converting their price in EGPs to USDs and your change when converting USDs back to EGPs .

2. After the conversion to USDs they round up to the next high-test dollar.

3.  Needless to say when they calculate your change, which will be in EGPs, they round down.

Paying in USDs is still more convenient than exchanging USDs for EGPs and besides you get more of those necessary "bathroom coins" with your change.

Individually it isn't a huge amount but with thousands of transactions every year, it all adds up for them. They are smart businessmen and know every angle on how to "make a EGP".  

   

Author: nancyf

Joined: 4/26/2010
Posts: 155
GCT Trips Taken: 5
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Countries Visited:

43 of the 50 United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, England , France , Italy , Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Africa (Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe. South Africa), Israel, Canada, the Carribbean, Peru, going to Egypt & Jordan in February 2011 ( canceled due to the unrest there, but I will take this trip later!), China, Russia, Kenya, Turkey, Greece, Malta, Sicily.

Traveler Since: 2007

December 29, 2010

Thanks to all of you who responded. I can usually get better answers to my questions from fellow travelers than from someone at GC Customer Service (sometimes I reach someone who seems to know.....otherwise it's just "I think" or "I guess"!!)

To "try2b...":  I would have taken the Israel pre-trip also, but I went last January to Israel with a friend of mine who is a pastor and some of the people from his church. We went on an EO trip, and it was well done and wonderful. Since it was not just a "secular" trip, we were able to have communion at the Upper Room and also at the Garden Tomb, as well as having some other special moments on the Sea of Galilee and Garden of Gethsemane. It was a trip of a lifetime, and I was very moved, and not quite the same person when I returned!! Putting some prayer request slips in the Western (aka Wailing) Wall was very special also!

Everytime I go on a trip, I have to almost pinch myself and think "I am in Israel" or "I am in Peru, looking at Machu Picchu" or "I am in Africa", etc....I know that I will feel the same way when I am in Egypt/Jordan looking at all of the sites there.

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