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Thread: money questions

  1. #1
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    Default money questions

    Question from a newbie here: Do we need to exchange currency or can we use US $? Can someone tell me what a rough price range is for snacks at an outdoor market or your basic cheap souvenirs? I am wondering how much cash we should bring for our 5 night 4 day stay at CSS.
    Thanks for any and all help.

  2. #2
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    They take US currency almost everywhere in Jamaica. I had one occasion where I received change in Jamaican currency. I can't really tell you how much cash to bring. It all depends upon how much you would like to spend off of the resort. The cost of souvenirs can vary widely. From less than $20 to hundreds. All I can say is bring enough enough but not too much.

    If you are on a shopping trip in town, many of the larger shops will accept major credit cards. We put as much as possible on the credit card so we don't need to carry around so much cash. Something about your credit card. Your credit card company will see unusual charges from unusual places. On our first trip to Jamaica, our house sitter received daily calls from out credit card company inquiring about these unusual charges. Another couple who was along with us had one of their credit cards frozen because of these unusual charges. Luckily, they had another credit card they could use. Since then, right before we leave for Jamaica, I inform our credit card company to expect charges from Jamaica during the time we are there. They will want a start and stop date also.

    For the most part, you don't need any cash while on the resort. There is a strictly enforced no tipping policy while on the resort. Couples employees can get into big trouble for accepting tips. There are times when there are local vendors selling souvenirs on the resort. In general, you will need cash for this. Anything you buy in the gift shop is charged to your room and is put on your credit card when you check out.

    You will also need some small bills for tips. You don't tip while on the resort. However, tips are expected off of the resort. You usually tip the person who brings your bags from the Couples Lounge at the airport and loads them on the bus for you. You tip your bus driver. If you take any of the sight seeing tours you tip the tour guide. Etc. Bring enough small bills for this. I will bring at least $100 in 5's and 10's and maybe a few 1's for this. Don't forget to bring the tip money with you when you go off of the resort.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngelaCz View Post
    Question from a newbie here: Do we need to exchange currency or can we use US $? Can someone tell me what a rough price range is for snacks at an outdoor market or your basic cheap souvenirs? I am wondering how much cash we should bring for our 5 night 4 day stay at CSS.
    Thanks for any and all help.
    Both US$ and J$ are accepted just about anywhere, but you will only get J$ in change. The exchange rate fluctuates depends on where you are buying things, but figure anywhere from a 85:1 to 95:1 exchange rate.

    For a 7 night stay, we bring approx $900 US$ in cash. Some of this is used for transportation, tipping, massages, off-resort meals and cocktails, etc. We usually bring home a few hundred extra.

  4. #4
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    Us currency is preferred. We usually bring 300-400 for a week and always bring cash home.

  5. #5

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    We also take US currency. A while back I read a thread where the following was recommended and we have found it mostly works for us:

    Take $100 each in $1, $5, $10, and $20.

    We also add two $50's. We usually come home with a couple hundred depending on what we find on the beach. I also usually find that I could get by with less $1's but last trip I only had 20-30 left when getting home.

  6. #6
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    No, do not change it, they prefer $US

    Most stores or restaurants takes Visa, you leave your Visa at the front desk so you can charge hotel items

  7. #7
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    The exchange rate is very easy right now, because it's $1 USD to $100 JMD. So, if you're off-resort, just remember that a $100 Jamaican bill is the same as $1 American and that's how all of the businesses and vendors look at it too.
    "Brutalize me with music..."

    CN: 11/2007, 11/2010, 11/2011, 11/2013

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dank120 View Post
    The exchange rate is very easy right now, because it's $1 USD to $100 JMD. So, if you're off-resort, just remember that a $100 Jamaican bill is the same as $1 American and that's how all of the businesses and vendors look at it too.
    Not all vendors honor the official exchange rate...which is why I find it easier to exchange some of my US dollars to Jamaican right up front. This way, you only have to worry about the exchange rate once, not every time you make a purchase. And since you're likely to get any change back in Jamaican currency, there really is no benefit to using US dollars anyways.

  9. #9
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    The bottom line here is you do not need much cash at all. The All Inclusive resort is real! No tipping is NO tipping. And when you are a Romance Reward guest, they give you credit to spend. We have literally spent a week at Couples without spending an extra penny. amazing!

  10. #10
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    Jun 2009
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    [QUOTE=Mad Jack;232094]
    If you are on a shopping trip in town, many of the larger shops will accept major credit cards. We put as much as possible on the credit card so we don't need to carry around so much cash. Something about your credit card. Your credit card company will see unusual charges from unusual places. On our first trip to Jamaica, our house sitter received daily calls from out credit card company inquiring about these unusual charges. Another couple who was along with us had one of their credit cards frozen because of these unusual charges. Luckily, they had another credit card they could use. Since then, right before we leave for Jamaica, I inform our credit card company to expect charges from Jamaica during the time we are there. They will want a start and stop date also.

    When it comes to credit cards, I found if I let my credit card companies know I am traveling out of the country, where I am going and the exact dates I don't usually have a problem with them, then they also keep a closer look for odd charges after you get back.
    Linda

  11. #11
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    I change money for one simple reason. It's more fun for me when off the resort that way Not everyone sees it that way though.

    CSA has a great money exchange window with very good rates BTW. I'm sure the other Couples Resorts have the same. I never change money anywhere other than the resort.

    Just my opinion here: After a lot of trips off resort I would say that the statement that "US Dollars are preferred" is a bit off the mark in most cases. I think the reality is that the US dollar is widely accepted, but given the choice, most vendors, bars, taxis, etc.... will prefer you give them $J. If, however, you don't give them a choice and just pull out green money, everything will be "No Problem Mon!"

    I do find I get more for my money using J$ off resort.

    The resort itself, tour companies, and sometimes the on-site vendors are notable exceptions to this though. They seem to want USD.

    Current exchange rates are about $105 J = $1 USD.

  12. #12
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    We have traveled off property many times...everyone prefers US money
    Holly Irvin

  13. #13
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    hillstyles- The reason some vendors might "prefer" US money is they can dictate what the exchange rate will be so they get the better end of the deal. As a consumer, YOU are better off paying for items using Jamaican currency.

  14. #14
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    I'm grateful that Jamaicans take us dollars. I don't want to have to think about the exchange rate and all that. I get confused easily. It's one reason we'll probably never go to Mexico, the language barrier and the whole pesos thing is difficult to me.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by softail19 View Post
    I'm grateful that Jamaicans take us dollars. I don't want to have to think about the exchange rate and all that. I get confused easily. It's one reason we'll probably never go to Mexico, the language barrier and the whole pesos thing is difficult to me.
    softail-

    I don't understand...if you exchange your money, you only need to deal with the exchange rate once. If you use US dollars, you need to factor in the exchange rate each time and you will get your change in Jamaican dollars. Most places along the beach and cliffs in Negril that I visit display their prices in Jamaican and only issue change in Jamaican as well, so using US dollars is WAY more confusing than just exchanging money once up front and paying in Jamaican along the way.

    The only way you don't have to factor exchange rates is when vendors list their items using $US and give $US change back in return. The places that I visit don't do that. They'll take $US, but you get less value than you would by using $Jamaican.

  16. #16
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    I see your point muck, you make sense but when we do walk the beach, we do see mostly in us dollars and use small bills, never get back Jamaican paper money anyway. I should try to step out of the box more , money stuff makes my head hurt sometimes. Lol

  17. #17
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    Just got back from CSA... our experience for beach vendors, souvenir shops, airport and all the bars visited on the One Love Pub Crawl happily accepted US$ at 100:1. Some gave change in J$ at same rate.

    As far as souvenir prices... surely they vary, but if you want a bit of a comparison: beach store T-shirts range from 3 for $20 for the cheaper ones, to $20 for a nice quality licensed Marley T-shirt, hot sauce (busha brown's) $4, Jablum coffee at $18/half pound, bandanas $5, sun dresses app. $20-25.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by muck View Post

    The only way you don't have to factor exchange rates is when vendors list their items using $US and give $US change back in return. The places that I visit don't do that. They'll take $US, but you get less value than you would by using $Jamaican.
    When we were down in Oct, it was near enough to 100:1 that the exchange is basic-math-simple. Not too hard to fend for one's self.

  19. #19
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    I have been going to Jamaica for over 13 years - staying at both resorts and huts on the cliffs. I have changed money twice in all those trips - 15+ trips - and never had a problem with US$. Don't worry about changing money and or getting stressed out about anything - everything is good! Relax, enjoy, chill, drink, eat, be respectful, and everything will be irie!

    Just my Jamerican opinion!
    Chuck and Gail
    Washington DC area (Northern VA)
    CSS April 19th
    7th Trip to Couples (2xCSA 4xCSS 1xCTI)
    Too many trips to JA to count and still love it!

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