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Thread: tips/money

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    4

    Default tips/money

    Newbie here, getting ready to leave in 3 days!!! Can't wait. I know we won't need much money because when on the resort tipping (except maybe for spa services isn't allowed). But as far as tipping at the airport, buying stuff from vendors on the beach, off resort souvenir shopping, how much cash should we bring? Will we have to change it to a Jamaican currency (forgive my ignorance) or is US $ ok? Should we have all one, fives, tens? Or will we be able to get change for bigger denominations like 100s or 50s? Thanks so much for the advice!!

  2. #2

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    US dollars are fine and prefered. Tipping outside the resort is at your option. At the airport typically a dollar or 2 per bag is customary. As for large demonitaitons, you can get change but it may be in Jamaican currency so better not to bring it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    219

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    US is fine, no need to change money. We usually bring about $300.00 for a weeks stay. found it's best to have lots of smaller bills, no 100 or 50. We usually bring about 25-30 in singles and the rest in 5, 10 and a few 20's. Have a wonderful time.

    Sam

  4. #4

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    We never exchanged our money. I wouldn't either. Not worth it. They want American dollars. 2 bucks a bag is about the going rate to tip the people handling your bags. There was a young kid who watched our bags while we were in the lounge-so I tipped him. Then there was an airport guy who demanded- yes demanded, he would come after you- for 2 bucks a bag as he hauled them and lifted them into the bus (2 bucks isn't that big of a deal, but it was a little weird to see him approach people and ask for more money). Then we tipped our driver like five bucks. You negotiate your price with vendors, so you might want some bigger bills for items like t-shirts or souveniers or whatever. But we took probably about 100 bucks in one's and we came home with probably half of that. Some people even suggest 2 dollar bills which they seem to like, but we never did that. I wouldn't carry big denominations at all-it's too risky. We had nothing bigger than 20 dollar bills. We also split up our money just in case we were pick-pocketed or lost something. Some was in our luggage, stashed away, split between me and my husband on our bodies, and some in a carry-on.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,961

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    Here's what we do... we bring about $30 in singles for small tipping (as appropriate, of course). Likewise, about $50 in 5's (often times, a fiver works as a tip for multiple bags, the cat cruise, etc.) The rest kind of depends on the kind of spending we anticipate. I don't recommend bringing larger denominations. For that, here's a tip...

    Always be aware of the exchange rate. It can be found online very easily. Today, for example, the rate is 90:1 (90 $J to 1 $US). Be prepared to round up or down, depending on the circumstances. Most vendors will accept $US (in fact most prefer it).

    I'm fond of saying that the Jamaican people are very happy to have Alexander Hamilton back home. He was born in the Caribbean, and there is substantial evidence that he was born on Jamaica.

    A few places don't take $US, but there is a reason. Rick's is notorious for this. They require that you pay either in $J or, if I recall, in tokens, which can be purchased with $US. The only problem with the tokens is that they are non-refundable. Great gimmick, eh? Its been a while since I've been there (pre-Ivan), and I still have the damn tokens. ;-)

    I hope that helps...
    Chris

    "In an abundance of water, the fool is thirsty..." - Bob Marley - "Rat Race"


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    308

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    On the subject of tipping airport porters and so forth - can someone confirm this odd thing I've heard? I've heard that $2 bills are pretty prized in Jamaica and/or seen as good luck. Now, I know here, some people actually say they're unlucky and, from a practical perspective, they're sometimes unwelcome at stores because they're uncommon and a paint to deal with. We thought it might be neat to bring down $2 bills, but would this be more of a pain than welcomed by the porters?

  7. #7

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    For my recent 6-night stay $300.00 was about perfect. I brought all small bills ($2.00 bills are considered good luck for them)....nothing over a ten, maybe one or two $20's. And no you do not need to exchange and I would not do it. The US Dollar is accepted everywhere. And like sblovin above, we too split our money is 3 or 4 different places just in case.

    Oh and one tip about the beach vendors, don't use "I don't have any money with me" as an excuse not to buy anything. They'll hand you the item and say "just bring it back to me when you get it". A simple "No Thanks" is perfect.

  8. #8

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    I have to concur, no more than a few hundred bucks is needed, and small bills are easier to deal with, especially when it comes to tipping, and negotiating, etc. Luggage, $1-2 per bag, or $5 bucks total is what we do. For drivers, $2-5 per person, each way. Also, with using your credit cards for souvenirs, etc. be mindful that they will try to add in THEIR merchant fees to your total, as well as you have to deal with your card issuers international fees. We usually end up spending all of money on liquor anyway, lol!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    665

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    "On the subject of tipping airport porters and so forth - can someone confirm this odd thing I've heard? I've heard that $2 bills are pretty prized in Jamaica and/or seen as good luck"


    Money is money, a $2 bill is better than a $1 - especially to someone who is working hard and surviving on Tips.
    Nobody you Tip is going to save the $2 bills, they are going to spend them.

    Jamaica stopped making this $2 Bill when they were no longer worthwhile against the US dollar, so that may be why SOME people see them as "lucky"
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    Last edited by WandA; May 14th, 2010 at 10:49 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    1,961

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    Based on my calculations, that J$2 is worth less than US2c. No wonder they don't make it anymore.

    I have spoken to some Jamaicans who remember wistfully when the J$ was worth 9 to US$1.
    Chris

    "In an abundance of water, the fool is thirsty..." - Bob Marley - "Rat Race"


  11. #11

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    We did not go on the trip from CSA to Rick's last time & I can't remember...are the drivers on trips like this contractors? So they would need a tip as well?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    A few places don't take $US, but there is a reason. Rick's is notorious for this. They require that you pay either in $J or, if I recall, in tokens, which can be purchased with $US. The only problem with the tokens is that they are non-refundable.
    WOW, I was not aware of this & we plan on going to Rick's this trip...thanks for the tip!!! Maybe I'll see if any other guest who also needs tokens wants to split up buying them or something.

    Thanks!!

  12. #12

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    Maybe it's just the receiving of one that they consider good luck....regardless of whether it is spent later or not. Not real sure. All I know is that I read that somewhere on these boards before my trip last month so I took a bunch with me (US dollars that is) and I had several of the local merchants I bought stuff from comment on getting them. Maybe it's their version of a horseshoe or rabbits foot.

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