Do we need to bring Canadian currency?

We are so excited to be on this tour to Nova Scotia and PEI in about 2 weeks. Is it necessary to bring some Canadian currency or will our credit card and US cash suffice?


  • I would get some Canadian $ for small purchases, but...

    1) It is expensive and an unnecessary bother to acquire a foreign currency before you leave. Much better to take your ATM card and get currency locally.
    2) Credit cards will be fine for most things, just like in the states. Check with your credit card and ATM issuers to see if they charge a currency conversion fee - many charge 3%, some convert at the bank rate with no fee.
    3) Any excess currency you don't spend can be used as part of your tour director's gratuity. You'll probably have a Canadian TD, so you may want to tip them entirely in Canadian $.

  • You can also use excess currency to pay incidental charges at your hotel. (I always have bar bills!) Use up the rest of your currency paying the bill or part of it, and then use your credit card to pay the rest, if any.

  • I concur that it is always beneficial to have a small amount of local currency for incidentals.

    It can also be beneficial to check with your financial institution and/or financial planner for credit cards designed exclusively for travel and may possibly have no foreign transaction fees, better exchange rates, travel insurance complementing Tauck's insurance, as well as a card tied directly to a savings/investment portfolio. Just something to possibly investigate before your next vacation.

    Have a wonderful trip and please post a review if you can. Best wishes.

  • edited July 2022

    We have three credit cards, none have fees. We just take two with us, one to use and one as a back up. American Express does not require notification before foreign travel.
    I would absolutely not take a credit card that was attached to a savings/investments portfolio. I don’t have one anyway. Surely of that is lost or stolen people could have access to thousands and thousands of dollars and is there even any protective insurance on those?

  • Thank you all for your suggestions. I will definitely take your advice regarding bringing some Canadian currency for incidentals. Capital Obe does not require notification and I don’t think they charge a fee either.

  • I think having an ATM card does the trick just fine. We find it useful to have a Charles Schwab account with associated debit card just for travel. Schwab does not have their own network of ATM's and refunds all ATM fees around the world, So you can get cash anywhere without fee worries. We put in the account just the modest amount we want to have available to us and nothing more. And for security, you can also deactvate the card in the Schwab app until such time that you need to use it, and then shut it down again.

  • I agree with British. My credit cards do not have any transaction fees. I wouldn’t carry a credit card without that. We each bring our card that we strictly use for the ATM machine. Once one debit card was lost (and that was my hubby’s fault). That’s why we bring two. I take a picture of my credit cards, front and back and hide them on my phone or you can print that too if you feel the need for more paper. I also take pictures of our passports, etc.

  • No, British. It doesn't work that way. Enjoy your upcoming tour. I look forward to your review.

  • The post by Ken from Vegas says it all. When I get local currency, which I don't do very often, I always use an ATM and my Wells Fargo ATM card.

  • edited July 2022

    Do we need to feed this horse more hey (pun intended)? We've beaten him quite soundly and he hasn't moved in awhile! :D

  • Most places will accept US currency (Bills only), but you will likely get a terrible exchange rate compared to banks/atm's. Any change will be provided in Canadian currency.

    Small places may not accept US currency

    Don't even thing about US coins.

  • On Patagonia tour while in Argentina, I discovered my Schwab debit card was missing. My best guess was that my jet-lagged self left the card in a Santiago ATM, days earlier, not a mistake you make twice. I contacted Schwab and they cancelled card. Cardholder is not liable for unauthorized transactions; in this case there were none. I relied on credit card for the duration of the tour, though in Argentina dollars are useful. Unlike others, I use local currency in Europe (and Canada), withdrawing small amounts from local ATMs.

  • Not a good idea to get Argentinian money at all.

  • I don't like carrying cash, so didn't take Tauck's advice and bring dollars. The Draghi silver shop did give a better rate for dollars than credit cards.

  • We just did the Canadian Maritimes tour. We did not have any Canadian currency expecting to use our ATM card and get some cash. The card would not work at several banks in Halifax. Some other people were having the same problem. Husband went into a bank later on our trip and just got about $20 exchanged. We only needed a little cash for times I wanted to buy one postcard, etc. The rest of the trip it was credit card only. We were on the phone with our credit union several times trying to figure out why the ATM was not accepting our card. They finally were able to verify that it was not on their end, it was a Canadian problem. Later, others who were having the same problem were able to get some cash. Guess it will always be a mystery.

  • There was a big internet outtage in the last few days in Canada that also affected ATMs across the country.

  • edited July 2022

    We did not have any problems last September. Used the ATM at least twice. .

  • We have family in Canada and go frequently. We always use ATMs and have never had any problems. I would agree with Alan that any problems in the past week are probably tied to the internet outage. The outage even made our paper here in Boston.

  • edited July 2022

    The outage was for about 16 hours from Friday evening and was almost all back to normal by 9am Saturday morning. During that time almost anything that uses the Rogers network was euchred.

    I always bring or use the local currency regardless of where I am. I have fond memories of being in the USA and by mistake having a "Canadian" penny in the change I was paying with and being told off!

  • RGM2 said:

    I have fond memories of being in the USA and by mistake having a "Canadian" penny in the change I was paying with and being told off!

    You'll get told off in Canada now, too. Smallest Canadian coin is now the nickel. All prices are in 5 cent increments. We could take a lesson from them if it weren't for the zinc lobby keeping congress from eliminating the penny.

  • It's all about political cronyism, LVKen. Joseph Wharton (of Wharton Business school fame) made his fortune in producing nickel by "convincing" a President or two around the Civil War era to switch from silver to nickel for coinage.

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