How much Canadian currency is recommended?

About how much CAD have others found they needed for this trip? One post recommended $20-$40. Is this enough?


  • What do you normally buy? Hard to know, but Credit cards can be used everywhere.

  • Your bus driver and most probably your tour director will be Canadian. As a courtesy to them, I would plan to tip in CAD, so that they don't have to convert your tip to their currency. So I would get some CAD at an airport ATM, say $100. To the extent that you don't spend it, it will become part of the tip. Fill in the rest of the tip amount from an ATM in Banff. ATMs in Canada will provide the best exchange rate from your bank, much better than ordering currency before you leave.

  • I thought TJC was asking about moneys during the trip, not tips. They will still have to go to the bank, whether to deposit all the Canadian dollars they are given or IS dollars. The tips from one trip amounts to hundreds of dollars.

  • edited August 2022

    British - Reread his question and my answer, I did reply to his question. He was asking how much Canadian $ he should get. My point was to get some cash from an ATM and use any extra CAD be used for the tip. As to your assertion that they need to go to a bank, the answer is only to use an ATM. By the "they" in the second sentence did you mean the TD and the driver? If so, they will have to pay a fee (probably in terms of an unfavorable exchange rate) to exchange any physical US dollars. I believe that it is courteous to tip in local currency if the TD or driver is local. Yes, I know that Tauck says US dollars are acceptable for the tip, but that is my approach.

  • Remember if you tip in CAD…be sure and check the conversion rate. Today $100 CAD is only $76 US. That would be unfortunate if we forgot to make the adjustment. I use my Convert app often when we travel.

  • I agree with Ken that you should tip in Canadian dollars. When we were on the tour we were told that the Canadian government requires the tour guides to be Canadian if the majority of the trip is in Canada.

    We have Canadian relatives. They keep a special account in US dollars that they use to pay anything billed in US dollars (can be done by having a credit card in US dollars for purchase in the US). This might apply to the tour director, if he/she also conducts tours in the US but not to the bus driver. Changing back and forth is not cost effective for anyone, especially if you are using cash.

  • One solution, give extra for the tip in US dollars to allow for what it will cost them to exchange it. That is probably what it will cost for me to drive to the nearest bank here in the US that I can buy Canadian dollars in or what it will cost me at an ATM in Canada and the time it takes. These are tips folks, where is the gratefulness in getting a tip from someone these days. Clearly there are some Tauck people who are not giving the suggested tips or Tauck would not have started suggesting the total amount to give all of a sudden.
    Please Tauck, change your tipping policy and let’s include it!

  • If I were a TD and kept getting shorted or stiffed, I would request Tauck include the tip in the price of the tour. It might actually result in more money- There are enough repeat travelers who will remember "the old days" and still want to hand the TD an envelope with a note and $. That could up the TD's ultimate tip money.

    Do we have any tax experts here? Is there any advantageto getting "tips" from the company vs individuals? I'm not talking about any tips from individuals that might unintentionally go 'unreported' ! :o

  • British- The fees the TD would have to pay to get rid of American $ in Canada are going to be higher than the 3% or less you would pay getting CAD from an ATM (not including ATM fees). The fees are always higher when dealing with a physical currency that isn't local (i.e. buying foreign currency in America or selling US$ in a foreign country like Canada). This tour ends in Banff, so tour participants will almost certainly walk the main street of Banff and finding an ATM will be easy.

    Alan- In theory there should be little difference between Tauck raising their payments to TDs (remember TDs are independent contractors not employees) and taking tip income (tips are income, not gifts - much to the chagrin of blackjack dealers, wait staff and valets here in Vegas). There might be a difference in FICA paid by the TD, not sure. However, tips notoriously go under reported, so it might make a difference to an unscrupulous TD.

  • I am not talking about me, I tip. But I can’t tell you how many people have asked me AFTER the Farewell Dinner, when are they supposed to give the tips to the driver and TD, Even when it has been hinted it will be the last time we see the driver at such and such a time, Yes, too late by then, they’re gone!
    I applaud those who will walk into town to get money for a tip. I take mine with me with an envelope and a card or paper to write a personal message. If I have local currency, I’ll give that to them too, or if it’s a lot, take out some dollars and replace it with local. That’s the best I can do. We stopped getting local money at home, years ago, it was either a 50 minute round trip ride to the bank where you can get certain currency on tap. Or pre order it at our local bank and it takes about two weeks to come….but they are so unused to their customers traveling out of the US, only one teller knew how to fill in the forms, she wasn’t there the last time we ordered, when I went to collect, it had not been ordered, she had filled the forms wrong.

  • I’ve ordered Euros or other foreign currency from Bank of America and it usually arrives in a few days. Not a lot. Just enough to get me through a few days of a tour until I can get to an ATM. I never use the airport ATM. When I land after a long flight my only concern is to clear immigration, get my luggage, clear customs and find my ride. It’s worth the extra couple of dollars to get the currency mailed from my bank.

  • I order foreign currency on-line through my banking/investment establishment and Euros typically arrive at a local bank within a few days. The fees are waived. I never have them delivered to my home. Some other currencies might take longer. I never use ATMs, not even here in the U. S.

  • British
    I applaud those who will walk into town to get money for a tip

    Can't think of an airport I've walked thru on arrival that didn't have an ATM somewhere.

  • We are like BSP51, we want to get out of the airport.
    We have been on several tours where the TD is neither American or from that country we are in. Examples, and these are just in recent tours, One was American when we were in Vietnam but lived in Thailand. Another was Canadian when we were in Borneo but lived in Vietnam. Our K and T TD lived in Austria. Our Iceland and South American TD lived in Costa Rica. What do you people do with Tour directors like that?

  • I tip is USD and any leftover local currency. I don't want to seem unsympathetic, but this is the business they are in - international travel. You never know where a TD might wind up next. For example, out TD in Hawaii a few months back was leaving for the Middle East to train on tours in that area.

    I know some people who are professional gamblers and they maintain "casino chip banks." For reasons I won't go in to, they leave a casino without cashing out their chips (nothing do to with tax avoidance, in case you're wondering about that). They have a network where they trade or redeem chips for each other. I wouldn't be surprised if TDs do something similar, i.e., when they cross paths or get together for meetings, trade currencies based on future locations.

  • kfnknfzk- Have you ever checked your exchange rate against that day's exchange rate? Just because they don't charge you an explicit fee doesn't mean you aren't paying extra.

  • BKMD - That's a very interesting theory and certainly seems plausible.

    Ken from Vegas - No I have not. I have had the same financial planner since the late 1970s and trust her implicitly. Thanks for your concern, however.

  • Has anyone ever asked the TD if they have a preference?

  • British - it's all very confusing. On our Morocco tour, our TD was an American living in Madrid. He was planning an upcoming trip to the states shortly after our tour, so I'm sure some of the US dollars he received were put to good use. Nevertheless, at some point he likely has to convert much of his tips to euros. No way we could have known or planned accordingly.

  • I’m with BKMD on this one. My hubby has no interest in the forum, but when I told him how people worry about tipping, he said that it is the last thing he would be worrying about for an upcoming trip. Our cultures are so different and it’s interesting to read about the real life on the ground situations too.

  • I agree with your hubby. Don’t sweat the small stuff; just be prepared.

  • Again, I don't understand why one doesn't just ask the TD at some point if they prefer USD or CAD. If it's the latter, then no big deal, go to an ATM if possible.

  • Frankly, I think the concern should be to ensure the gratuity meets the minimum as suggested by Tauck, not which currency it is in.

  • Yes, you are correct. Too many people have no idea about tipping and don’t read the Tauck guidelines.

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