Currency and how much cash

First time on Tauck and we're very excited. We are unsure of how much actual cash we will need for the trip. We've noticed that we'll be on our own for a number of meals and of course want to buy some souvenirs. We are also unsure if we need different currencies, the Kuna, Euros, or USD. We know we can pay tips at the end of the tour in US dollars, however, we do not want to go home with foreign currency in our pockets. Would we be OK just using credit cards (e.g., VISA, AMEX)? Any suggestions would be SO helpful. 😁

Again, SO excited and counting the days to departure!

Comments

  • My preference is to always have some local currency for incidentals; I would forgo the Croatian currency, however. I use a credit card designed specifically for travel that waives all foreign transaction fees.

    Enjoy your first Tauck tour. I suspect you will be taking many more! If you can, please post a review of your experiences.

  • This is a tour that was canceled on us in 2020 and we haven’t rebooked it yet, please report on it here on the forum when you return!
    We rarely get foreign currency, if we do, any we have left over can be given to the tour director as part of the tip. Some airlines collect loose foreign change for charity on return flights.
    Like kfnknfzk, I would not recommend getting Croatian money, just Euros.

    We take a relevant amount of cash for the tip to the tour director in a separate envelope with us and notepaper. People usually give their tip to the TD at the farewell dinner. If it is one of the tours where you tip the bus driver too, the TD usually hints when you will last be with the bus driver. Read your final documents carefully and you will read there whether it is a tour where you tip the driver. On river cruises, tips for everyone are included in the tour price.
    Some people on the forum mention they tip more if they think it will get them extra special attention while on the tour and others are more generous than the suggested tip guidelines. I’m quite sure from my observations that some people don’t tip at all.
    Do not think you have to tip in the currency of the country you are visiting in. All tour directors will be visiting banks regularly because they have to carry cash to pay some of the local guides along the way. It’s also much easier to exchange money in other countries than in the US where only certain banks may carry foreign currencies without you having to order it in advance.

  • I was very happy that I had purchased some kuna in the U.S. before my Adriatic Treasures trip. There were several hours to kill between the time that we arrived at the hotel and the time that we could check into our room. I, and 3 others who were on my flight, decided to walk the walls of the Old City, because that was not included in Tauck's tour. The tickets had to be purchased with kuna, as did refreshments along the way. I was happy to be able to lend some cash to the others for those expenses. Yes, there are ATMs available (which I always use), but it was nice not to have to go looking for one before our excursion. Most stores and restaurants take credit cards.

  • I was looking at your itinerary and it appears you will be in Croatia for 5 days, if you count coming in a day early. I would suggest you purchase a small amount of Kuna for incidentals. You can obtain the Kuna at an ATM or probably a small amount at the Hotel you are staying at. I have visited many of these countries on a non-Tauck Tour. This should be a fantastic trip. I agree with Kfnknfzk that walking the walls of Croatia is a must do in your spare time and you do need local currency for that. Croatia will not begin to use the Euro until 2023.

    I always like to purchase a bit of local currency for any of the countries that I travel thru. I personally like collecting different foreign currency and coins. If you have left over currency from the various countries, you can always exchange the bills (not coins) at the airport before you return to the US, if you have time. I always like to include the countries currency in my photo album/scrapbook once I return. I treat it as an inexpensive souvenir. I also make necklaces and bracelets out of the coins.

  • Thank you for these great responses! Does anyone remember how much it costs to walk the walls? We will be sure to post a review of our trip when we return.

  • edited April 24

    Speaking for Europe only (South America for instance is a whole different discussion), I use local currency for small purchases - it's a way to immerse myself in the culture - credit cards for larger purchases (there are plenty of zero-fee cards & ditto for debit cards that are 100% fee-free). For brief stays in a non-Euro country, you may be able to get by without cash, depends on your shopping habits. I have more than once had to find a cash machine mid-transaction b/c outdoor markets are often cash-only, though that is changing. Personally I don't bring dollars to Europe and wouldn't expect travelers here to use their local currency. Ed, hope you have plenty of travel in your future & so bringing some extra euros back home shouldn't be a problem. Way back when, when euro was more expensive and volatile, I used to gamble on exchange rates and intentionally bring back euros.

  • I would not get foreign currency in the US ahead of time- get it at an ATM at the airport or hotel (not at a money exchange.) Despite being an ATM and all that entails with regards to possible foreign transaction fees, overall you'll likely get a better exchange rate. US banks may charge a high fee, if they will or can even get the currency you want! In any case, the fees and exchange rate will likely be more than charged by a foreign ATM. Of course unless you plan to buy some high dollar items, it is all budget dust when compared to the price of the tour and airfare. As to left over foreign currency- not a problem- it becomes part of the TD tip on tours were a tip is required. I'll need to figure out how many Euros to get for our upcoming trip since the TD tip is included in the tour price and we booked some private tours and activities that all want Euros for a change- our guide in Egypt wanted (crisp, unmarked bills (USD) ;) )- so it is best to ask when you book private tours and activities.

  • ^^^ Agree 100% with AlanS about using an ATM at destination. Notify your bank of your travels, so it doesn't get flagged as fraud. They likely have a section on their web site for this.

    I've done 9 international trips with Tauck, all but two outside Europe. Other than Euros, which I always have a small stash of, I almost never buy foreign currency. I'm not much of a shopper, but outside of third world markets, most places accept credit cards, including taxis.

  • I think that the walk along the walls of Old City Dubrovnik was 40 kuna. In any event -- I know that many people agree with AlanS and BKMD about waiting till you get to your destination to get foreign currency, but for me, the $7.50 that I pay to get foreign currency at my bank at home is worth the peace of mind that I get from knowing that I have enough to cover a few expenses when I get to my destination, rather than trying to find a working ATM (because sometimes they don't work). And I just purchased some euros for my upcoming trip (like others, I usually keep my left-over euros for future trips, but had only about 33 euros in my drawer), and the exchange rate was only 1.14 euros per dollar -- the best rate I've seen.

  • We get local currency at ATM when we arrive, but used to run around to banks before leaving. Not much difference in the rate, and really just easier to get upon arrival. Generally at tour's end, we may have some local currency to add to USD for the tip to TD's. We always tip the bus drivers, and generally, well, just about everyone except for those few countries where it is considered an insult. TD's in th past have always made it clear if they prefer only USD, but actually that was rare, since most are used to doing banking in so many locales.

  • edited April 24

    Now, if Tauck would set up an account for TD tips- for credit, debit, Apple Pay, VENMO, etc. Between the stack of crisp $100 bills for our private guide and driver, and the TD tip, we were carrying more cash than we ever do in the US.

    I forgot I had some 40 year old EGP at home. I wonder if they would have been accepted last month. Sometimes countries cancel currency (30 September 2022 will be the last day you can use Bank of England paper £20 and £50 notes. After then these paper notes will no longer be legal tender) and sometimes the currency, becomes worthless, e.g. Zimbabwe. A few years ago when we were on the Botswana trip and crossed into Zimbabwe where they were selling formerly legal notes as souvenirs! They were worth more that way! :D

  • Thought I'd mention that I once got chewed out in Montreal when I asked someone, in French, for the nearest ATM. He said it was "guichet automatique" and mumbled something about Americans, Not sure how he would have reacted had I asked in English. This was when the Quebec separatist movement was popular. Anyway, since then I try to remember to call them cash machines lol.

  • We all have different experiences and preferences. I, like MCD, perform all my travel related financial transactions in the U. S. and some in Denmark. I am not charged any processing fees and since my accounts are linked to my investment portfolios, I believe the exchange rates are quite competitive.

    We are older and, perhaps, somewhat more cautious when traveling. I do not wish to be standing in front of an ATM or even inside a bank with money in my hand.

  • One of our favorite Tour directors, Larry, will escort you to an ATM for your safety!

    Good idea Alan, about somehow being able to give tips into an account. We feel so nervous carrying such a large amount of cash to give as tips. You might suggest it to Tauck, you are on good terms with them. It's also good for those who miss the opportunity to give their TD a tip..I can’t tell you how many times new Tauck travelers have asked me after the Farewell dinner has taken place when they give the tip. The TD would not be seen again before they left the next day.

    With Amex, you don’t have to inform them you are traveling but can get a notification every time a large amount of your choice is charged to your account. .

    We haven’t had a card rejected at a foreign ATM the few times we have used one, but have been on tour with people who have had their card rejected or the ATM is not working or out of money.

  • Ed: I did a google search for the cost of a ticket to walk the wall around Dubrovnik for 2022 and one article stated the price is now 250 kunas per person or approximately $36.50 per person US dollars. It stated they also take credit cards. It is a 1-1/4 mile length and can take about 1-1/2 hours to 2 hours to walk, depending how crowded it is and if you want to stop to take pictures, which you will. The article suggested to do the walk in the morning or later in the evening when it is cooler and less crowded and to beat the crowds from the various cruise ships docked outside the city. The last time I did this tour was 2007 and I do remember it being terribly hot on the wall. Bring water with you, although I seem to recall there was a small cafe halfway thru the walk to get a refreshment. Back in 2007, it was cash only but I guess most tourist spots take credit cards now.

    Your Tauck Tour director should also be able to give you some information and tips about walking the wall and other things to do on your free time. They usually have a desk set up in the Hotel Lobby for a short time during your arrival or they may leave you a packet at the front desk. The details will be in the electronic Green Book they mail to you. Happy travels.

  • travel maven
    7:02PM
    The details will be in the electronic Green Book they mail to you.

    The details will be in the electronic Green Book they email to you. :D

  • MCDMCD
    edited April 24

    The cafe halfway around the Dubrovnik wall did not take credit cards last Sept.; neither did the ticket booth for the wall. Both were still cash only. I hope that they do take cards now now. (And come to think it it, the wall may well have been about the equivalent of $40 rather than 40 kuna...sorry!). And we did not meet our TD until several hours after we walked the wall.

  • Since most of this trip is in Croatia which uses kuna, I would recommend you have some kuna for incidentals, small souvenirs and light lunches. We took this trip the first year it was offered. When we arrived in Dubrovnik, the Tauck representative took us and the other two couples he was picking up to ATMs in the airport where we were able to get a small amount of kuna. It was convenient, fast and very safe.

    As others have suggested i would include any kuna you have not used in your tip to the bus driver, who is likely to be Croatian or at least will travel the route again.

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