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Best currency to take

wilts
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101 posts
80 reviews
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Best currency to take

We will be at CSA over Christmas and are wondering what is the best currency to take for using when buying from beach vendors, using in local shops and bars if we are out and also for tipping drivers etc. Should we get some US dollars or is it enough to take Jamaican money only. Also are there ATMs at the airport which will allow us to use Visa Debit cards to get local currency.

Detroit, Michigan
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354 posts
21 reviews
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1. Re: Best currency to take

I had the same question a few weeks ago prior to my first trip to Negril. I was hell bent on using Jamaican dollars as I thought it would be easier and enable me to ensure that I didn't get screwed on the exchange when getting change back inhamaican dollars. On hindsight, this was wrong.

Take and use US Dollars. It's easier...everyone takes them and it will be easier for you to determine if something is a good deal or not when negotiating....it got tough trying to do them mental calculation when dealing w Jamaican dollars.

Us dollars all the way. Take my word for it

United States
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11,470 posts
124 reviews
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2. Re: Best currency to take

For which currency to use see the following

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g147309-c140152/Jamai…

For where to change money see the following

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g147309-s601/Jamaica:…

Each person has different spending patterns (some spend more and some spend less). On my last stay at a Negril all inclusive I spent a total of $US20 for the week.

Minnesota
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258 posts
3 reviews
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3. Re: Best currency to take

We have a bit of both. we usually exchange $200 into J when we get there to have on hand. I just like having some for places that have the menu only in J or for a beach vendor. I like having US too for some things. It's just my personal preference - took me a few times to Negril to figure out how much of what works for me! Be sure to call your CC company before traveling and let them know you'll be there as well.

Kingston, Jamaica
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2,581 posts
23 reviews
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4. Re: Best currency to take

You're from the UK?

If you buy US$ it will cost you to convert your GBP to US. In Ja you won't get a good deal using them, and you have the confusion of converting values within 3 currencies.

Not everywhere takes $US and many market traders don't like them as it costs them to change to $J. That's one reason they don't give as a good a deal if you purchase using $US.

Little Rock...
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54 posts
59 reviews
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5. Re: Best currency to take

For use outside resort, take Jamaican dollars (easy to convert on arrival)

You will need ja for taxi's, local vendors etc. Im from US and

next trip I will only use ja.

Detroit, Michigan
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354 posts
21 reviews
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6. Re: Best currency to take

Ok - If you are from the UK it's a different story and probably doesnt matter whether you change from your currency to JA or US Dollars.

Rustedduck - I just got back from Negril a couple of weeks ago - I never felt the need to use JA$ for taxis, local vendors etc. I was always quoted prices in US Dollars up front and often times left the vendor/taxi drivers a little taken back when I told them I had JA$........just my experience, but I felt that there was no need for JA$. And I went everywhere in Negril.

wilts
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101 posts
80 reviews
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7. Re: Best currency to take

Thanks for all the advice. I think what JAsoldier says is very useful and probably answers my question. I don't really want to take two "foreign" currencies, so knowing that $Ja will be fine everywhere is good. We may have a few stray $US at home so will take them along just in case. Normally weherever we go we just get local currency from an ATM at the airport so I would still like to know if our UK cards will be acceptable in those machines.

Ontario
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79 posts
19 reviews
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8. Re: Best currency to take

Use Jamaican J's. Just do the math in your head so you can figure out how much things cost.

Calgary
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2,001 posts
22 reviews
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9. Re: Best currency to take

We find it easier to use Jamaican dollars as most restaurants/bars price in Jamaican and then if they convert to U.S. you typically pay more (or at best the same)...and you also have to wait while they bring your bill back in U.S. funds...then you still may want to calculate the conversion to find out if it is more or not in U.S. Carrying a small calculator can help a lot while you get used to the currency.

At ScotiaBank you can take out Jamaican or U.S. dollars at the ATM, you just want to check with your bank for fees.

Also, money can not be replaced if lost or stolen so we always take traveller's cheques in our currency (keep copies separate from cheques) and exchange at cambios as we go. The fees for traveller's cheques are less than the ATM fees for us, you can check with your bank how much it will cost to use your Visa debit card and verify that is can be used.

You will also get less of an exchange rate at home than in Jamaica, especially at your departing airport so you may want to wait and exchange in Jamaica rather than getting Jamaican dollars at home. I have found in Canada that we get 15-25% less Jamaican exchanging here than in Jamaica.

Here are the current exchange rates:

http://www.gracekennedy.com/fx-trader-rates

Enjoy your trip!

Seattle
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43,712 posts
14 reviews
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10. Re: Best currency to take

I used only JMD. I just find it easier to use the currency of the country. I got it using my ATM card at the Scotia bank ATM machine. I also had USD in cash, but since you are from the UK, you'd be getting hit twice on exchange rates. suze