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Currency & Spending money

Bristol, United...
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11 posts
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Currency & Spending money

Hi there,

I'm spending a week in Negril this month, and there's two issues I'd like advise on...

1) What currency is best to take for spending money?

My Jamaican friend (who is against the use of USD in the country) says to take Jamaican dollars, but just about all of the prices I have seen quoted are in USD, and I'm wondering if that's what most hotels/restaurants/bars etc would prefer.

At the moment I'm considering having a mix of both currencies, but I'm wondering if it would be easier to just get USD here and then change some when we arrive in Jamaica...

2) How much spending money for two people for a week?

I was thinking in the region of £400 between us. We're not all inclusive and would like to do a couple of trips/excursions. We like to eat out and have a few drinks, but not in mega expensive places generally.

Any advice much appreciated!

Thanks

Amy

Milwaukee, WI.
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1. Re: Currency & Spending money

Hi Amy,

Since you are at a non a/I and plan on doing some excursions, I'd figure on at least $100.00 American per day. I don't know what the equivalent in Australian currency is, I'll let you figure that out. I also don't know if Cambios in Jamaica convert your currency. I assume they would, but not sure. If they do convert your currency, I'd wait till I arrived to exchange. Will save you the cost of doing it twice. When exchanging, get some US and some Jamaican, as there are some restaurants that convert at their own rate. (Read rip off)

Hopefully, somebody else on this board can answer those questions.

Bristol, United...
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2. Re: Currency & Spending money

Thanks for the advice!

£400 is about $600 USD, so I wasn't too far off the mark. I'll have a look at exchange rates.

Amy

Austin, TX
Destination Expert
for Austin
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3. Re: Currency & Spending money

We actually ended up paying more when using J$ this trip a couple of times. Something would be priced on a menu $10 and they would charge $1000J (=$10.86 or so). Some places would calculate out the right J rate, This happened at several places when we had J$, not US$.

Hanau, Germany
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4. Re: Currency & Spending money

Don't change money twice, If you have British Pounds you can change them at a gambio, otherwise just use an ATM 30000,-- JMD is what you can get with one withdrawl, that's approx. 300,-- US$.

Even a lot of prices are in US$ you get a better deal with JMD, only very few places use the correct exchange rate if you pay in US$.

For a beer I was quoted 5,--US, 400,--JMD, another place 12,-- US, 1000,-- JMD, so even if you have to pay for your with drawls at an ATM you save money in the long run.

Toronto, Canada
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828 posts
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5. Re: Currency & Spending money

Whenever I go to Jamaica I use local currency exclusively. I find that prices are better in Jamaican dollars and it is easier for paying for small things, like cab rides, drinks, etc... I also found it beneficial to take Canadian $ and convert at the cambio directly to Jamaican $. This is the most straightforward way to convert currency and not lose money on conversion rates, i.e. do not buy U.S. $ with Australian $ and then use the U.S. $ to buy Jamaican $.

United States
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6. Re: Currency & Spending money

See the following

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

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

Whenever I go to Jamaica I use US dollars about 90% of the time and Jamaican dollars about 10% of the time. However, I stay at an all inclusive and normally spend $US20 per person per week or less.

Do you have English £ Sterling? If so then bring it as you can change it with ease in Jamaica if you need Jamaican dollars. If you do not have English £ Sterling then do not convert Australian to Sterling.

"I'm wondering if that's what most hotels/restaurants/bars etc would prefer."

In a tourist town like Negril the prices will be in US dollars and they will take either. You will normally get a slightly better price if you pay in Jamaican dollars.

Saskatoon, Canada
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2,944 posts
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7. Re: Currency & Spending money

Amy, I agree with your Jamaican friend. Many Jamaicans will tell you they prefer USD because they are more interested in short-term personal gain than the best interests of the Jamaican economy. If you don't need to, don't convert to USD or JMD at home, as others mentioned you will lose in the exchange. Plenty of places price in USD or both USD and JMD. Being Canadian, I also found it too confusing using 2 different currencies (JMD & USD) my first trip. Last 2 visits, I went straight JMD. If given the cost in USD, I just asked for Jamaican. Sadly, last month, I found too many times, I was automatically quoted USD. Convenient if you're American, but you're not in America....and the Jamaican economy is suffering so much already. If I were American and staying at an AI, I likely would go with USD for the little bit that I'd be spending. But if you'll be out and about a lot, spending money at small local establisments, I'd for sure use local currency.

Enjoy your trip!

Central Ohio
Destination Expert
for Negril, Port Antonio
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8. Re: Currency & Spending money

Using US$ is a convenience for Americans and there is ZERO reason to use it if your own currency is something else. I use JA$ almost exclusively and I am American. I have never encountered a situation in which it was cheaper to use US$, normally it is more.

At local restaurants, taxis, shops, supermarkets, gas stations, etc prices are posted in JA$. US$ is often quoted for tours and hotels and tourist restaurants, unless you are clearly local yourself.

There is not one establishment in Jamaica that will not accept JA$, there are many that will not accept US$ and the farther you go from tourist areas the more this is true.

I'd convert directly to JA$ at a cambio or use an ATM to withdraw money in JA$.

It appears that the Aus$ rate is almost the same as the US$ rate for Jamaican, around 95. When I was there last month we rounded to 100 to estimate costs, paid for everything in JA$.

Vancouver, Canada
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9. Re: Currency & Spending money

$100 US per day for 2 will be a tight. 3 meals a day plus some drinks and you want to do a couple of trips/excursions. Without knowing how much you like to party and have drinks, a budget of $50 per person per day is not a lot of money in Negril. You can always start with that and if you run out of money just hit the ATM in town.

Cheers

Bristol, United...
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10. Re: Currency & Spending money

Thanks for all the advice guys! I've gone for half USD and half Jamaican dollars. Was getting a bit confused with all the Aussie dollars comments, but then realised my avatar thingy still says we're in Perth! Back in the UK now so was able to get a good rate commission free at the Post Office. Looking forward to my hols now!

Thanks again,

Amy