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Cash money or Credit Cards

Myrtle Beach, South...
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24 posts
35 reviews
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Cash money or Credit Cards

Hi everyone!

We're going to St. Martin next month and don't have any clue as to how much cash vs. using our credit cards we should plan on. For example, using round numbers - if we're planning to have $1,000 to spend -- would you get $500.00 cash and plan on using your CC for the other $500 or would you take less cash (maybe only $100) and use your VISA CC for everything else? I've heard some places may not take credit cards ....

Also -- when you go to the beach, pool or snorkling ---- what do you do with your cash/credit cards, camera?

Any advice would be appreciated.


Robin Knox

Staten Island, New...
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13,877 posts
13 reviews
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1. Re: Cash money or Credit Cards

Some French side restaurants still offer 1:1 exchange for cash. Bring some cash and two credit cards, one for the hotel & car rental charges, the other for everything else.

You won't need a credit card at the beach so leave them in the room safe. Have someone watch your property if you're swimming or are away for a while.

Never leave any thing in your unattended rental car, nothing not even in the trunk, petty break-ins are not uncommon on remote beaches.

New York, NY
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354 posts
6 reviews
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2. Re: Cash money or Credit Cards

Just remember that most credit cards (except CapitalOne and one or two others) will charge you a 3% foreign transaction fee, even if the purchase was made in dollars.

Cupecoy Bay, St...
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10,272 posts
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3. Re: Cash money or Credit Cards

And on the French side, there's also a conversion fee!

St. Maarten-St...
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1,223 posts
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4. Re: Cash money or Credit Cards

Rule of thumb for us is bring only the amount of cash you need to the beach. Of course this depends on whether you will be renting chairs and umbrella as well as whether you plan on eating or drinking. We are light eaters so we bring approx $30 per person.

Then when going out to eat at night, we bring 1 credit card with a little cash for the tip. And if gambling, we bring a travelers check to cash at the casino. We don't eat on the French side so there is no 1:1 to worry about for us. If you do eat on the French side, you may want to bring cash or travelers checks so you don't have to pay the conversion fees as mentioned above.

For large stores (grocieries and department stores), we only bring our Credit card. For smaller stores we bring cash as some stores or stands will not take CCs.

The way we distribute out funds is 3/4 travelers checks and 1/4 cash. We also bring 2 credit cards and make sure that the CC companies know we will be out of the country so that it doesn't get rejected. We keep 1 credit card in the safe and the other is used for purchases. This is in case 1 gets lost or stolen. We also bring a photo copy of our passports and carry the copies with us as we travel the island. The original stays in the safe.

New York City
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17 posts
4 reviews
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5. Re: Cash money or Credit Cards

I just came back from St. Martin and I stayed on the french side and yes many restaurants as well as stores are still doing the 1:1 conversion so it's better to bring cash. If you pay with credit card it's 1:1.2 and as someone mentioned most credit cards will still charge you a fee for using your card internationally. For example a bill that was supposed to be $185 Euros / $214US came out to $238 on my CC statement. Keep in mind, even when you pay with CC for dining some places do not allow you to pay the tip with CC. Hope that helps... enjoy your trip!

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32 reviews
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6. Re: Cash money or Credit Cards

This year we bought this nifty little thing called a "vacation vault" to take with us to St Maarten. Basically it's a combination safe that you attach to your beach chair so you can leave to snorkel or walk on the beach. Yes, someone could cut the wire or steal the whole chair but that would be a lot of trouble considering there are plenty of other folks who have left their stuff unattended. Used it for the small bit of cash we did have at the beach, plus car keys. Highly reccomend it.

7. Re: Cash money or Credit Cards

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