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How much Canadian Cash to bring for 8-day trip?

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Michigan
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How much Canadian Cash to bring for 8-day trip?

We are a family of 4 coming to stay in Banff (4 nights), Lake Louise (1 night) & Jasper (4 nights). We plan to use a mastercard (no fx fees) whenever possible on our trip, but from what I've read we will need some Canadian $$ for our trip for smaller purchases. Any estimate as to how much Canadian Cash we will need for this trip? Is it safe to assume that most restaurants and Parks Canada will accept credit cards?

Calgary, Canada
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1. Re: How much Canadian Cash to bring for 8-day trip?

Parks Canada definitely accepts credit cards; I haven't paid cash for a park pass in a very long time. Only a few Banff restaurants don't take credit cards; Barpa Bill's is the only one that springs to mind as accepting cash only.

How much cash do you usually carry? Bring that. If you need more, you can get more from an ATM; there are several banks in Banff. Check with your bank at home to see which ATM networks you are on which have reciprocal arrangements with Canadian banks; those will be the ones with the lowest fees.

For more about this subject, have a look at this TripAdvisor Traveller Article, "Canada: Banks and Money":

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g153339-s601/Canada:B…

Traveller Articles are written by TA members like you and me, in response to popular forum questions.

Michigan
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2. Re: How much Canadian Cash to bring for 8-day trip?

We don't usually bring an ATM card on trips (and don't even use one at home). When we travel we usually bring whatever cash we will need for the entire trip with us when we come. For destinations where cash is often required, we have brought $1,000 or more and spent every bit of it before coming home. Do you think $500 cash is enough? I don't want to convert more US$ to CDN$ than we really need to. Or is that more CDN$$ than we will need?

Calgary, Canada
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3. Re: How much Canadian Cash to bring for 8-day trip?

I agree with Country Wife re using an ATM - I never travel with that much cash - I guess because I would be seriously annoyed if somehow it got lost or stolen.

The ATM spits out cash in the denomination of the country and exchange rates are about the same as doing it any other way (like paying by credit card).

And yes, practically everyone takes Visa and Mastercard - not so much American Express.

Banff, Canada
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4. Re: How much Canadian Cash to bring for 8-day trip?

MM99, no one but you can predict how much cash you will need. All we can say is that most places take credit cards and ATMs are readily available. Only you will know how much you are likely to spend outside of that. I agree with Country_Wife -- just carry whatever you would normally carry for 8 days on the road with your family.

If you are concerned that you will convert too much, then ATMs are totally your answer. You just bring along an amount that's on the low side, decide en route if you need more, and only get as much as you need.

Edited: 29 May 2013, 03:37
Greater Sydney...
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5. Re: How much Canadian Cash to bring for 8-day trip?

I totally agree with the advice above regarding ATM's and debit cards. To my mind they are by far the best way to go. There would most likely be an ATM fee, although these are minimal if using machines from any of the financial institutions.

Calgary, Canada
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6. Re: How much Canadian Cash to bring for 8-day trip?

Good gravy, if I was carrying around $1000 or even $500 cash, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night!

Jasper, Canada
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7. Re: How much Canadian Cash to bring for 8-day trip?

michmom, I don't know what your banking situation is at home, but I have a sib and a sib-in-law living in the US (NC and CA) and when they come back to Canada to visit, they don't bother trying to get Canadian cash at a bank in the US... it is just too much of a hassle - it has to be ordered well ahead and the exchange rates are not very good. They just visit an ATM in Canada as soon as possible to get a bit of cash. The ATM route seems to be the cheapest way of exchanging US$ for CDN, from what most have said here in the forums. I have also found using credit card is a good rate of exchange when I travel - many cards put their service charge into the exchange rate used; it's often about 2% on top of the inter-bank exchange rate. But you do need to double check that you won't be charged a per transaction fee - some cards charge around $3 for every out-of-country transaction, which would then make it a bad idea to use credit cards for small purchases. However, although I keep a small amount of cash in my wallet, I hardly ever use cash...almost everything goes on a credit card that earns points. VISA and MasterCard are accepted almost everywhere... the only exception I can think of is smaller B&Bs or, here in Jasper, private home accommodations - many of these are not equipped to take credit cards (but some are).

Don't forget to call your credit card company and notify them that you will be out of the country, with dates & locations (provinces). It's always a good idea, just in case your account gets flagged for possible fraudulent activity, since you'll be out of your normal area.... you don't want it to be frozen, or to have transactions declined, especially if you are depending on the one credit card.

8. Re: How much Canadian Cash to bring for 8-day trip?

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