Monday, September 10, 2012

Using US Cash in Latin America

If you will be visiting Central or South America, you will find that US dollars are accepted almost everywhere. Change may be in local currency so be prepared with small bills: $1s, $5s and $10s.

The bills need to be in excellent condition. That means no writing on them, no tears and no signs of wear. If youare in doubt about the bills you are taking, make arrangements with your bank to get new currency.

Whatever you do, don't take $100 bills to use anywhere other than your hotel ... and maybe not even there. We travel with only $1s, $5s, $10s and $20s in cash and get local currency from an ATM machine.

Be a good visitor to the local people. Don't be like some of the travelers on a recent trip we took ... the day after tips were given to the staff, two (that we know of) approached travelers, including us, asking if we had crisp bills to trade with tip bills they had been given. One crew member had a $100 bill! It was in excellent condition but it would be very difficult for him to change. We also traded some smaller bills with him ... no writing or tears on any of the bills but we could see where some of the bills he had been given were worn around the crease.

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