Tips for handling money on extended trip?

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Tips for handling money on extended trip?

Postby eric.1320 » Mon May 03, 2010 4:20 pm

Hi everyone, I've never really travelled before so bare with me! :lol:
I figured if I'm gonna do it, I've gotta do it right... so I'll be heading out for 46 days on "Central America and Mexico (Southbound)" on May 15th. (Trip Code JXS)
It's getting closer and closer; I've got most of my pre-planning and supply gathering done... but being new to this I don't really know what to do about money while I'm there.

I understand that US currency is the way to go (I'm Canadian btw) but don't want to be wandering around with a big wad of cash. Especially on a trip like this where the meal expenses alone will come in around 800-1000 dollars. Is it a good idea to open a US Currency bank account before leaving? Or just exchange everything while I'm there? ATM access shouldn't be a huge issue no?

What do all you sly veterans normally do?
Any other tips for Central America between May-June?

Thanks in advance for any help :D
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Re: Tips for handling money on extended trip?

Postby JaliscoJudy » Mon May 03, 2010 7:09 pm

Can only speak to Mexico (I lived there for 5 years until last July), but I don't agree that using US dollars is necessarily the way to go. It's actually illegal to pay in dollars because only authorized places are permitted to exchange them. I know that people do use dollars though and you would probably never get in trouble for it. In my experience, however, not everyone wants dollars (maybe in the Yucatan they do but I doubt that they do in Chiapas) but everyone takes Mexican pesos. I have found ATMs to be abundant and reliable for my VISA debit card (StarPlus network, I think). I can get up to $3,000 pesos per day (about $225 USD). If you get too much, you can always change it back on the way out of the country.
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Re: Tips for handling money on extended trip?

Postby francine_16 » Mon May 03, 2010 8:56 pm

I don't know about this particular trip, but I have been to central and South america and would say don't worry about carrying too much cash ATMs are easily accessible and if you are heading to a town where there will not be atm access your guide should tell you before hand so you can take out money. I have had guides who will give suggestions on how much you should need until you get to the next atm.

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Re: Tips for handling money on extended trip?

Postby ballu » Wed May 05, 2010 5:47 pm

I withdraw a few days worth of local currency from ATMs as I go. I also generally keep a few hundred USD for exchanging in case I can't find an ATM.

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