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PittsburghNative

For those who got on/off your cruise in Vancouver, what did you use for CAD currency?

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Im asking this question in the Alaska forum as the Pacific Coastal/Canada forum isn’t that active.

 

I was looking at private vendors in Canada to do a post cruise excursion and I just realized I have no idea what I should bring before/after my cruise in Vancouver to make purchases. What do you use? Do you use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees? Do you convert USD to CAD and get physical money? Am I losing money if I pay for a Vancouver excursion using USD, whether in cash or a debit card?

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Credit card would always be first choice.

 

Vancouver is quite active on the West Coast Departures board.

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15 minutes ago, CruiserBruce said:

Credit card would always be first choice.

 

Vancouver is quite active on the West Coast Departures board.

 

Thank you! I didn’t even know there was a board for that. I resent my message there.

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Credit cards are good, but I like having cash backup.  What if a place can't accept credit cards for some reason?  What if my bank gets overzealous in their fraud monitoring and cuts it off?  What if I want to tip a street musician? What if I want to buy a postcard or an apple or something else too small to use a credit card on?  Plus, handling foreign money has always been part of the adventure of going abroad.    

 

I've found that the best rates for currency exchange are usually at an ATM that has an alliance with your bank (call your bank ahead of time to find out).  They generally exchange at a fair rate with no extra ATM fee.  If I have extra Canadian dollars at the end of the trip, I just save them.  Because...let's face it...I'm going back someday, probably sooner than later.  Then, on your next trip,  you'll have pocket/emergency money without having to exchange anything.

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1 minute ago, Melinda Brasher said:

Credit cards are good, but I like having cash backup.  What if a place can't accept credit cards for some reason?  What if my bank gets overzealous in their fraud monitoring and cuts it off?  What if I want to tip a street musician? What if I want to buy a postcard or an apple or something else too small to use a credit card on?  Plus, handling foreign money has always been part of the adventure of going abroad.    

 

I've found that the best rates for currency exchange are usually at an ATM that has an alliance with your bank (call your bank ahead of time to find out).  They generally exchange at a fair rate with no extra ATM fee.  If I have extra Canadian dollars at the end of the trip, I just save them.  Because...let's face it...I'm going back someday, probably sooner than later.  Then, on your next trip,  you'll have pocket/emergency money without having to exchange anything.

 

What would be your advice if I want to book an excursion online and it’s in CAD? Should I just use a US debit card?

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1 minute ago, PittsburghNative said:

 

What would be your advice if I want to book an excursion online and it’s in CAD? Should I just use a US debit card?

Online I would use a US credit card, especially if it has no foreign transaction fee as you mentioned earlier.  I would go with credit before debit.  I think it's safer and more reliable as far as what to expect.    

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Already answered the first Q over on the other thread; since you added an extra tidbit here I'll chime in the extra answer of 'I agree with Melinda' in that you should always use Credit, not Debit, for booking goods or services online due to the extra guarantees of the former as well as the lower risk of catastrophic issues in the event of fraud.

 

You're probably more likely to find a Vancouverite demanding payment in Timbits, beer, hugs or drugs than cash only - except strippers, but budget at least $5 a time for the latter as smaller denominations are coins so 'making it rain' risks assault charges;-)

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Avoid using debit card if you can. You don't get the protection as a credit card particular if that is linked to your bank account. We always have some Canadian dollar as we live close to the border, but we would use our credit card without foreign exchange fee wherever we can. We also earn rewards with bonus to pay for our next vacation with that card.

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In most large Canadian cities, U.S. $ are accepted.  The exchange rate may not be as favourable as at the bank, but you have the convenience factor of using the one currency.

 

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Someone mentioned Tim Horton's has pretty good rate in accepting US dollars. One may buy a coffee and get some change in Canadian dollar.

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We used a credit card only during our two days in Vancouver and had no problem with not having cash.

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We spent 4 days pre-cruise and one day post cruise last year (2018). Used two credit cards Visa and AMEX the AMEX seemed to have a better exchange rate than the Visa. Most places took credit cards, but if going to the market on Granville Island you need cash Canadian they did not take US dollars. Also get this at the Vancouver Airport when we where going back home just after you go through customs there is a sign that says "Welcome to the USA" and you walk through a shopping mall to get to the gates. Nobody in the mall stores took US dollars CD only but did take AMEX. I saw the exchange booth for CD to US dollars and had exchanged all the left over CD money to US, one would think Welcome to the USA I am back in the US and can use US dollars. UH wrong, tried to get a magazine and water- sorry CD only. Went to Tim Hortons to get breakfast sorry CD only. Thankfully they did take AMEX. 

 

We also found, my be just our experience, but we did go to a lot of non-touristy places, even the touristy places we found them to be CD only. Which we have traveled a lot of places and everybody takes US dollars with out issue, never have really had to 'convert' a lot of money to foreign currency. In talking to one local shop keeper she told us US currency was so easy to counterfeit and there where lots of people reporting fake US bills they where getting burned by it. So they like the CD money because it was harder to counterfeit after you see one of their bills the US money is so behind in printing.  

 

My advise is get CD dollars which you can get at AAA. But exchange any left over CD money in the airport. There are several 'booths' in the mall (just before the gates) that have good exchange rates. But get all your pre-boarding stuff / food before exchanging it. 

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We ate lunch at the market on Granville Island, my wife got a coffee at a different restaurant in the market, and we got dessert from the bakery in the market and all 3 places accepted credit cards.  So, it depends on where in the market.

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On 2/6/2019 at 4:56 PM, KYBOB said:

 Also get this at the Vancouver Airport when we where going back home just after you go through customs there is a sign that says "Welcome to the USA" and you walk through a shopping mall to get to the gates. Nobody in the mall stores took US dollars CD only but did take AMEX. 

 

In fact as a courtesy Canada allows US customs to maintain stations at major Canadian airports.  This allows the flights to land at domestic terminals when they arrive in the US and saves a lot of time and effort at that end. However you are still in Canada  when you are in the airport.  US CBP is greeting you but the land you are standing on is Canadian, the people in the stores are in Canada and most of the businesses are Canadian so you should not be surprised that they would want to be paid with Canadian dollars. 

You also would find CC use much easier with either Visa or MC, as many businesses do not like dealing with AMEX and its excessive fees.

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Last time I arrived the Vancouver Airport around 5pm and the US immigration is closed already. I had to go through the Canada immigration counter and recheck in as international flight for my connection to US.

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