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  #1  
Old 02-23-2011
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From those who have gone before

I'm trying to do some long range planning.

My experience in foreign travel is fly in, (convert minimum US to local currency for cab fare), (usually in one of the bigger if not biggest city), find a bank, (usually near the airport), do a cash advance on a credit card, (converted to local currency), carry a couple grand travelers checks for bulk/emergency purchases, Do all local business, convert any remaining money back to US and fly home.

Some of this might be applicable to a long range cruise, but I suspect in micronesia and a few other places there might be exceptions.

1. What is a recommended amount to carry in cash for fuel, check in, fees?
2. Do customs take American Express, (the airlines add these right on the ticket price).
3. Some smaller islands expect gifts, (how many and what objects are preferred)?
4. How much cash is suggested to take care of permits, and bribes?

Most of the cruising blogs just say "we checked in". A little detail would be good, or do most people just take it as it goes?
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Old 02-23-2011
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For customs checkin requirements, check with noonsite.com as it will cover many countries.

Carrying any substantial amount of cash is going to look a bit suspicious to many customs officials. Credit cards are accepted in most major ports and marinas worldwide nowadays.
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Old 02-23-2011
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In addition, there are sufficient destinations with ATMs that will let you get cash; some places even give you a choice between US$ and the local currency (Antigua comes to mind, where my inadvertant EC$ withdrawal of $200 instead of US$200 didn't get me very far ).

Bribes & gifts are not as widespread as one might think, and are inappropriate in most places.

Perhaps if you were to narrow down your destination to a particular hemisphere and ocean then you could get specific information; also as mentioned above, Noonsite is a source of relatively accurate and timely information regarding costs and procedures.
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Old 02-23-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
For customs checkin requirements, check with noonsite.com as it will cover many countries.

Carrying any substantial amount of cash is going to look a bit suspicious to many customs officials. Credit cards are accepted in most major ports and marinas worldwide nowadays.
Customs and immigration will want cash in most countries. Usually they will not accept any form of credit card. In the Caribbean they usually accept local currency OR US dollars.

Other parts of the world though you will need the local currency. But in most parts of the world it is possible to get small amounts US dollars changed in shops or on the street in a port city..
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Old 02-24-2011
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In our experience:

Check in: You will want to have on hand all the revelant Pilot Books for the countries you will be visiting. These books will explain the clearance proceedures for that particular country. (You need to proceed to a port of entry which normally is a marina. Marina officials there can also explain to you all the particular steps required for check in providing they speak English well.)

Cash: Most places do have ATMs. You'd be surprised how widespread they are. However we always carry some cash onboard for those times when the ATM is down and banks are closed. How much will depend on what you consider to be an emergency backup. Fuel prices often are much higher than the USA, epecially in Europe. Clearance costs vary from country to country. Noonsite is a good place to check first. I always do a fair amount of research before we sail, googling various place names + my specific questions. You'd be surprised the amount of good information you'll find.

I have never seen a customs agent that takes American Express. They want cash.

We never came across the need to bribe in the islands. In Egypt and other Middle eastern countries it is the custom. Carry some small denomination US$ bills. How much? You'd need to be specific to region or country you wish to visit. Gift giving can be a pleasant exchange, a way of saying thank you for kindnesses. Then you will need to think of some small, creative ideas. Ask people who have been to the places you want to visit before and they'll tell you what is appropriate.

Here is an example of a cruising guide's description of the entry proceedures for Jamacia
This link is from a great site called Free Cruising Guides

Robyn
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Old 02-24-2011
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the countries i've visited all have atm's widely available i usually just take a couple hundred u.s.dollars,be sure to notify your home bank so they won't reject your withdrawal from a foreign country
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Thanks, It sounds like I only need to carry enough cash for the next stop, $100.00-$500.00, then withdraw enough for the one after that at an ATM before I leave.
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Old 02-25-2011
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Just curious, why do you go to a bank and not use an ATM? In Italy your ATM transactions are debited from your account at the true exchange rate, while the money changers/hotels(esp) and banks (IIRC) profit from you at the bid ask spread of the current open market exchange rate.

I would think you could find a pretty good hidey-hole for some extra cash.
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Be very careful about how much cash you do carry, as many countries have limits on the amount of cash you can carry with you.

ATMs can often be a good choice, but many in foreign countries are also used for identity theft or have really outrageous fees attached to their use. American Express offices are a good choice if you're a cardholder.
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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

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Like sailingdog said. In some countries, (IE western developed, and some asian countries), ATM's are fine and I do use them. In other hemispheres I've had trouble finding ATM's that took foreign cards or didn't have other problems associated with them, (fraud, outrageous fee's, etc...). Plus if you take your card to a bank, and it is rejected no problem they hand it back and suggest another place to try it. An ATM, ...........
(it can take weeks or months to find the parent bank,and get your card back in a country that may not speak your language, if you ever get it back, or get your bank to deactivate it and send you another one).
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