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What currency to take to Florida - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Hints and Tips

When you are preparing to leave on your holiday from the UK, what do you do about currency? I expect most of you will say Travellers Cheques. Well, yes they are fine, but you have to pay commission to purchase them and if you buy too many, you have to pay again to sell them back to the bank or from wherever you bought them.

They are very useful in Florida as you can use them as you would cash. You do not have to go to an exchange bureau or bank but can just hand them over to pay in shops or restaurants. However, if you run out, you are then into using your credit card and this can be very costly, as every time you use it to purchase goods or pay for dinner you will be charged a commission of upwards of 2. 5%. This will not show on your receipt as it is added onto the exchange rate they give you.

The best way is a credit card that does not charge commission in foreign countries. The only one I know of and use myself is The Post Office credit card (Others may be available). I never take any currency or travellers cheques, I use my card for everything. It may be wise though to take some currency in dollars for tolls and for coffees but for everything else the card is king. The Americans are used to using cards for purchases of anything over $5 so they will not refuse your card even if you did just buy a coffee with it.

The one difference you will notice in Florida from the UK, is that their cards are not chip and pin so you will have to sign for everything and not use your pin number. Do remember that all prices come without tax added on so be aware when shopping the price you see will be 6 or 7% less than you will be charged. I once saw a little boy come back to his Mum crying because she had obviously given him $2 for a $2 ice cream and he did not have enough because after the 6. 5% tax was added on it came to $2. 13 cents.

In restaurants it is the norm for them to take away your card and run it through their cash register and this can be alarming for some people who have had it drummed into them to never let their card leave their sight. It is, however, quite safe as they would never think of cheating you. Many restaurants now though have switched to using machines which they bring to your table. The most unusual thing for us Brits, is that they bring you your bill with your credit card already run through and then you add the tip and it appears on your monthly bill as the total plus the tip. I have no idea how that works.

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Page added on: 23 November 2012
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