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Money!! Take cash or debit / credit card or what??

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Victoria, Australia
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Money!! Take cash or debit / credit card or what??

Hi!

Can anyone please offer advice on best way to handle our money whilst in LA?

We will be coming from Australia.

Should we bring Aussie Dollars and exchange into USD at a bank?

Will our VISA Debit card work in the ATM's?

Travellers chqs & exchange at bank?

Or should we get an Australia Post Travel Card?

Thanks :)

San Francisco...
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1. Re: Money!! Take cash or debit / credit card or what??

Debit cards and credit cards would be fine. Just take larger chunks than smaller amounts to avoid multiple atm fees.

Los Angeles
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2. Re: Money!! Take cash or debit / credit card or what??

Agree - debit/credit cards at ATM's or to make purchases directly are the way to go - you'll get the best exchange rates this way.

San Francisco...
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3. Re: Money!! Take cash or debit / credit card or what??

But if you want to tip TA members we take Australia Post travel card, Is this some sort of a first day cover ? Does it have pretty photos of your country on it ? LOL

Sydney
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4. Re: Money!! Take cash or debit / credit card or what??

The Australia Post debit card is a good way to go. You get the exchange rate locked in when you load the card with cash. We were caught out on our trip in 2008, our dollar dropped from the high 90's to mid 60's halfway through our holiday. For our trip in 2011 we loaded up the debit card and had no trouble using it anywhere. One note of caution though, DO NOT USE IT WHEN YOU CHECK INTO A HOTEL! Hotels in America need to swipe your card when you check in, even if you have pre paid your accommodation. If you give them the debit card the funds come out and take up to 10 days to go back in. Just use your credit card from home and the transaction will not ever appear on your statement. (Provided of course that you don't skip out with unpaid mini bar, parking, room service etc charges). Try not to use your credit card for purchases, the currency conversion charges that our banks charge are a killer.

Manhattan Beach...
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for Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach
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5. Re: Money!! Take cash or debit / credit card or what??

Credit/Debit cards are the way to go. We usually bring an envelope with $100 cash to start, for tips or taxi money when we land and make our way to a hotel.

You can pay almost anything with the plastic card, but it's nice to have some $1 and $5 bills set aside, if you pick up a cup of coffee, postcards, or something small.

San Francisco, Ca
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6. Re: Money!! Take cash or debit / credit card or what??

Traveler's checks are definitely NOT the way to go... you pay a premium and don't get any real convenience. As mentioned above, credit/debit cards are the most convenient, while offering some protection for your funds. And not only hotels use your card as a deposit, but so do car rentals, bike rentals, etc. That can quickly deplete the funds on a debit card, so use a credit card for those, as well. You can usually pay your final bill with the debit card (or even USD cash) if you want.

Melbourne, Australia
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7. Re: Money!! Take cash or debit / credit card or what??

We are taking a bit of both.... we have a thousand or so in cash that we've been converting when the dollar has been good and we have also signed up for a new bank account which is a Citibank transaction account. This account has no fees for ATM withdrawal or Eftpos overseas.

If you use your normal debit card from your bank just make sure you know how much you're going to get charged. My bank was going to be $5 plus a percentage of the withdrawal every time I withdrew and a percentage and currency conversion fee when I paid via visa debit.

I don't think travelers cheques are the way to go anymore.

I used a post office card when I went to the UK and it wasn't too bad either, although there are still some fees involved.

Anaheim, California
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8. Re: Money!! Take cash or debit / credit card or what??

FYI, in many Countries The "Post Office" deals with things like Money Orders and the newer items like the Pre-Paid Debit Cards.

The US Postal Service used to be the main place to get Money Orders, especially International ones. But USPS has phased back its Money Orders options in the least decade or two, but still offfers them....

Many folks prefer an "official" government, or quasi-government issued item as compared to a private company.

Edited: 1:03 am, March 21, 2013
Sydney, Australia
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9. Re: Money!! Take cash or debit / credit card or what??

The Australia Post debit card is *not* a good way to go, as it has a very poor exchange rate. When this is taken into account, people using this card are paying around 4.6%.

For credit card purchases, use a 28 Degrees Mastercard. For getting money out of ATMs, open a Citibank Plus account and get a linked debit card. Both of these products have an exchange rate within 1% of the official inter-bank rate and no fees of any kind. For detailed information, see http://www.nickbooth.id.au/Tips/Cards.htm

Perth, Australia
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10. Re: Money!! Take cash or debit / credit card or what??

We took a debit card and it was great. We got it from the ANZ and put $5,000 on it. Put any amount you want on it. But as pointed out above, don't use it to check into a hotel, because they class them as cash and will remove about $600 from it straight away and it takes ages to get it back. But you can use it to pay any costs when you check out of the hotel.

They always ask for a credit card when you check in anyway, even if you have prepaid.

You can use the debit card like an Eftpos cash card, like pay for restaurants, shopping etc.

If you want some cash, Australia Post is the way to go. Their limit is about $1500, so if you want more, just go back and get another lot.

One tip, get a small zipper type bag (like a small makeup bag) and in this bag, put some $1 and $5 US notes to use for tipping. You will need some small notes when you first arrive for the bell boy, and many others you need to tip. You can change some larger notes into these smaller ones at the airport before you leave.

You don't want to hand over a $20 note by mistake ... as the US notes are all the same size and colour, although I have seen a few notes in a different colour...