It can be difficult to know how much cash to bring when going abroad. Generally speaking, exchanging about $200 USD is a good idea, unless you know you are going on quite a few excursions where you will need to pay cash. There will be ATMs wherever you go and the exchange rate is usually good. You can always exchange any unused cash once you return. Remember, from Tip 85, exchange some small bills/coins so that you can use it right away when you land.
Yesterday we shared a tip on making sure you carry toilet paper with you while visiting the island. That was honestly the best advice we got prior to our trip so it felt worthy a separate post.
Here are some other tips:
- You will need a visa if traveling from the US. Airlines and cruise lines sell them. They are about $75/person and can be issued immediately.
- CUC (Cuban Convertible Peso) is the main currency. There is another option, the Cuban Peso, bur that is more for locals. The CUC is pretty much dollar to US dollar but the exchange taxes the conversion of US dollars something like 13%. It is more advantageous to convert from Euros so we had planned ahead and brought those instead. Also, US banks cannot concert the cash for you so it is something you have to do once you are in Cuba.
- As of this writing, you can bring back 100 cigars and 1 liter of rum duty free per adult traveler. It is best to buy both from official retailers to avoid fakes.
- There are hundreds of classic cars for hire relatively inexpensively. A fun way to view the city!
- Drink only from sealed, bottles beverages.
It is helpful to let your credit card company know you are traveling even if only a few states away. The bank’s fraud protection often proactively freezes your account if they notice unusual charges. I had to follow up with mine once just inside the Disney gate after charging our breakfast purchase nearby. Not a fun way to start the day.
Is it better to pay in foreign/local currency or your home one when given the option at the check out counter? Experts agree the conversion rate and fees are better if you pay in the local currency. So next time you get the option, chose the currency of that country and not your own. More on dynamic currency conversion here.