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What currency do I use on tour?
Will vendors accept my debit/credit card?

Even if our trip is all-inclusive, we know that a beautiful scarf or leather bag in the local market can be very tempting. Below are the currencies to use and how widely accepted debit and credit cards are by vendors on each tour: 

Tour Currency Are Debit & Credit Cards Accepted?
Colours of Morocco Moroccan Dirham – MAD

Travellers cannot obtain or exchange dirhams outside of Morocco. You can also bring some $US with you to exchange for MAD.Cash is king: since it is illegal to take unused dirhams outside of Morocco, we recommend that you convert enough money for half of your trip, and top-up your pocket money for the 2nd half. Before returning home to Canada, you can exchange your remaining dirhams at the airport exchange counter, with proof of your initial currency purchase.
Credit and debit cards in urban centers

VISA and MasterCard are accepted in certain stores and restaurants in urban centres and in major hotels. 

Discovering Israel & Jordan Israeli Shekel – ILS

Banks, currency exchange shops and ATMs are all places where you can acquire shekels. The best bang for your buck tends to come from withdrawing shekels directly from ATMs (and it also allows you to travel with less cash on you!).


Jordanian Dinar – JD

Plastic goes a long way. It is possible to travel in Jordan almost entirely on debit and credit cards. ATMs abound in all but the smaller towns. All banks have large signs (in English) indicating which credit cards they accept.

Visa is the most widely accepted card at ATMs, followed by MasterCard. Other cards, such as Cirrus and Plus, are also accepted by many ATMs.

Most major credit cards are accepted at top-end hotels and restaurants, travel agencies, larger souvenir shops and bookshops. Commissions of up to 5% may be added to the bill, so it may be better to get a cash advance and pay with the paper stuff. Note that your bank may charge an international withdrawal fee when withdrawing money abroad (typically a $5 fee per withdrawal). Speak to your bank for specifics regarding their fees and to ensure that your debit/credit cards are accepted in Jordan. Your Group Guru can help you with sporadic bank-stops throughout the tour.

Breaking down cash. You’ll often hear the terms piastre or qirsh: this refers to 10 fils (so 1 dinar equals 100 piastres). Often when a price is quoted the unit will be omitted, so if you’re told that something is 25, it’s a matter of working out whether it’s 25 fils, 25 piastres or 25 dinars! Although it sounds confusing, it’s usually obvious given the context, and most Jordanians wouldn’t dream of ripping off a foreigner, with the possible exception of the occasional taxi driver.

Try to change larger notes as often as possible, as it can be hard to pay with large notes in small establishments.

Credit and debit cards in urban centers

VISA and MasterCard are accepted in certain stores and restaurants in urban centres and in major hotels.

Enchanting Portugal Euro – EUR

ATMs, banks and currency exchange shops are all places where you can acquire Euros. The best bang for your buck tends to come from withdrawing local currency directly from ATMs (and it also allows you to travel with less cash on you!). ATMs abound in all but the smaller towns. All ATMs and banks have large signs indicating which credit and debit cards they accept. If you intend on shopping or buying snacks, it is a good idea to keep some cash on hand as many small stores and restaurants tend to prefer cash transactions.

Credit and debit cards are accepted almost everywhere

It is possible to travel in Portugal almost entirely on credit and debit cards. Almost all stores and restaurants accept credit and debit cards.

Visa is the most widely accepted card at ATMs, followed by MasterCard. Other cards, such as Cirrus and Plus, are also accepted by many ATMs.

Grand Tour of Ireland Republic of Ireland: Euro – EUR
Northern Irelands: Pound Sterling – GBPATMs, banks and currency exchange shops are all places where you can acquire Euros or Pounds. The best bang for your buck tends to come from withdrawing local currency directly from ATMs (and it also allows you to travel with less cash on you!). ATMs abound in all but the smaller towns. All ATMs and banks have large signs indicating which credit and debit cards they accept.
Credit and debit cards are accepted almost everywhere

It is possible to travel in Ireland almost entirely on credit and debit cards. Almost all stores and restaurants accept credit and debit cards.

Visa is the most widely accepted card at ATMs, followed by MasterCard. Other cards, such as Cirrus and Plus, are also accepted by many ATMs.

Iconic Greece & the Cyclades Euro – EUR

ATMs, banks and currency exchange shops are all places where you can acquire Euros. The best bang for your buck tends to come from withdrawing local currency directly from ATMs (and it also allows you to travel with less cash on you!). ATMs abound in all but the smaller towns. All ATMs and banks have large signs indicating which credit and debit cards they accept. If you intend on shopping or buying snacks, it is a good idea to keep some cash on hand as many small stores and restaurants tend to prefer cash transactions.

Credit and debit cards are accepted almost everywhere

It is possible to travel in Greece almost entirely on credit and debit cards. Almost all stores and restaurants accept credit and debit cards.

Visa is the most widely accepted card at ATMs, followed by MasterCard. Other cards, such as Cirrus and Plus, are also accepted by many ATMs.

Peru & Mystical Machu Picchu Peruvian Nuevo Sol – PEN

ATMs, banks and currency exchange shops are all places where you can acquire Nuevo sols. The best bang for your buck tends to come from withdrawing local currency directly from ATMs in banks (and it also allows you to travel with less cash on you!). ATMs abound in all but the smaller towns. All ATMs and banks have large signs
indicating which credit and debit cards they accept.

If you plan on bringing cash with you to change into PEN, $US is the primary foreign currency accepted in major cities. Your Group Guru can help you with sporadic bankstops throughout the tour.

Credit and debit cards are accepted in major centers

Large retailers and restaurants in Peru accept credit and debit cards, however, cash is king in markets and small stores. Visa is the most widely accepted card at ATMs, followed by MasterCard. Other cards, such as Cirrus and Plus, are also accepted by many ATMs.

Prague, Krakow, Budapest & Vienna Euro – EUR

ATMs, banks and currency exchange shops are all places where you can acquire Euros. The best bang for your buck tends to come from withdrawing local currency directly from ATMs (and it also allows you to travel with less cash on you!). ATMs abound in all but the smaller towns. All ATMs and banks have large signs indicating which credit and debit cards they accept. If you intend on shopping or buying snacks, it is a good idea to keep some cash on hand as many small stores and restaurants tend to prefer cash transactions.

 

Credit and debit cards are accepted almost everywhere

It is possible to travel Prague, Krakow, Budapest & Vienna almost entirely on credit and debit cards. Almost all stores and restaurants accept credit and debit cards.

Visa is the most widely accepted card at ATMs, followed by MasterCard. Other cards, such as Cirrus and Plus, are also accepted by many ATMs.

South Africa & Victoria Falls Tour South Africa: South African Rand – ZAR

VISA and MasterCard are widely accepted in major stores and restaurants. We have a bank-stop planned during our first day in South Africa so you can use your debit / credit card to withdraw local currency. Note that your bank may charge an international withdrawal fee when withdrawing money abroad (approximately $5-fee per withdrawal, in addition to any margin on the exchange rate that they may charge). Speak to your bank for specifics regarding their fees and to ensure that your
debit/credit cards are accepted in South Africa and/or Zimbabwe. Your Group Guru can help you with sporadic bank-stops throughout the tour.

If you plan on bringing cash with you to change into ZAR, both $CAD and $US are accepted at currency exchange desks in major cities. Be prepared to present your passport when converting foreign currency into ZAR.

Zimbabwe: South African Rand – ZAR & US Dollar – USD

While in Zimbabwe, you can use both the ZAR and $US when shopping. We strongly recommend that you do not purchase Zimbabwean dollars as they are virtually worthless ($1 US = 362 ZWD).

South Africa

Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in South Africa. American Express and Diners Club are not as commonly accepted.

 

Zimbabwe

American Express, VISA and Diners Club are widely accepted (unfortunately, MasterCard is not!).

Sicily & Southern Italy

&

Signature Italy Tour

Euro – EUR

ATMs, banks and currency exchange shops are all places where you can acquire Euros. The best bang for your buck tends to come from withdrawing local currency directly from ATMs (and it also allows you to travel with less cash on you!). ATMs abound in all but the smaller towns. All ATMs and banks have large signs indicating which credit and debit cards they accept. If you intend on shopping or buying snacks, it is a good idea to keep some cash on hand as many small stores and restaurants tend to prefer cash transactions.

Credit and debit cards are accepted almost everywhere

It is possible to travel Italy almost entirely on credit and debit cards. Almost all stores and restaurants accept credit and debit cards.

Visa is the most widely accepted card at ATMs, followed by MasterCard. Other cards, such as Cirrus and Plus, are also accepted by many ATMs.

Treasures of Croatia & the  Balkans Bosnia & Herzegovina: Convertible Mark – BAM/KM
Croatia: Croatian Kuna – HRK
Montenegro & Slovenia: Euro – EURWe have a bank-stop planned during our first day in Bosnia & Herzegovina so you can use your debit / credit card to withdraw local currency. Since this tour covers countries that use 3 different currencies, it is a good idea to withdraw smaller amounts, so you are not stuck with a lot of a specific currency (this is especially true for the Convertible Mark).
Credit and debit cards are accepted in major centers

Large retailers and restaurants in Croatia & the Balkans accept credit and debit cards, however, cash is king in markets and small stores. Visa is the most widely accepted card at ATMs, followed by MasterCard. Other cards, such as Cirrus and Plus, are also accepted by many ATMs.

Vietnam & Angkor Wat Vietnam: Vietnamese Dông – VND

If you plan on bringing cash with you to change into VND, it is best to bring $US with you (as it is more widely accepted for exchanges).

Cambodia: Cambodian Riel – KHR

Although the local currency is the Cambodian Riel, locals prefer transacting in $US. Credit cards are now more widely accepted in major outlets (such as upmarket hotels, shops and restaurants catering to visitors). There are ATMs in Siem Reap. It is always best to carry cash in small denominations.

Credit and debit cards are accepted in major centers

An increasing number of outlets accept VISA and MasterCard; however, it is wise to carry cash outside of major towns and cities.

 

Pro tips for spending money aboard: 

  • We have a bank-stop planned during our first day of each tour so you can use your debit/credit card to withdraw local currency.
  • Note that your bank may charge an international withdrawal fee when withdrawing money abroad (typically a $5 fee per withdrawal). Speak to your bank for specifics regarding their fees and to ensure that your debit/credit cards are accepted in each country.
  • Traveller’s cheques are seldomly accepted, it is best to leave them at home
  • Avoid exchanging too much money at the airport or your hotel if you can – their fees are much higher than other venues
  • When exchanging currency, don’t get too taken in by talk of commission-free exchange or zero fees – everyone needs to make a living – you are paying these fees whether overtly or hidden
  • Make sure your debit/credit card has a 4-digit PIN. Longer PIN numbers may not be accepted by certain terminals
  • Make a note of the emergency numbers on the back of your credit cards in case you lose them
  • Always choose to be charged in local currency

 

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