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m4same
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It depends on a number of factors:

Where are you going?

Will you be using a credit card for hotels, restaurants, purchases?

Do you plan on hiring? If yes, find out the going rate and take enough to pay in cash for however many meetings you are up to.

Are you a shopper? Many times things are cheaper if you pay cash.

How flush you are can determine if this is within your budget or can you go higher?

Have a great trip!

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It depends on a number of factors:

Where are you going?

Will you be using a credit card for hotels, restaurants, purchases?

Do you plan on hiring? If yes, find out the going rate and take enough to pay in cash for however many meetings you are up to.

Are you a shopper? Many times things are cheaper if you pay cash.

How flush you are can determine if this is within your budget or can you go higher?

Have a great trip!

 

Great questions. I'm going to Chile, Patagonia, and Buenos Aires. I prepaid for most of the travel and lodging. I am hiring a couple gay guides in Santiago and BA. I may possibly hire for company. If so, probably not more than twice. I'm not a big shopper but may want to buy some things. I could go higher. I just fear theft.

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Hi @m4same,

 

I bring some emergency cash in USD but don’t use it (it is only for emergencies, which so far has never happened).

 

My bank does not charge me to withdraw abroad and the exchange rate is good, so that us by far the best deal for me: I withdraw on arrival at the airport and then use exclusively the local currency.

 

But be careful in Argentina, after 3 pm access to ATMs is limited, since many ATMs are inside the bank, and most bank close at 3pm.

Also many Argentinian ATMs only give 100 ARS banknotes. They are worth $5.7 each.

If you want to withdraw a lot, that will be a huge pile of small banknotes.

Also the ATMs often charges a lot per withdrawal in Argentina.

 

Another tip in Argentina: pay as much as possible with a Visa card or a MasterCard (credit or debit, doesn’t matter). For many services, you get the happy surprise to have the 20% VAT not applied, because you have a foreign Visa or MasterCard (foreigners are not supposed to pay VAT for these services)

 

It used to be that you had to claim the VAT back upon leaving at the airport (you had to keep your receipts), but now the government has an agreement with both these card issuers and they simply remove the VAT at payment. 20% can be significant on a hotel bill for example.

Edited by Tarte Gogo
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Hi @m4same,

 

I bring some emergency cash in USD but don’t use it (it is only for emergencies, which so far has never happened).

 

My bank does not charge me to withdraw abroad and the exchange rate is good, so that us by far the best deal for me: I withdraw at the airport and then use exclusively the local currency.

 

But be careful in Argentina, after 3 pm access to ATMs is limited, since many ATMs are inside the bank, and most bank close at 3pm.

Also many Argentinian ATMs only give 100 ARS banknotes. They are worth $5.7 each.

If you want to withdraw a lot, that will be a huge pile of small banknotes.

Also the ATMs often charges a lot per withdrawal in Argentina.

 

Another tip in Argentina: pay as much as possible with a Visa card or a MasterCard (credit or debit, doesn’t matter). For many services, you get the happy surprise to have the 20% VAT not applied, because you have a foreign Visa or MasterCard (foreigners are not supposed to pay VAT for these services)

 

It used to be that you had to claim the VAT back upon leaving at the airport (you had to keep your receipts), but now the government has an agreement with both these card issuers and they simply remove the VAT at payment. 20% can be significant on a hotel bill for example.

Thank you!

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Ask your bank that issues your ATM card the name of their corresponding bank in each country and try to use your ATM cards there to avoid surprise fees. If there are corresponding banks in each country you will need less emergency cash because there's no downside to withdrawing money as you need it. It's usually the best exchange rate you can get.

 

I still wouldn't go with any less than $1,000.00 emergency cash. As some have said here sometimes the US $ gets you a better deal.

 

btw, there are some great exchange rate app's available.

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Ask your bank that issues your ATM card the name of their corresponding bank in each country and try to use your ATM cards there to avoid surprise fees. If there are corresponding banks in each country you will need less emergency cash because there's no downside to withdrawing money as you need it. It's usually the best exchange rate you can get.

Thanks

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Rely on your ATM card for most of your cash needs. Make sure you advise your card's issuing bank that you will be traveling....and where to. Also review your ATM settings to be sure you are comfortable with daily maximum withdrawal amount. I've lived (off and on) and traveled throughout South America for over 30 years. You need nothing more than an active ATM card. Safe travels!

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I personally carry at least $5,000 in USD when I travel.

 

It is for emergencies. You’d be suprised how much trouble

$1,000 in cold hard cash....can get you out of!

 

I’ve never had a problem, but it goes in the bank safe immediately

upon my arrival and I don’t touch it until I’m headed to the

airport to come home.

 

It only raises eyebrows of young TSA agents. They almost always

call over a more senior agent....who usually just nods and off I go.

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When you go out of the country for vacation, how much cash do you take? I'm going away for 2 weeks and planning on bringing $1,000-$1,500. Does that sound like a good plan?

Real low to me but then again I've been robbed in New Orleans a number of time with too much money. But this doesn't sound like enough

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It only raises eyebrows of young TSA agents. They almost always

call over a more senior agent....who usually just nods and off I go.

Curious as to why TSA agents would raise any issues about the amount of cash you carry? They have no jurisdiction over one's transportation of cash out of the country.

 

The only exception I make on traveling with more US$ is when I go to Montreal. I usually go with about US$5k in cash. Never been questioned about it. TSA is never looking for cash if going through my bag. I go to Montreal anywhere from 5-15 times a year and my cash carry has never drawn attention.

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Curious as to why TSA agents would raise any issues about the amount of cash you carry? They have no jurisdiction over one's transportation of cash out of the country.

 

The only exception I make on traveling with more US$ is when I go to Montreal. I usually go with about US$5k in cash. Never been questioned about it. TSA is never looking for cash if going through my bag. I go to Montreal anywhere from 5-15 times a year and my cash carry has never drawn attention.

I think it's just generally a young kid who freaks out when he see's $5,000 in cash.

I think he assumes he's about to make a major drug bust...lmao. But as you said it's not really their jurisdiction.

Also, I incorrectly lumped all TSA, customs & security personnel from around the world into the category of "TSA".

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I think it's just generally a young kid who freaks out when he see's $5,000 in cash.

I think he assumes he's about to make a major drug bust...lmao. But as you said it's not really their jurisdiction.

Also, I incorrectly lumped all TSA, customs & security personnel from around the world into the category of "TSA".

In some countries, you have to declare a large sum like this (e.g. Brazil). But you are still allowed to bring it, just you have to tell them you have it and they can ask questions about what you are going to do with it.

Given that prostitution is completely legal in Brazil, you could actually and truthfully say to the customs officer: "I will hire many Garotos di Programma" and he has to let you through.

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Curious as to why TSA agents would raise any issues about the amount of cash you carry? They have no jurisdiction over one's transportation of cash out of the country.

 

The only exception I make on traveling with more US$ is when I go to Montreal. I usually go with about US$5k in cash. Never been questioned about it. TSA is never looking for cash if going through my bag. I go to Montreal anywhere from 5-15 times a year and my cash carry has never drawn attention.

 

Quite the contrary. To avoid “practicing law” on line I’ll avoid any specifics, but some can be seen on a number if reference sites like Wikipedia. It is against the law to take certain amounts of cash out of the country without declaration. There is an “exit tax” on certain amounts exported for certain purposes, such as expatriating and/or moving citizenship, for example. When money laundering became a a federal offense (after Warergate), enhanced surveillance was enacted, which quadrupled with the rise of narcotrafficking and then exponentially after after 9-11.

 

One of the form questions you are asked by customs upon re-entry IIRC is the amount of US cash one took out, spent and are returning with. The wealthy father of an acquaintance was a 16-month guest at Club Fed for taking 8 digits in cash and jewels out of the country on numerous trips with his wife prior to a banking related real estate bankruptcy in the late 80s. (It was easier for the US Atty to prove perjury on the form than the actual amounts of the offense.). Socially and “federally” he always maintained that his Phoenix-like financial resurrection in the mid 90s was due to consulting fees paid to him by his kids and their trust funds. He didn’t enjoy it very long, however, since he dropped dead at the country club from a massive heart attack.

Edited by deej
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See if one of your credit cards has no foreign transaction fees. I think most airline credit cards have this feature.

 

I know I have a United Milage plus credit card and a British Airways and they both don't charge foreign exchange fees. Again Credit Cards have the best possible exchange rates.

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Your second quote is not mine directly. It must have been a quote I responded to or he responded to mine. In any case, nothing in that quote disagrees with anything I said. TSA has no jurisdiction over one's cash carry out of the country. They are tasked with looking for explosives or something that could cause an incident on the flight.

 

One is free to carry under US$10,000 in or out of the country without the need to declare it.

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