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Old 07-21-2009, 10:58 AM   #1
sugarland
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Guide tipping question

I'd really rather not travel with (or use ATMs to get) the amount of cash we'll need for our guides' tips on our Ecuador trip next month. What do you all think - will they be inconvenienced if we tip each with a personal check?
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Old 07-21-2009, 11:54 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarland View Post
I'd really rather not travel with (or use ATMs to get) the amount of cash we'll need for our guides' tips on our Ecuador trip next month. What do you all think - will they be inconvenienced if we tip each with a personal check?
I think so, yes. A personal check is worthless in a foreign country. Even if they mail it to their bank in the states (IF they have one) they won't be able to access the funds for 2 weeks. Call ABD to get their opinion. In the trip booklets you receive in your pre-trip package it states:
Quote:
' Adventure Guides will accept local currency, U.S. dollars and signed travelers' checks.'
Personal checks are not even an option.
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Old 07-21-2009, 12:04 PM   #3
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Yes, they would be inconvenienced by a personal check...I don't understand why you wouldn't bring the cash with you from home, and then you won't have to use the ATM.
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Old 07-21-2009, 12:34 PM   #4
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We have used travelers checks--we look at the chart provided in the booklet they send you 45 days out or so before your trip to see the range, and then get travelers checks to cover the max amount and then some. That way we have travelers checks in case we need them, and they are safer to carry around than cash. I don't want to mess with a lot of foreign currency--we get enough currency to get us through airports (coffee, food, small emergency needs) and rely on ATMs or (mostly) credit cards. I'd get Travelers Checks in $20 denominations--it allows you to increase/decrease re guide amounts as necessary (although so far the guides, in my mind, all deserve the max!).
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Old 07-21-2009, 01:12 PM   #5
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For Galapagos, bring cash for tips - use a money belt or similar to conceal your cash. There are a few ATM's, but you'd have to search for them and you'd be losing precious touring time. One guide is from the U.S. and could possibly cash your check at home, but the other one is from Ecuador and there's no way he'd be able to cash your check. Don't bring anything over $50 bills for tips.

And bring lots of smaller bills, 1's, 5's, and 10's, for your purchases in Ecuador - most places won't give change for 20's. And by the way, since the ATM's give out 20's, they'll be useless for your smaller purchases.

FYI, the Marriott and the ship have huge safes. Hacienda Cusin had no safe.
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Old 07-21-2009, 01:17 PM   #6
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Also, except for hotels and the ship, most places in Ecuador don't accept credit cards and you're going to have a hard time cashing a traveller's check. Ecuador is on the American dollar - however, they still use many of their own coins - that's why it's best to pay as close to the amount owed as possible - for $1, they use the Sacajawea (sp?) coin but will accept your $1 bill. Finally, be sure your bills are in good condition - they will refuse torn bills or bills that have seen better days.
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Old 07-21-2009, 02:26 PM   #7
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A lot of foreign banks will not accept personal checks from outside the country, and if they did accept them, would charge the guide a hefty fee for it.

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Old 07-21-2009, 03:37 PM   #8
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FYI, if you decide to use traveler's checks, don't change your mind... I brought TC to use, but then another guest told me that they were hard for the guides to cash. I tried several banks in Venice but none would change them for me, so I wound up changing them at the hotel, and they charged me a fortune to do so.

This time I'm just bringing cash and tipping in cash - but it's a much easier decision when we aren't going overseas!
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Old 07-21-2009, 03:59 PM   #9
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money for Galapagos?

BeachBunny....is it specifically the Sacajawea dollar coin, or any dollar coin? I have some of the presidental dollar coins, but I won't carry them with me if it looks like they won't take them.

and by the way, thanks very much for all of your helpful info. We leave in 6 days!

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Old 07-21-2009, 08:52 PM   #10
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Dahly have a wonderful trip!!
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Old 07-21-2009, 11:34 PM   #11
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Dahly: About the dollar coin, I only saw the Sacajawea ones. And someone on the tour joked that they had heard that this is where all the Sacajawea dollars ended up. Since they are heavy, I wouldn't go out of my way to bring these coins or any other dollar coins with me. Dollar bills are perfectly fine.

And have a great time, we certainly did! Say hi or better yet, "LAAVA LEEZARDS," to Chris and Eduardo for me (Julie).
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Old 07-22-2009, 09:26 AM   #12
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Thanks for the info! I am headed to the bank on Friday so I will just make sure I get bills in good condition. Thanks again!
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Old 07-23-2009, 09:24 AM   #13
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no checks or travelers checks

I agree with you all and thanks for your advice. The latest and greatest version of our guidebook (which was corrected and replaced by ABD about a week after we received one containing some misprints in our backpack box) does not suggest that the guides would accept travelers checks - just US dollars. Checks and travelers checks for guide tips are out and cash is the only option on the Ecuador/Galapagos trip. The tip amount needed for our family won't make local ATMs an option, so we'll have to bring it with us. With daily ATM withdrawal limits, we'd need to spend all our free time hunting down ATMs.

Dahly - I hope you have a great trip!
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Old 07-23-2009, 09:43 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachbunny View Post
Dahly: About the dollar coin, I only saw the Sacajawea ones. And someone on the tour joked that they had heard that this is where all the Sacajawea dollars ended up.
Not all of them...in our house, those coins are what the tooth fairy brings

On both my adventures, I carried the tip amount from home in cash, stashed in my purse or carryon. Never had a problem. I also bring a card with me for each guide, and we write a personal note to go along with the tip. I think the envelopes ABD provides are just a little tacky.

On the shopping end: having smaller bills will also aid your bargaining power. Hard to bargain down to a few bucks, then flash a twenty and ask for change!

Have a great trip!
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Old 07-23-2009, 03:03 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kristilew View Post
On the shopping end: having smaller bills will also aid your bargaining power. Hard to bargain down to a few bucks, then flash a twenty and ask for change!
Ain't that the truth! Whoops!

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