Cruise Control Your Cash

How Much Money Should I Take on a Cruise?

How to make the most of your Money whilst on a Cruise.

More than two million passengers chose to holiday on a cruise last year*, with the average spend on-shore increasing by 16%**. They can be an expensive affair with a lot to see in a short amount of  time, and with so many activities and destinations on offer you can easily end up out of pocket, making smooth sailing less enjoyable.

cruiseWith cruising continuing to be a growth area and appealing to younger and wider audiences, Travel Money Club founder, Don Clark has shared his top tips for making the most of your travel cash while sailing the seven seas.

  1. Exchange cash before you travel

Exchanging your cash weeks and even months before you travel means that you can lock in the best exchange rates for each currency. Make a list of your destinations and the currencies you will need when you arrive. Some destinations may accept more than one currency, so do your research and make sure you have the correct one. It’s best to find a currency that is broadly accepted at a number of the ports and attractions at your destination, as using a widely accepted currency such as US Dollars or Euros means you won’t end up with lots of leftover currency in small denominations which can’t be bought-back after your trip.

Exchanging cash when you arrive at your destination or on-board leaves you at the mercy of local exchange rates, with very limited choice and potentially high commission.

  1. Avoid spending on-board, wait until your destination

On-board shops charge a premium as they have a captive audience, so try and avoid spending too much while on-board and save your souvenir shopping for your destinations. Once on land there is more choice, products are local and authentic and you can negotiate a better deal.

  1. Budget for each destination

Figures show 80% of people who have taken a cruise holiday value the ‘chance to visit multiple destinations’ above everything else*.  With this in mind, be sure to plan ahead and portion your cash evenly for each destination so that you can enjoy and explore the surroundings at every stop without falling short. Keeping each currency in a separate wallet or envelope means that confusing notes and coins aren’t mixed.

Do a little research before you travel, check what the value of the local currency is in comparison to Pound Sterling with the help of the Travel Money Club website or app. It’s important to avoid taking too much of a particular foreign currency and being left with multiple types of redundant currencies when you move on to the next destination. This often results in small amounts of travel money from each destination ending up in a drawer at home never to be used again, leaving you out of pocket.

  1. Be wary of additional charges

Beware of extras while on your cruise. Packages may seem “all inclusive” but there can be added fees once on-board for alcohol, laundry service, speciality restaurants, spa treatments, WIFI and tips for the staff. Often these costs will be charged to your room and it’s all too easy to rack up a bill when cash doesn’t change hands on-board.

If you can’t pay in advance, plan and anticipate the amount of cash you intend to spend. Also ask for an itemised receipt – you don’t want any unwanted surprises once you arrive back home. Paying for on-board extras in the local currency rather than Pounds Sterling also means your purchases are paid for at the most favourable exchange rate.

  1. Plan excursions in advance

Excursions can be an expensive affair when cruising, check what is included in your day trip when booking. Often food, drinks, tips and even admission to attractions have to be paid for in addition to the day trip fee. If you are booking an excursion with a local vendor, remember that you can haggle depending on where you are in the world to negotiate a cheaper cost. Shopping around for the best rate will help you avoid last minute and expensive purchases.  Remember, it is always better to pay in the local currency and cash is often king.

Travel Money Club guarantees members the best exchange rates on foreign currency or their money back. For more information please visit