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Holiday spending in USA?

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I'm looking into the best way to spend money on holiday in the USA.

 

We're only going to be in New York for 5 days but as we will be 4 adults and it's our first time in the US we'll be doing all the sightseeing stuff (and eating out a lot!) which will probably cost us quite a bit. It's also mine (50th) and YS's (18th) birthdays on the same day while we're away so there may be some birthday spending :whistle: .

 

Is it best to get loads of dollars before we go and just spend cash? Or should we take a specialist credit card? I gather we need to watch out for charges for cash machines.

 

The Halifax has a credit card which has no foreign exchange fee/commission or overseas cash withdrawal charge. You get charged interest on cash withdrawals but as we're only away a few days, we could pay it off as soon as we get back. We already have an account so should be eligible.

 

Or am I overthinking this and the charges really aren't worth going to the bother of applying for a new credit card :? ?

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I think if you booked with a travel agent they do preferential exchange rates which may be worth a look at. Last year the best exchange rate when we went away was with M&S money.

 

We had a travellers cheque card which I think acts like a debit card with no charges(?) and is more secure than taking cash with you.

 

Sounds good - hope you have a great time! 8)

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Hubby has a fairfx card, which gives a great rate. If you pay in a shop etc with it there is no charge. The charge for getting cash out is about £1.50. You get bonus for adding more than £400. If you go through Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert you should be able to get the card free.

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Dollars travellers cheques can be spent like cash and are probably the safest way to take money. We take a mixture of cash and pre paid card - Fairfx or Caxton are good, you can use them to pay for goods like a debit card or just withdraw cash from an ATM. I don't like using credit cards, too easy to overspend and I always feel a bit anxious as they don't use chip and pin in the states, just sign like we used to years ago.

Just to add, I've recently ordered currency for our next trip from Travelfx- excellent service and good rate, Fairfx usually give a good rate as well.

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I am just back from the US for the second time in 9 months - took cash only and had my credit card in case of emergencies - I was staying with friends which was easy for me but eating out is very cheap and remember everything has tax added to the listed priced in shops, supermarkets etc. Each state has their own tax (like VAT) and they set their limit. Enjoy it - the food can be really so so good to eat out. Make sure you have 50 dollar bills or less as they don't like 100's in some shops.

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Personally there is no way I'd travel abroad and in particular to the USA without a credit card. We were once stranded by the airline and bad weather in Chicago. We had to pay for extra nights hotel and food. Also if you need medical attention at all they can ask for some money to be paid up front before they'll treat you. Wouldn't trust a pre loaded cash card either.

 

I'd take dollars to start you off, travellers cheques and credit cards :)

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