By Little Gidding - Published January 08, 2006 - Viewed 426 times
How do you handle money while cruising? Do you carry much cash? Rely on credit cards? Access money from accounts (I assume you have money in a bank somewhere)? Do you have any bills that need to be paid while you are away?
We started out carrying a lot of cash and traveller's cheques with us on the boat; that was before automated banking machines were common. Now -- at least in the Bahamas and Caribbean -- bank machines are pretty plentiful in most places. You sometimes pay a hefty service fee, but they give you good hard cash. Alternatively, you can get credit card cash advances from real live people in most bank offices, again for a fee. Credit cards are accepted in larger establishments in tourist settings, but a lot of smaller out-of-the-way businesses won't take them. Sometimes you'll be charged more for a good or service if you use plastic (say, a 10% surcharge). We still keep a modest cache of US currency on board to use when we're between bank machines, but in those places where there aren't any bank machines and where credit cards aren't accepted, we generally find there aren't a lot of opportunities to spend money. You can only buy so many margaritas.
Before we left the real world, we gave our financial adviser (aka stockbroker) authority to access our bank accounts and pay our bills. Our credit card statements go directly to him. He does this service for free. In recent years, Internet access has improved, even in fairly remote locations, and we now pay most of our bills online, saving our financial adviser the bother. If you haven't done so already, you might want to set up all your accounts so you can manage them online. It still wouldn't hurt to give your account information to someone you trust at home so they can make money transfers and bill payments for you in the event that you can't find a cyber cafe.
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