Top 5 Money Tips
What to watch out for.
Don’t worry about changing money into foreign currencies. Although St Maarten is half-french half-Dutch, you don’t need Euros or Guilders. The Caribbean islands have trade agreements with the US which means Dollars are accepted everywhere.
You can also use ATM’s on the island so don’t need to worry about travellers checks or other such ancient methods.
The French side may seem more expensive because everything is in Euros – which can be 30-40% more than the Dutch side. However, there are places on the French side that offer 1 to 1 Dollar to Euro so you can really make some savings. The places which do this changes from time to time, but in our e-book you will find some of the establishments that are 1 to 1.
#2 Hidden Costs
If you’re going on a cruise you would be best advised to budget for gratuities of $10 per person per day as well as a little extra for those people who really go out of their way to help you or impress you with their service.
What they don’t tell you when you pay the really low cost “$395” special is that it may not include all port taxes (which vary from $5 per head to $20 per head per port). It also doesn’t include alcoholic drinks which can send your budget way up.
#3 Savings & Discounts
When you get on board the ship you will be offered a large impressive-looking coupon book with hundreds of pages – all for only $25. Whilst it may seem like a good deal (and we know there ARE some good offers in there), the book includes ALL the possible stops on any itinerary.
Which means if you are going on an Eastern Caribbean cruise with 5 stops, you will also have coupons for a Western Caribbean cruise which you will go nowhere near. Use your judgement to see if it seems like a good deal.
In our coupon book we have over 40 various coupons and discounts with over $1,000 value all for St Maarten. So if you’re staying over at a hotel the book is perfect for the week, and if you’re on a 1 day stop on a cruise you can make use of the 1 day itineraries which have discount coupons for each place on the trip.
#4 Credit Cards
Before you go on vacation, make sure you tell your credit card issuer that you will be travelling and they should expect authorization requests coming in from foreign lands. If you don’t, you may find yourself stuck at a shop trying to call through to get authorization and wasting a lot of time in the process.
Always make photocopies of your cards (and other valuable documents) and keep a copy with a friend at home and a copy with you …just in case you need to cancel them immediately.
When you get on the ship they give you a ‘substitute’ credit card that is valid on board only. This way you can spend away without thinking how much you’re running up. Keep a notebook and write down all the costs as you go along – you’d be surprised how quickly it mounts up when you’re having fun in the sun with a few drinks. You don’t want to have to take out a second mortgage when you get home just to cover your credit card bill.
#5 Ways to reduce costs
If you’re staying on island and go grocery shopping, why not go to the little chinese supermarket close to your hotel/timeshare instead of the big fancy supermarkets (or the expensive hotel ‘convenience stores’, for the necessities?
Although the small chinese supermarket may not look as clean and inviting, they actually sell the same necessities as the big supermarkets because it’s all from the same suppliers, but often much cheaper! We’re an island, the distributors all send the same stuff from the US and then it goes to all the supermarkets.
If you get a list of the happy hours from our e-book, you will find a great way to bar-hop for half the price.
Look out for ladies nights where the drink is half price or free. The Megaplex cinema also has a ladies night every wednesday!
Ask for ‘local’ discount or rate – you’ll be surprised how much you can save.
If you use the very first coupon in the bonus coupon book, you will already have made back the cost of the book!
Packed with over 100 pages of well-written & researched, concise, ESSENTIAL INFORMATION that anyone looking to visit St. Maarten/ St. Martin needs to know!
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