Recently on a Facebook Cruise Group I read the question, should I use a credit card or cash when making purchases while in port. Its a great question and I am sharing my thoughts in this weeks travel tip.
First off, lets talk about what you should take off the ship with you into port. When I get off the ship, I leave my debit card and most of my cash in the safe along with an additional credit card. I do take a credit card off the ship with enough cash to pay for a taxi, for tipping and to buy a few items but most of the cash is in the safe. I leave the debit card because so if my wallet is stolen or I leave my card somewhere, I am not left high and dry when I get back on the ship.
Now, when you are in port and want to purchase some gifts or other items at a store, what you use depends on what you are purchasing. If you are buying some t-shirts or other small souvenirs, cash or card is fine. If you are buying something like art or jewelry, something pricey, a credit card is best. This gives you the protection you might need if there is something wrong with the purchase plus it gives you a paper trail. If you are purchasing tickets to a museum or an excursion, use a card for the paper trail. Most taxis I have taken in the Caribbean have been cash only.
Quick story. I have a cousin you bought a ring in the Dominican Republic and before she could even get back to the ship, her finger was green. She paid with a credit card so she was able to file a dispute and got her money back.
I would be interested in knowing practices others have when it comes to using cash or card while in a cruise port.
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I have a passion for travel and believe travel is about experiences. Experiences create memories and are the stories we tell to friends and family - even with a little fudging on the facts.