In the USA you will use the US dollar as currency. US banknotes are available in denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.
Before going to the USA, remember to advise your bank that you are travelling. This ensures your bank won’t automatically cancel your cards when there is an unknown foreign transaction, which could leave you without access to funds.
You can easily access your own cash overseas by using the Key To The World travel money card, which is available from Escape Travel and allows you to pre-load funds onto the card in your desired currency. The card holds up to 10 different currencies, including US dollars, and can be used like a credit card for goods and services, or to withdraw cash from an ATM just like your regular debit card. When loading funds onto the card you set the exchange rate, so you don’t need to worry if the exchange rates vary while you’re away.
ATMs are easily accessible and found across America; outside banks, on main streets, in shopping centres and within bus and train stations. Be aware that when withdrawing money from overseas ATMs, international withdrawal fees are charged, and can be very expensive. Ask your bank for information on their international withdrawal fees before your trip.
It’s a good idea to carry a mixture of money options when you travel to the USA, including cash for small items and tips. You can pre-purchase US dollars from Travel Money Oz before travelling to avoid paying international transfer fees and commissions.
Tipping for services is expected in most situations in the USA, but the amount to tip varies. As a guide, tip 10 to 15 per cent of the fare for taxi rides, 15 to 20 per cent for a restaurant bill, and USD$1 or USD$2 for hotel porters.