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  1. #1

    Default How much cash to bring?

    After waiting for nearly a year we are finally going to CSA in less than a month and a half! I have been reading this board the entire time getting more pumped up by the day. One question I haven't seen asked is how much cash do most people bring? I know you need to tip the driver and baggage handler but have no idea how much. Any help would be much appreciated.

  2. #2


    It really depends upon what you want to do while you are there. The tip for the baggage handlers is usually $1.00 per bag, so both ways you would need $10.00. The tip for the shuttle bus driver is usually $5 per person per way, so you would need $20.00. The shuttle bus usually stops on the way to Negril, so you should have some money to buy some refreshments - $20 -$30, depending upon how much you want to drink. If you are not planning on going off the resort at all or doing any excursion, you do not need to bring any extra money as you don't need to tip the staff at CSA, unless you are going to the spa (since they are not Couples employees). My usual tip at the Spa is $5.00 per service. If you want to take a walk down the beach you will need some money for beer and perhaps food if you are interested.

  3. #3


    We did twenty each way for the driver and a buck a bag for the porters at airport. We bring 300-400 in smaller bills between the two of us just in case and we always bring money home. We always seem to spend a bunch at the airports waiting for planes.

  4. #4


    How much cash you bring depends on what you want to do or buy. We have brought around $400us and have gone home with some left.

    We tip: the baggage handler $5 for 3 bags both coming and going.
    the driver $20 both ways
    the lovely spa workers 20%
    the Cat cruise $20 in the tip jar and a few$ for the kids who jumped.
    There are things you can buy from beach vendors, from bracelets for $5 to wood carvings for $25 plus.
    I believe there is a ATM up stairs from the lobby is you need more cash, No clue what the fees are.

  5. #5


    It varies but we found a suggestion on the board that worked well for us. We took $400 as follows: $100 in 1, $100 in 5, $100 in 10 and $100 in 20. Only used the $10 and $20 for the beach vendors.

  6. #6


    It is difficult to answer because everyone is different....
    I have known people who spend less than $100 and some who spend $1000 in a week.

    Must use cash for tipping baggage handler in MBJ and bus driver 2 ways.
    Tip at spa.....Some $$ for beach vendors, etc....

    At CSA a walk down the beach can cost nothing or $$$ if you buy stuff.....
    Bring small bills $1 and $5 for tips.....

    I would say the average may be $300-$500 depending on planned activities. Many can be charged to hotel.
    Bring what you feel comfortable with and you do not have to spend it.


  7. #7


    That depends on you.

    Some people will tip the driver $5 per bag. Some will tip more. Personally it depends on the drivier - how interactive was he? Did he offer any informaiton regarding the parishes we're driving through? Did he stop to pick up his dry-cleaning? Did he wait until he had a bus full of people to stop and get gas? Did he make an extra pit stop to allow someone to relieve their bladder from too many Red Stripes in the lounge? etc. I can say I've tipped as little as $10 and as much as $30.

    Baggage handlers/Porters get $1-$2 per bag at the airport.

    I always bring extra to support the locals on the beach, or to pick up a wood carving, a painting, or something else to decorate my tropical paradise at home.

    You can literally bring $30 and go home with change if you want, or you can bring $300 and go home with nothing. I prefer to bring the latter and have left-over.

  8. #8


    I'd say when we went back in 2003, we brought about $300 in cash. We tipped the baggage porters at the airport $2 per bag, $10 for the bus driver, I want to say we paid $18 for a bucket of red stripe on the way *best money we spent while there! great way to start the vacation. Then, on the way home, you have got the same thing, minus the red stripe! You could get away with $50 in cash, but we brought reserve. If you want souvenirs, or art work, cigars, etc. If you are going on excursions, bring more cash for tipping. Whenever you leave the resort - tip, tip, tip! Carry your tipping money in different pockets in small increments. Split it up between the two of you, so either one of you has it when necessary. If you are using the spa, you may need to bring more, or use your credit/debit card. I'd still tip in cash at the spa, though. Tipping in the spa is not forbidden, and indeed much appreciated!

  9. #9


    I usually tip the driver a $20 for both me and my fiance. The drive is long and we usually get lucky with a really friendly driver. We give the bell man a $5. You really just need enough cash for excursions and for souvenirs also. Last time we stayed a week and I spent $350. Hope this helps.

  10. #10


    We are taking the air shuttle from MB to Negril. Any suggestions for tipping via that route?

  11. #11


    As far as baggage handlers go, I am assuming that most everyone is referring to the airport? When arriving/departing the resort, do you tip the baggage handlers (bell man)?
    CSS 5/21-5/31/13
    CSS 4/12-4/24/15

  12. #12


    I am curious if anyone knows how much the ATM fees typically are. I don't want to bring too much cash and have it stollen but I don't want to pay a ton in ATM fees either.

  13. #13


    Thank you very much for all of the replies. I guess I was a little vague with my questioning. For the most part I had no idea what to tip the driver, handlers, and the people doing the massages and I wanted to know how much to tip so I didn't tip too little and look like a jerk lol. All of the replies have been very helpful and I now have a plan of how much to bring.

  14. #14


    Couples is mostly cash-free. Reasons to use cash:

    Tipping baggage handlers at the airport. We have only 2 carry-on bags between us and tip $5 total. If you bring huge bags, you might want to tip more.

    Drivers to/from the airport. We tip $10-$20. Tipping isn't required but most people give them something.

    Spa tips. We tip the same as we would in the US -- 15-20% on the undiscounted price (if you use vouchers, etc.). Obviously the amount depends on the number and type of spa treatments.

    Beach vendors. Items vary in cost, from $10 to hundreds of dollars (some of the larger wooden carvings). Again, this is very subjective. If you don't plan to buy anything, you need zero dollars.

    At the airport, you can use credit cards for almost any purchase.

    We don't do off-site excursions, so can't comment on those.

    SO . . . you could probably spend as little as $20 or, as others above have said, up to $500. We typically spend $50 - $100 total, which includes one or two spa treatment tips and/or a beach vendor purchase. I would bring more cash, rather than less, just in case you want/need it. Do NOT change US into Jamaican -- US is accepted everywhere that you want to go.

    As with ANY place in the world or ANY hotel, keep your money in the safe at the resort and don't carry more than you need when out and about (off the resort).

  15. #15


    The first year we came I brought $1000. Didn't need it! Spent a few dollars for the porters at the airport, ten each way to the shuttle driver and I think my wife spent $30 with vendors and the rest we charged to our room. I'm usually a cash guy but it was nice bringing most of it home with me.

  16. #16


    At CSA we always take $5 bills to the beach with us to tip the musicians. One group brought their kids one day and we tipped the kids chocolate. We usually take around $500 in cash. We tip the spa employees $20.

    Life is good

  17. #17


    Just a word of warning that you cannot always depend on the ATM at the resort. My debit card would not work in the ATM, but my husbands did so make sure your card will work before you go (mine would only work at the scotia bank in town). Also the ATM runs out of money all the time it seemed so we were never able to take out cash. This was a pain.

    Also regarding the comment about money being stolen, if you keep it in your safe you won't have an issue.

    Also make sure you monitor your credit card statements once you return. I used my CC at Dolphin Cove in Ocho Rios and a couple of shops in the airport. Several months later someone tried taking a cash withdrawal off my CC in Montego Bay and also tried to make a large purchase thankfully my credit card company caught it but they ended freezing my bank accounts and credit account (2 weeks before Christmas) until the issue was investigated. So just be vigilant, I think this time we will only use cash for off resort purchases.

  18. #18


    Also don't forget tip money for tour guides if you do zip lining or Duns River Falls. I only used CC at the resort and didn't have any problems with charges after. I used cash everywhere else.

  19. #19


    If you plan to leave the resort, it's always a good idea to have a few extra $$ in case you see something you just have to get. I also am always a bit more comfortable having a few bucks if there is some kind of an emergency or the like you need to attend to. One trip some years back, I became ill, and the doctor visit to the room was $150. I agree about not using credit cards off resort though (although in the hotel have never had an issue).

  20. #20


    We take $400 in small bills .... Mostly $5's & $10's with a few $20's & maybe $50 in $1's. We spend more of it coming & going at the airport for food & drinks while waiting on our flights than we do anyplace else. We only spend about $150 or less with the beach vendors for trinkets, to tip the beach musicians, & misc. other tips for baggage handlers (we do $5 for 3 bags) & usually $20 for our shuttle driver going to the resort because he's normally more talkative & usually $10 going back because they never make conversation at all & there is normally a large bus full of people. If you're planning on going off resort much, you will need more possibly because you may buy more trinkets & have tour guides & drivers to tip. Honestly, though, you can go without much cash & have a GREAT time because Couples really is all inclusive.

  21. #21


    I'd recommend bringing most (if not all) of your money in $1's and $5's, with a few $20's (if you think you may make a large purchase like carvings, etc. I think most of the traveling vendors would prefer not to make change on the beach.

  22. #22


    PLEASE PLEASE tip the Spa people AT LEAST the same as you'd tip in the US! They're doing no less for you if you have a voucher or pay for your service. 20% minimum. They're fabulous!! You do not tip the bellmen at the resort, it's all-inclusive.

    I had to use the cash machine last week due to a minor emergency and the fee was $6 for $80 cash (please don't make me do the math ).

    The service you receive everywhere in Jamaica is superb and you should tip at least what you would in the US.

    Vendor recommendations: Buy your bracelets and hand-made jewelry from Jimmy; he's there on Wednesday and I think Saturday? Wednesdays he's up by the pool at the Palms. Buy your wood carvings either from the short, stocky man during the week, or the man by the pool at the Palms on Friday night. If you want the large conch shells, buy from the very tall, thin man on the beach who wears glasses.

  23. #23


    A word of advice if you're buying conch shells make sure you have a large sealable bag to put them in for travel home. Mine still had some critter left in it and by the time I got home my suitcase was full of maggots (just put them in a plastic bag). I had to boil them in the BBQ for several hours and soak them for days in bleach for the smell to go away.

  24. #24


    I make a spreadsheet:
    2013 Estmated Cash
    Description City Amount $1 $2 $5 $10 $20 Total
    Moline Motel Coke Moline $2.00 2 $2.00
    Snacks at Airport Moline $5.00 1 $5.00
    Lunch at Airport (s/b CC) Atlanta $20.00 1 $20.00
    Airport Porter Tip MoBay $4.00 2 $4.00
    Airport Transfer Tip - TimAir Negril $20.00 1 $20.00
    Spa Tips Negril $30.00 6 $30.00
    Beach Vendors Negril $40.00 10 10 2 $40.00
    Shopping Trip Negril $50.00 10 4 2 $50.00
    Walk Down CSA Beach Negril $50.00 20 5 4 $50.00
    Lunch Down CSA Beach Negril $50.00 1 2 $50.00
    Rick's Cafe Shuttle Negril $4.00 2 $4.00
    Rick's Café Negril $13.00 8 1 $13.00
    Craft Market/OON Walk Negril $20.00 10 5 $20.00
    Beach Musicians Negril $28.00 14 $28.00
    Airport Transfer Tip MoBay $10.00 1 $10.00
    Airport Porter Tip MoBay $4.00 2 $4.00
    Supper at Airport (s/b CC) Atlanta $50.00 1 2 $50.00
    Airport Parking (s/b CC) Moline $0.00 $0.00
    Totals $400.00 60 40 18 5 6 $400.00
    <font size=2>
    CN 2006, CSS 2009, CN 2009, CN 2010, CTI 2010, CN 2011, CSS 2012, CN 2012, CN 2013, CSA 2014, CN 2014, CSA 2015, CN 2015, CN 2016, CN 2018, CN2019

  25. #25


    I knew I liked you for a reason Wally! I do a spreadsheet for my packing list. Awesome idea doing it for the tips. <runs off to create another spreadsheet>. Lol
    CSA - May 2012
    CN - May 2013
    CSS - October 2013
    CSA - May 2016
    CSS - May 2017

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