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Stretch the Loonie #79218
12/22/2015 09:43 PM
12/22/2015 09:43 PM
Joined: May 2014
Posts: 108
Ontario
C
Canuck54 Offline OP
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Canuck54  Offline OP
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Joined: May 2014
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Ontario
Looking forward to our next trip to the Island but quite dismayed at what our weak (Canadian) dollar will cost. Any ideas on how to minimize this would be appreciated. We typically bring US dollars but, would bringing Euros or Guilders be worthwhile? Are there credit cards that are better than others? Maybe have to bring my Canadian tire money smile

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Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: Canuck54] #79219
12/22/2015 09:53 PM
12/22/2015 09:53 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 190
Ontario, Canada
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CanadianCutie Offline
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CanadianCutie  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2006
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Ontario, Canada
I so feel your pain with the weak dollar. Hubby and I are going in January and figured the best way to save some money is to bring a few groceries with us and cook a few dinners ourselves. Are you staying at a place that has a kitchen?

Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: Canuck54] #79220
12/22/2015 09:55 PM
12/22/2015 09:55 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 12,920
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
islandgem Offline
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Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
I agree our dollar is at an all time low. We found the exchange rate is still better with the US dollar than with the euro so we didn't bother using euros at all. We also found the cost of purchasing things on the island was more expensive. We were there for 5 weeks and didn't change our spending habits much. We just said, "C'est la vie" and had a wonderful vacation!




Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: CanadianCutie] #79221
12/22/2015 10:04 PM
12/22/2015 10:04 PM
Joined: May 2014
Posts: 108
Ontario
C
Canuck54 Offline OP
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Canuck54  Offline OP
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Joined: May 2014
Posts: 108
Ontario
Ran the idea of cooking ourselves,,, seems neither of us are volunteering for the task.

Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: islandgem] #79222
12/22/2015 10:07 PM
12/22/2015 10:07 PM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 897
Cobourg Ontario Canada
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jeepers Offline
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jeepers  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 897
Cobourg Ontario Canada
We agree with islandgem by taking the us dollars. I haven't seen a brinks truck behind a hearse yet. (in other words you can't take it with you). Lol. But we can get gourmet takeout food from the restaurants & eat at the condo with a really nice bottle of Bordeaux wine & a shot of banana rum which they sell at Tropicana for around $13 U.S. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Thumbsup.gif" alt="" />

Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: jeepers] #79223
12/22/2015 11:11 PM
12/22/2015 11:11 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 190
Ontario, Canada
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CanadianCutie Offline
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CanadianCutie  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 190
Ontario, Canada
I really don't mind making breakfast in the morning. I usually bring a couple packages of bacon from Canada along with some other meat to save money. I am in my mid forties and try to save money travelling since it allows me to travel more and still save for retirement. Cooking on vacation may not be for everyone but how hard is it to cook breakfast? We often bring a cooler bag with us to bring drinks and snacks to the beach also.

Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: CanadianCutie] #79224
12/23/2015 08:04 AM
12/23/2015 08:04 AM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,590
Rhode Island
RonDon Offline
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Rhode Island
There's no law that says you must eat out in high-end restaurants each day. We have a kitchen where we stay and I only buy breakfast items, snacks and a roti chicken. Frequent stops at French bakeries for delicious baguettes make a good lunch with fruit, cheese, wine or chicken sandwiches.

We eat out nearly every night. Some times in fancy places (Ocean 82, Bistrot Caribes, Auberge Gourmand), other evenings in restaurants serving good food at reasonable prices (Enold's, Yvette's, Le Taitu, Marks) and some times at the Lolos. Sometimes we switch up big meal at lunch and light dinner from leftovers.

We stay 2 or 3 weeks and allow $100. per day. Some days we spend a little over and some days far less. It works for us. I'm on vacation and the last thing I want to do is cook. One visit hubby landed in emergency room left with meds that wiped him out so no driving to dine at night. I shopped at grocery store and found it almost as expensive as eating out in a small restaurant plus i had to cook and clean up after!!

Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: RonDon] #79225
12/23/2015 09:47 AM
12/23/2015 09:47 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 73,179
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Central Florida!
Agreed, I personally CAN'T eat rich huge meals every day any more anyway. And even if you're not going out, you don't have to cook, per se. There are plenty of places to pick up a quick, pre made sandwich or some cheese and bread, etc., to take to the beach for lunch, or a rotisserie chicken with salad for dinner. Or go to a high end place for LUNCH, which is often much cheaper, and then have a lighter dinner.


Carol Hill
Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: Carol_Hill] #79226
12/23/2015 10:40 AM
12/23/2015 10:40 AM
Joined: Oct 2015
Posts: 36
Neebing, ON
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ApeBro Offline
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Joined: Oct 2015
Posts: 36
Neebing, ON
So, there aren't any restrictions for bringing meat to St Maarten? I save fast food ketchup and mustard packets to bring and people (my husband) make fun of me

Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: Canuck54] #79227
12/23/2015 11:01 AM
12/23/2015 11:01 AM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 630
Burlington, Ontario, Canada
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JohnandBev Offline
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JohnandBev  Offline
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Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Same dilemma for us. Normally we just bring US $’s, but last yr stayed part of vaca on the Fr side, this yr all on the Fr side. If we get 1:1 US to Euro, not an issue, but if I have to convert CAD to US and then pay a store conversion charge for US to Euro, cheaper to bring Euro’s than pay exchange twice. We always bring a little Euro – maybe 100, but this yr will bring a bit more for the places that do not do 1:1
I read that Simply in Hope Estate was doing 1:1, was that only for off season?
What about Orient Village, who does 1:1 there?
Thanks
J&B

Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: JohnandBev] #79228
12/23/2015 11:08 AM
12/23/2015 11:08 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 73,179
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Central Florida!
Don't know about Simply, but the Super U in Marigot definitely does 1 to 1, and it is a great store!!


Carol Hill
Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: JohnandBev] #79229
12/23/2015 11:25 AM
12/23/2015 11:25 AM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 897
Cobourg Ontario Canada
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jeepers Offline
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Cobourg Ontario Canada
I don't think any of the restaurants in Orient Village do 1:1. When we go to La Croissanterie for breakfast we often get quiche to go for either lunch or dinner but remember to say no salade or they will put salad with dressing in with your quiche. also they have excellent pizza (homemade crust). Also order the quiche when you order breakfast as they may sell out while you are there.

Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: Carol_Hill] #79230
12/23/2015 11:27 AM
12/23/2015 11:27 AM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 897
Cobourg Ontario Canada
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jeepers Offline
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jeepers  Offline
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Cobourg Ontario Canada
In November the Super U did 1:1 the first week but the second week it was 1:05. Will check in January to see what it is then.

Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: Carol_Hill] #79231
12/23/2015 11:43 AM
12/23/2015 11:43 AM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,890
Royersford, PA (30m NW of Phil...
Biturbo Offline
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Biturbo  Offline
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Posts: 1,890
Royersford, PA (30m NW of Phil...
Last month (we came home 11/27) Simply was 1=1. We try to alternate our dining out meals between breakfast, lunch, dinner and plan for 1 "splurge" meal per trip. The rest of the time we eat in, sometimes we cook and sometimes we take home prepared items, such as rotisserie chicken. It really doesn't have to be expensive.


"In a yellow El Camino, listening to Howlin' Wolf" - Lucinda
Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: jeepers] #79232
12/23/2015 11:51 AM
12/23/2015 11:51 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 73,179
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Central Florida!
That's odd. Super U had been doing 1 to 1, almost from the beginning.


Carol Hill
Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: Biturbo] #79233
12/23/2015 12:02 PM
12/23/2015 12:02 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 12,994
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
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pat  Offline
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Brookfield, CT.
Biturbo,

I agree absolutely. I think over the course of our most recent two week stay, we enjoyed breakfast out only three times, and while we did do lunch out more often than at home, they weren't necessarily expensive lunches. Ribs at Rosies, burgers and salads at El Zafiro, and a couple of times we actually shared a huge burger and fries at the Towers pool bar. We had lunch in several times to atone for the crazy expensive nights we ate at a few of our more expensive favorites and we did a couple of very expensive beach lunches, foregoing dinner out those nights because we were still stuffed from lunch. We also have a few favorite and relatively inexpensive (at least by island standards....) dinner nights - Bavaria, and the Green Monkey steak nights.

We enjoyed many a bottle of wine on our balconies - far less costly when purchased at the usual places as opposed to purchasing at high end restaurants - but just as enjoyable and no worries about gendarmes and the like.

You really can cut the costs of dining if you want to and still have a most wonderful and enjoyable trip. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/handshake.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/handshake.gif" alt="" />

You really


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: Canuck54] #79234
12/23/2015 02:02 PM
12/23/2015 02:02 PM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,276
M
MotownTim Offline
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Buy a large piggy bank. Name it Martin. Every time you get a loony in change throw it in there for your trip. I do it with fives and it adds up.

Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: pat] #79235
12/23/2015 02:05 PM
12/23/2015 02:05 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 788
Toronto Canada
moxie Offline
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moxie  Offline
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Posts: 788
Toronto Canada
Once we cross the border we really try not to think about the conversion rate-it's too depressing.

Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: JohnandBev] #79236
12/23/2015 03:18 PM
12/23/2015 03:18 PM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 406
Quebec, Canada
extreme Offline
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extreme  Offline
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Posts: 406
Quebec, Canada
First week of december Simply was doing 1 to 1, same thing at le Petit Casino and Yellow Sub in Orient Bay !





Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: pat] #79237
12/23/2015 04:01 PM
12/23/2015 04:01 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,890
Royersford, PA (30m NW of Phil...
Biturbo Offline
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Biturbo  Offline
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Posts: 1,890
Royersford, PA (30m NW of Phil...
Quote
[i]pat said:
Biturbo,


We enjoyed many a bottle of wine on our balconies - far less costly when purchased at the usual places as opposed to purchasing at high end restaurants - but just as enjoyable and no worries about gendarmes and the like.


Oh yeah, the bottle of wine is de rigueur when dining in.

We also enjoy Bavaria and Tutta Pasta for reasonably priced dinners.


"In a yellow El Camino, listening to Howlin' Wolf" - Lucinda
Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: Canuck54] #79238
12/23/2015 04:19 PM
12/23/2015 04:19 PM
Joined: Nov 2015
Posts: 203
SXM
dlbert Offline
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dlbert  Offline
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Posts: 203
SXM
Monoprix also does a 1:1 (Bellevue & Nettle Bay).

Your best bet is stocking up with food from Super U at 1:1 in cash USD.

If you can live off alcohol and cigarettes that will also help seeing that they are really cheap !

Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: jeepers] #79239
12/23/2015 04:23 PM
12/23/2015 04:23 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 12,920
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
islandgem Offline
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islandgem  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 12,920
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Super U is 1 to 1 for cash only, at least that is what they told me, so we always paid in cash there. It was 1.05 if using a credit card.




Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: Biturbo] #79240
12/23/2015 04:29 PM
12/23/2015 04:29 PM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,590
Rhode Island
RonDon Offline
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RonDon  Offline
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Posts: 3,590
Rhode Island
Not sure if any other restaurant will do this but when we ate at L'Estimenet Carol used to pour us 2 glasses and cork the bottle for another visit or for us to take back to the condo.

Inexpensive wine can be found on the island to have when you stay in. We buy several and a bottle of inexpensive rum . I bring Crystal Light punch mix to make rum punches. Buy some Ting, a carbonated grapefruit drink, at the grocery store and mix with the rum for a refreshing drink. Tea bags from home for iced tea, & powdered lemonade.

One thing we think is a MUST to buy on the island is ETNA ice cream---especially Rhum Raisin.

Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: Biturbo] #79241
12/23/2015 04:50 PM
12/23/2015 04:50 PM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 344
Canada
T
Toronto Offline
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Toronto  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 344
Canada
We find the best way to save on our vacation is to eat in. Fortunately we have the facilities to do that. We still go out to restaurants but not every night.

If you do go out try to restrict how often you go to high end restaurants.

As much as I dislike them all inclusive may be the best solution if you are really tight, or at least a breakfast /lunch package.

Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: Canuck54] #79242
12/23/2015 07:08 PM
12/23/2015 07:08 PM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 245
Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada
J
jaxon60 Offline
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jaxon60  Offline
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J
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 245
Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada
We are here at Orient now. Some places (yellow sub and petite casino for example) do 1:1. Others seem to be doing 1:1.10. So for us, we use whatever gets us the best exchange from Canadian dollars. One thing to note... if you plan to use the ATMs to get cash as needed, you may want to up your daily cash limit from the standard $500 CAD prior to arriving ... 500 CAD doesn't go to far. I contacted my CU to get the limit increased as I hated having to go to the ATM (3 k away) frequently. As noted on this site before, if you are at Orient, the Credit Mutuel at Hope Estates is the best place for ATMs. There are 3 ATMs at Hope Estates the Credit Mutuel is the only one that will give USD and Euros.



[Linked Image]


Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: islandgem] #79243
12/23/2015 10:48 PM
12/23/2015 10:48 PM
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 837
Florida
W
wilsonck Offline
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wilsonck  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 837
Florida
Quote
islandgem said:
I agree our dollar is at an all time low.

It was worse back in 97/98. I remember the CAD being worth 64 cents US. But the all time low is just under 62 cents us back in 2002.

There probably are some deals still available through Canadian travel agents. I know Sunwing had some great packages for stays at the Sonesta Maho that I thought was priced really great for Air and all inclusive. Might be better than trying to book on your own.

Last edited by wilsonck; 12/23/2015 10:49 PM.
Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: jaxon60] #79244
12/24/2015 07:45 AM
12/24/2015 07:45 AM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,895
Massachusetts
boucharda Offline
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boucharda  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,895
Massachusetts
Quote
500 CAD doesn't go to far


A DAY??? If we spent over $350-400 US cash per day, every day, for two weeks THAT would be a problem.

Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: boucharda] #79245
12/24/2015 07:54 AM
12/24/2015 07:54 AM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,276
M
MotownTim Offline
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MotownTim  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,276
Daily limit on ATM withdrawals, not daily spending limit.

Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: MotownTim] #79246
12/24/2015 09:06 AM
12/24/2015 09:06 AM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,895
Massachusetts
boucharda Offline
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boucharda  Offline
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Posts: 3,895
Massachusetts
Yes, I realize that...it seems that the concern was that getting $500 CDN in one day was not enough...point was that the next day (or the day after etc.) would get you more cash if needed.

Maybe it's just me but I just take out around $300-400 US and then take out more when I need it. My $500 limit does not come into play at all

Last edited by boucharda; 12/24/2015 09:08 AM.
Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: boucharda] #79247
12/24/2015 09:16 AM
12/24/2015 09:16 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 73,179
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 73,179
Central Florida!
I don't ever use ATM's myself, but if I did, I'd prefer to go fewer times and get more money each time, especially on vacation, when I may have to go out of my way and/or pay a fee to use the ATM.


Carol Hill
Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: boucharda] #79248
12/24/2015 09:19 AM
12/24/2015 09:19 AM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 12,524
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
GaKaye Offline
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GaKaye  Offline
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Posts: 12,524
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
The poster clearly said he or she didn't like to go to the ATM often. Nowhere was it said that he or she was planning on spending $500 per day.

Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: Biturbo] #79249
12/24/2015 09:28 AM
12/24/2015 09:28 AM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 20
Sint Maarten
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PineapplePete Offline
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PineapplePete  Offline
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Sint Maarten
After reading this post, Pineapple Pete would like to offer Canadians some stretch to their dollar! $1.00 US currently costs $1.38 CDN. For a limited time, Pineapple Pete will take $1.00 US for $1.20 CDN if it helps in any way. (Not available with any other promotions or discounts).

Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: PineapplePete] #79250
12/24/2015 10:58 AM
12/24/2015 10:58 AM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,276
M
MotownTim Offline
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Posts: 1,276
Sounds like a plan!

Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: GaKaye] #79251
12/24/2015 04:52 PM
12/24/2015 04:52 PM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 245
Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada
J
jaxon60 Offline
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Posts: 245
Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada
Thanks. That was exactly the point... not wanting to go to the ATM frequently.



[Linked Image]


Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: jaxon60] #79252
12/24/2015 07:47 PM
12/24/2015 07:47 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,294
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january Offline
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january  Offline
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Posts: 1,294
I remember when I was a kid in the late 40s and early 50s we would visit my father's home town of Rouses Point, N.Y. just across the border from Quebec. You could just walk down the street into Canada with no customs. It was like one big country except for the money. The exchange rate was usually 1 to 1 but every so often one of the currencies would be a penny or two more than the other and the one of lesser value would not be accepted in the country where their penny was worth more. You had to go to a bank and change your money. I guess back the a penny was really worth a penny.

Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: PineapplePete] #79253
12/24/2015 10:11 PM
12/24/2015 10:11 PM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,584
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Bahston Offline
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Quote
PineapplePete said:
After reading this post, Pineapple Pete would like to offer Canadians some stretch to their dollar! $1.00 US currently costs $1.38 CDN. For a limited time, Pineapple Pete will take $1.00 US for $1.20 CDN if it helps in any way. (Not available with any other promotions or discounts).


It's always nice to know that sponsors are reading TTOL, and reacting to what they see. Thanks!

Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: PineapplePete] #79254
12/24/2015 11:29 PM
12/24/2015 11:29 PM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 248
CANADA
L
LINNY Offline
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LINNY  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 248
CANADA
Pineapple Pete.......Class Act!!!!!

Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: wilsonck] #79255
12/27/2015 12:38 AM
12/27/2015 12:38 AM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 208
Edam, Saskatchewan - Canada
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PrairieGirl Offline
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Edam, Saskatchewan - Canada
Quote
wilsonck said:
Quote
islandgem said:
I agree our dollar is at an all time low.

It was worse back in 97/98. I remember the CAD being worth 64 cents US. But the all time low is just under 62 cents us back in 2002.[/quote]

Oh please, don't remind me of those years (we were in SXM for both)! And younger then too, so on a tighter budget as well.

Here is how we made that loonie go further then, tips that should still work today ... we always ate breakfast on our balcony (and still do, not for the $$, more from habit and for convenience, and you can't beat that view!). Half of a fresh baguette with fruit and cheese suited us just fine and left the other half to make sandwiches with for the beach that day with deli meat we had picked up.

Grabbed stuff at the grocery store for quick and easy meals in - we actually used to take a brand new small BBQ ($20 at Canadian Tire on sale) with us (just pack it in your suitcase and fill it up with clothes, really doesn't take that much more room) pick up a propane bottle at ACE (less than $10) and grill away (fresh fish, chicken, pork). We always left the BBQ for our maid each year and each one was very happy because they told us they could then take them to the beach on Sundays with their families. A Win Win situation! Similar but an easier option is to bring home roti chicken or stay at a resort that has their own grills.

We ate out at nice restaurants sometimes at lunch hour (same food, less cost), scouted around for reasonable nights out and only did the big splurge evening once or twice in a three week trip.

While those years are now a distant memory, I loved my time there every bit as much as I do today when we can afford to spend the day at Palm Beach or Dreams and eat a delicious lunch and enjoy a bottle of wine.

And don't be too concerned about the 1:1 euro:dollar idea. Calculate your FINAL cost and see if you think the price is fair for the value you receive. 1:1 is great marketing, but can also be a trap.

You WILL be able to make some adjustments that will help with the hit on the dollar and not reduce your enjoyment of the island!


LeAnn


[Linked Image]
Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: ApeBro] #79256
12/27/2015 10:56 PM
12/27/2015 10:56 PM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 66
Ontario, Canada
CdnCouple Offline
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Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 66
Ontario, Canada
Quote
ApeBro said:
So, there aren't any restrictions for bringing meat to St Maarten? I save fast food ketchup and mustard packets to bring and people (my husband) make fun of me


ApeBro, doesn't look like anyone answered your question. We have been taking meat to SXM for years. We buy the good stuff at Costco, repackage it in meal sized portions, then freeze it. On the morning of our departure from Canada we pack it in soft sided coolers in our checked baggage. Never had a problem with SXM customs, and everything is still frozen solid when we get to our room. Into the freezer in the room, and it's good until we need it. We've found this a great way to stretch our vacation dollars to allow us to stay longer and go more often <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Clapping.gif" alt="" />

Re: Stretch the Loonie [Re: CdnCouple] #79257
12/28/2015 09:45 PM
12/28/2015 09:45 PM
Joined: May 2014
Posts: 108
Ontario
C
Canuck54 Offline OP
Traveler
Canuck54  Offline OP
Traveler
C
Joined: May 2014
Posts: 108
Ontario
Thanks to all for the excellent money saving suggestions.

Also particularly intrigued by Pineapple Petes offer to as I understand it take Canadian funds at an attractive exchange rate (1.2). Given the large number of Canadians that visit SXM, the many restaurants with Canadian connections and the presence of at least two Canadian banks I would think perhaps other establishments could follow Pineapple Petes lead. Bringing some CDN money would certainly not be a problem for most of us and certainly helps while our dollar is weak.

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