How to handle cash to Tanzania Safari?

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How to handle cash to Tanzania Safari?

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  1. When traveling, money matters can vary drastically by country. In some countries, credit cards are the way. In others, cash and traveler’s checks are king. To end all ambiguity, we compiled a complete guide to all things money when visiting Tanzania. What you find below will answer 99.9% of all issues cha-ching.

    Before you Arrive

    Shillings, the National Currency. The Tanzania Shilling (TSh) is convertible for US Dollars, Euros, and other currencies within Tanzania. There are several places you can exchange your money, but we advise only to use hotels, banks, and bureau de changes . US dollars are recommended over euros or pounds. Watch exchange rates in real-time here (xe.com).
    Don’t Bring Old Cash. Most Tanzanian shops won’t accept U.S. bills dated 2006 or earlier. Why? Apparently, the older-issued bills were easy to forge. Good to know! Also, if you have bills that are extremely tattered, merchants will reject them. Think of U.S. currency like potato chips: they’re best when crispy, clean, and not outdated.
    Forget Traveler’s Checks. These artifacts live somewhere in large piles full of pagers, landline telephones, and teletubbies. Don’t bring them; it’s as much a hassle for you as it is for Tanzanians.
    Credit, Debit, Cash: The Golden Triangle. These three should function as your primary methods of carrying money. Keep it simple. VISA is most widely recognized, followed by Mastercard (5% surcharge per swipe). Most lodges and higher-end shop accept credit cards.
    The Complete Guide To Money In Tanzania

    Upon Arrival:

    Entry Visa Costs. Make sure to the airport with extra cash for your visa fee. This is a very common mistake that makes for awkward moments in the visa line. For U.S. residents: $100. For all others: $50.
    ATMs: Cash machines aren’t found outside major cities (Arusha, Moshi, Dar, Zanzibar, etc.), so be sure and withdraw what you need before you go anywhere else (daily maximum of 400,000TSh, less than USD $200). Also, don’t forget to call your banks ahead of time and inform them of your trip dates (and prepare to make the bank teller extremely jealous.)

    While in Tanzania:

    Shillings are Best. The further your safari travels from major urban hubs, the less likely stores and artisans will be willing to accept U.S. currency. It’s a good rule of thumb that you’ll always receive a better exchange rate when you pay using shillings.
    Keep your receipts. If you do use credit/debit cards in Tanzania, be sure and keep your receipts. If you return home and a charge looks mysterious, you’ll have a paper trail to prove the miscalculation.
    Etiquette: In Tanzania bargaining is part of the deal (literally). Merchants expect to haggle, but within reason. Remember when negotiating a price that Tanzanians work hard, too, and they have families to feed and financial needs, just like you. Have fun but be reasonable. 
    Tipping: This can get a little complicated, but worry not, talk to your tour operator or we can give you some advice, should you need one!
    The Complete Guide To Money In Tanzania

    Other Essential Items:

    Hints for Carrying Money: Money belts can be clunky and awkward, but there are some sleek designs out there these days (source). If you decide to carry a wallet, keep it in your front pocket. And lastly, if you withdraw handsome amounts of shillings, distribute them a few different places: some in your money belt, some in the pocket of your daypack, and some emergency dollars hidden in your luggage. That way, if anything were to happen to one bag, you still other resources available.
    For Travellers on a Budget…If you’re watching your pennies and wish to be money-conscious during your time in Tanzania, here is how you can make the most of your budget Safari.

    The Fine Print

    Additional Costs: Most tour operators  package includes all accommodations (for Zanzibar, clients often book their own), wildlife viewing drives, 4WD safari vehicle, fuel, park fees, and services of drivers and guides. Additional costs you have to incur include: international flights, domestic flight (unless requested), any trip changes, camping fees, travel and medical insurance, personal equipment for Kilimanjaro, tipping, laundry, drinks, phone calls, souvenirs, and visa fees.
    Arrival/Departure Accommodations: Here’s some fine print regarding your first and last nights in Arusha: clients can choose one of two options for accommodations: first, you can book a bed-and-breakfast hotel, where you’ll be responsible to pay for your own for lunch and dinner. The second option is to book “half-board” accommodations, which include breakfast and dinner. While on safari, all meals are included for the duration.

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