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Using US$ in Austira??

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Mar 26th, 2004, 11:18 AM
  #1
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Using US$ in Austira??

Leave for Austria on Monday...will be going to Salzburg and Vienna. Question for everybody, is it alright to tip taxi drivers and porters in US dollars? Or is that considered inappropriate or offensive in some way? Of course, considering how little the dollar is worth when compared to the Euro, I would pay more in US, but I was just thinking ahead since I'll be arriving with no Euros on hand. Any advice appreciated, thanks! Michele
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Mar 26th, 2004, 11:21 AM
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You can get euro at the ATM at the airport. Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I don't think Austrians would want dollars any more than a taxi driver here in US would want to be handed euro. They would lose money getting it exchanged into euro,for the transaction alone.
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Mar 26th, 2004, 11:42 AM
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What on earth would an Austrian do with small quantities of dollars?

And how did you plan on paying the taxi? Not tipping, but paying.

In any country, getting into a taxi without the means to pay - in real money - is a criminal offence.

Do you seriously intend starting your holiday in prison?

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Mar 26th, 2004, 12:00 PM
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I would find it annoying for someone to tip me in a foreign currency, and it probably doesn't give a good image -- you know, the whole idea of Americans thinking they run the world. Austria isn't some third world country with no hard currency of their own where they would be okay. I'm not Austrian, though, so don't know if it's possible they would not care at all. I think at the least it is certainly inappropriate.

There is not reason for it. You can get euro at the airport. I've been there, I know you can do it numerous ways. It never occurred to me to try to get into downtown Vienna from the airport without trying to get some local currency first, because I used it to pay the taxi driver.
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Mar 26th, 2004, 12:01 PM
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Hi Michele12
the key is not to leave the airport with no local currency at hand.
Yes, it's inappropriate. Either get some from your home bank before you leave, or get some from an ATM or exchange desk at the airport.
Not only is the taxi driver not going to want to figure out an exchange rate for you, but he will lose on it again when he tries to exchange the dollars for euro at a bank.

I know some people think that waiters or porters or chambermaids will appreciate US dollars, but the reality is they have to take the dollars somewhere to exchange them, and then pay a commission on the transaction.
Especially painful on small amounts.
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Mar 26th, 2004, 12:10 PM
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Agree with all of the above posts. Dollars are of no use to the taxi drivers and porters. They will have to pay high exchange fees to convert them into euros (doubt they would have anything leftover if we're talking about small amounts). Definitely get some euros either in advance or upon arrival at the airport.
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Mar 26th, 2004, 12:12 PM
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Please, please don't.
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Mar 26th, 2004, 01:03 PM
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It is incredibly easy -- Convert your US dollars into local currency at the airport. Or withdraw Euro directly from an ATM machine.

NO, don't plan to travel with U.S. dollars. Whether it is "inappropriate or offensive" might be a bit strong of language but it simply doesn't make sense.

Do Europeans arrive in American and plan to tip the cab drivers with pounds, Euro, Swiss franc, etc.??? Same thing.
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Mar 26th, 2004, 01:29 PM
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I agree that you should never tip in dollars when you are in a hard currency environment, such as countries using the Euro or British pounds. It comes off as naive, at best; downright arrogant, at worst. Even in cases where a currency would not be considered "hard", tipping in dollars can just be a hassle for the person receiving them, since they have to take another step in the process to get something that is going to be useful to them. It is therefore inconsiderate and it detracts from the value of your gesture.

But the answer is not always such a slam-dunk when you are in countries operating with weaker currencies that do not trade well internationally. In those cases, it is appropriate to ask. You will find situations in which U.S. dollars are welcome, appreciated and sometimes even preferred. This can easily vary by the individual that you happen to be dealing with at the time.
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Mar 26th, 2004, 01:52 PM
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For Austria, I found that a few cigarettes or a little chocolate are highly prized by the locals.

Of course, it's been a while since I was there last.
ira is offline  
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Mar 26th, 2004, 02:02 PM
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Ira, you sure they weren't stockings?
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Mar 26th, 2004, 02:17 PM
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I don't wiah to be harsh but US$ are not legal currency worldwide. It's tru there are a few (third-world) countries where locals accept US dollars because they (sort of ) hold their value. None of them is in Western Europe. The taxi driver will not take $US for the fare - nor for the tip (What do you think a New York cabbie would do if you tried to pay in Euros? Take you to a bank to get money from an ATM - with the meter runnng the whole time!)

You should probably do some searches above on various monetary issues to be sure you are really ready for your trip - frankly it sounds like you haven't thought this through yet.
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Mar 26th, 2004, 02:43 PM
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While I was in London last week I noticed that donation boxes at many of the museums were filled with US dollars. I couldn't decide if it made Americans seem generous or arrogant. I donated using Pounds.

On another note, I discovered in a handful of change from a purchase that I had been given a 20 cent Euro coin instead of a 20 Pence coin. Is that common?



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Mar 26th, 2004, 02:51 PM
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Actually I'm quite sure the Taxi driver can simply refuse to take your dollars and thus preventing you from paying. Which is illegal. Or possibly, the driver would be allowed to set his own exchange rate which could literally be anything ("I've heard the dollar is very low now...it must be approaching $1 for 0.01 € or something

Cobos
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Mar 26th, 2004, 02:56 PM
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I've always agreed that it is "tacky" to say the least to try to use US currency in a foreign country, and I too have used the example of "what if a European tried to pay with euros here?" Oddly enough just a couple days ago a waiter friend of mine mentioned that a French couple in his restaurant paid with a credit card. When they left he found they had tipped him in euro -- a total of 12 individual one euro coins. Doug took them to his bank where they informed him they won't exchange foreign "coins" and he was complaining how he's stuck with them. But I've offered to buy them from him since I can always use them. But I am still shocked that someone would have done such a thing. Did they think they were doing him some sort of favor since the euro is worth more than the dollar?
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Mar 26th, 2004, 03:11 PM
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Good move, Patrick. I sometimes pick up a few, incidental Euros from people who don't have any foreseeable use for them. But in the Istanbul airport earlier this week, the coffee shop wanted to charge me in U.S. dollars instead of allowing me to get rid of the last of my Turkish currency. Go figure.
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Mar 26th, 2004, 03:28 PM
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I think the new Europe is not as gaa gaa eyed over US style dollars as the old Europe. Even Rumsfeld's "old Europe" including France and Germany have little illusions that the dollar is the world's strongest currency.

Americans, who labor under the mistaken idea that the dollar is still the world's foremost currency, need to wake up to some economic as well as political realities: There is a more powerful economic entity right now than the US, and it is called the European Economic Union.

I hate to break the news to you, but dollar dumping is an economic reality. And one reason the dollar is at such a low value right now is because few financial markets in Europe want them.

The dollar closed today at 1 € costing us $1.213. That is a slight improvement over three weeks ago, but still a big difference from the days when 1€ cost 88 US cents.

That is still a decline of 37.5%.
If the value of your $300,000 house had dropped to $187,500 you would probably be screaming bloody murder.

So would you as a taxi driver want to be paid in a currency that (a) had no local use, (b) had dropped greatly in value with only faint signs of recovery, (c) your country had gotten into a tariff war with the economic unit that circulated that currency, and (d) the nation issuing the currency was so far in debt that it will take many years to reduce it?

There are several web sites that right now list the US debt at $7,139,046,417,891.00

In case you think that is a Social Security number rum amok, let me assure you that it is not. And if the number of digits floors you, simply read it as 7 TRILLION dollars.


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Mar 26th, 2004, 06:12 PM
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Every few months a question like this one pops up - and it makes me VERY sad every single time. I find it so absolutely unbelievable that some Americans still think this way!

No wonder we are sometimes painted with the broad "ugly American" brush . . . . .
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Mar 26th, 2004, 06:34 PM
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We were on a European Cruise that ended in Harwich, England. When we disembarked we got into busses to transfer to London Heathrow.

Upon our arrival at Heathrow, the bus driver was unloading the luggage. I had no Pounds, but since he had handled the Misses Kitchen Sink, I handed him a $10 dollar bill. He looked at me with a sincere "Thank you very much." He knew what he was getting.

Now, he was probably used to that since he had driven for other cruise ships (cruise ships use $$$ as their standard currency).

Other than the above type of circumstance, I would agree to use local currency.
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Mar 27th, 2004, 12:25 AM
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Michele12 -

As you've probably gathered from all the previous posts, you should use the currency of the country you're visiting.

There are a few exceptions however...

If you ever visit the Maldives, you'll find that US dollars are not only welcomed, but expected. You'll be charged for everything in US dollars and your tips will also be in dollars.

I had to look far and wide to find any Maldivian Rufiyaa, but I finally scored a few notes to keep as a souvenir.

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