One of the questions people have when visiting a foreign country is how to access their money. Should you bring cash, travelers checks, or rely on ATMs? Can you pay for things by credit card? Where can you use Travelers Checks? Can I pay in US Dollars? How do you exchange foreign money? All important questions that can greatly affect your vacation.

Travelers Checks: While it might be good to have some, very few places accept traveler’s checks in the DR. That means you’re going to have to get them cashed and converted. There are occasional money exchange locations that will take travelers Checks but most will not. Likely you will have to go to a bank and get them cashed and converted. That is a bit of a hassle.

Cash: Some cash is good. You should try to bring enough to last you one or two days, including your hotel room if you haven’t already paid for it online. Many of the smaller hotels do not take credit cards. So expect to pay everything with cash. You can get some of your money converted at the airport but they usually don’t give you as good a rate. Many hotels and cabs in the tourist areas will take US Dollars but you are relying on their conversion rate, I like to have my money exchanged at a known location with a known rate instead of taking my chances.

Credit cards: As I stated above, not many places will take credit cards, usually only the large Hotels and large stores like La Sirena (one of the large grocery stores here). Don’t count on this working.

ATM: For the long term this is your best bet. ATMs give you direct access to your bank account and automatically exchange the money to the local currency. I’ve had very few problems with this. Occasionally though something happens where you can’t get money for a few hours (bank internet problems). Don’t wait until you are broke before you hit up the ATM. You will find them at the large chain stores, malls, banks etc, so one is usually pretty easy to find. Each with draw with the ATM will cost you about $1.50 so you might want to take little larger chunks out so you don’t have to do it too often.

Banks: Don’t be shocked to see guys with guns standing outside (or inside) the bank. All banks have armed security guards here. They will be nearby while you take money out of the ATM (which you should always do during the day). This is for your safety and not something to be worried about.