Cell Phones, Credit Cards, and Bermuda’s Currency

18 Feb

When you travel to Bermuda (or to any other country) there are somethings you need to prepare for ahead of time. It is important to know ahead of time how to minimize the cost of using your cell phone, avoiding the embarrassment of having your credit card declined, and being stuck with lots of foreign money.

Cell Phones/Smart Phones

It is not free to use your phone even though you still have a signal. About an hour after your ship leaves the port, you will be “roaming.” This means your usual phone plan and your data plan no longer apply. However, your carrier might not be forthcoming with this knowledge. I’ve heard horror stories of people returning from the trip of their lifetime only to discover they have a $500 cell phone bill!

Important things to know about your phone:

  • Call your cell phone provider before you leave on your trip. Tell them that you will be traveling out of the country on a cruise ship and ask them to spell out any roaming charges or hidden costs for making calls, sending texts, or using the Internet.
  • Make sure your phone will actually work in a foreign country. Unless  you have a GSM carrier (like. ATT and TMobile) phone, it probably won’t be functional outside of the USA. Verizon, Sprint and Metro PCS phones are usually not GSM. They are CDMA and the USA is the only place that uses that frequency.
  • Remember that calls/texts and data are two different things. Data is handled separately from calls/text (SMS/MMS), and data roaming charges are very costly even if you never use your phone! I recommend learning how to put your phone in “Airplane Mode” before you board the ship.
  • Learn more at: Independent Traveler’s International Cell Phone Guide and their tips for traveling with a Smart Phone. CNET also has some advice for travelers with cell phones.

Credit Cards

It’s important to call your credit card provider and let them know you need a travel notification placed on your account. If you forget to do this, your card may be declined. Also, be wary of debit cards. If lost or stolen, you may lose the money in your checking account instantly, and it may take weeks to resolve the issue. Also, most cruises put an automatic hold on of a several hundred dollars on your card. It may take a few weeks for this to clear. Unless you are very wealthy, don’t want to mess with the funds in your checking account. Also, a credit card offers better protection against fraud. You can also appeal the charges with the credit card company if you truly feel you have been wronged. Debit cards rarely give you that option. I always bring two credit cards, and store them in separate locations, in case something happens to one then I have the other to fall back on. Don’t forget to jot down your credit card number and international customer service number in the rare instance you need to call them.

Bermuda’s Currency

At the time I am writing this, the US Dollar and the Bermudian Dollar are equal. You can pay for souvenirs or meals using US Dollars while on the island. However, you may be given Bermudian Dollars as change. I recommend using small bills that way you don’t get stuck with a lot of Bermudian Dollars at the end of your stay. It will cost money to exchange these back to US Dollars when you return home.


2 Responses to “Cell Phones, Credit Cards, and Bermuda’s Currency”

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  2. Lloyd Irvin March 29, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

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