Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forums Other Destination advice US Dollar Bills

US Dollar Bills

  • FatherOfFour

    Can $1 bills be “obtained” from a Bureau de Change? I’m travelling to a Caribbean destination where the only cash I need will be for tips. Clean US Dollars preferred and I’m not sure where else to get them from, particularly as I wont be visiting the US in the mean time.


    It’s possible yes, I did the same years ago from tesco when going to an all inclusive and just wanted singles for tips. The person in the Bureau did say it was pot luck however depending on when the delivery was made.

    More recently though I’ve noticed you can be forced into exchanging pre-packaged amounts with bigger denomination notes and no say in the breakdown.

    Probably best to stick to proper kiosk to get what you want.


    Clean as in new?

    If you give the bureau a few days notice they should be able to order new notes from their supplier but they may simply not have any available.

    You should order anyway since you want a lot of specific bills even if they aren’t new ones so they can keep them in reserve.

    The mum and dad run BdeC I use in Brighton is happy to take pre orders for specific note types so it can be done.


    Tesco travel money do small bills and you just walk up. If you pre-book or have a Clubcard you get a better rate. We used them for the Caribbean a couple of weeks back when I realised we left home without credit cards! Yay for Apple Pay.


    Yep I got some in Tesco the other day, they had plenty – they advertise it as a “tip pack”

    • This reply was modified 53 years, 3 months ago by .

    Thanks all, Tesco “tip pack” sounds perfect. Not too bothered about the rate on such a small amount, it’s just the practicalities of getting them!


    One person always happy to break $10 or $20 for tips is often the bar person fwiw. They do have many dollar bills and are happy to swap for higher denominations.


    Tesco Money will give you whatever denominations you want if you telephone and I have usually found them to have the best rates. Not directly relevant to the original question but for travel to Argentina, $100 bills are about 10% more valuable than any other note. It is easy to convert any US$ cash for close to double the official rate (that eg paying on a card or at a hotel would offer) but $100 notes are the holy grail. It does mean sometimes carrying a lot of cash, but when it almost halves the hotel bill it’s rather worthwhile.


    Looking online at Tesco, there seems to be a min. order of £50, so I’m hoping I can just do a walk-in. Alternatively, I’ll make it up with Euros which I can always use another time.
    Interesting regarding Argentina and the arbitrage possibilities there! From what I’ve read about Grenada, they don’t want anything bigger than a $20.


    I haven’t been to Grenada and don’t know about resorts, but I have a friend from there. The local currency is the East Caribbean dollar, pegged to USD at 2.7, but accepted by most shops at 2.5, and banks take commission to exchange. So the people you tip, will not to get the full value of your tip if you use USD.

    Of course, getting a bundle of EC$5 notes in the UK may be harder obtaining US$1, and if you only want to tip US$1 equivalent you’ll need EC$ coins. What my friend does is he gets XCD from the ATMs at the Visa/Mastercard rate and then approaches hospitality staff who happily swap their USD tips for local currency at 2.7, which also gets him a lot of US$1 that he uses for tips in the USA. But he’s black and speaks Caribbean-accented English… not sure how a non-local person would fare.

    Apparently in Gambia, British tourists like to tip with £1 coins, which are completely useless to the recipients. My friend went there and managed to buy up a lot of £1 coins from various hotel staff for 50-80p worth of dalasis each (he paid 50p for the old round £1 of which 1 in 30 were supposedly fakes), on his return to the UK Metro Bank took all the old coins for their full value without even looking at them (this was in 2019).


    Does Tesco give a good rate when selling back the currency to them?


    Does Tesco give a good rate when selling back the currency to them?

    Why not just keep it for next time? OH calls it my Jason Bourne pouch. I think Matt Damon had more than a box of 500 yen, 64 US dollars, and 450 Taiwanese dollars.


    Interesting to hear tesco offers some of the best rates. I usually go via mse comparison site but will remember to compare tesco clubcard in the future.


    I did this once, they all smelt like cow dung yuk

  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.