Croatia “Surf and Turf” Adventure Update Blog Topics today: All About Money
( I ) Currency exchange.In Europe, the euro has simplified traveling from country to country. We used to have to deal with marks, markka, krona, francs, drachmas, rubles, karkas, and on and on. First stop after crossing the border was always to the Cambio or money exchange. We had pockets full of different country’s coins that we couldn’t exchange! On this tour, Croatia is the only country with its own currency but it has multiple names – the HRK or HrKuna or Kuna. HRK is the abbreviation for the country Hrvatska, the name of Croatia in Croatian. Confused? Don’t worry. More people speak English in Croatia than in Alabama. All you need to know is if you see HRK, it means kuna…the money. And they call it kuna as well. About 7 kuna to the dollar. In the rest of the countries the Euro is used. About 1.05 euros to the dollar. ( II ) Simplifying money handling Simplifying money handling is important because of:
the hassles of handling various types of cash
your needs to exchange money,
planning your cash for various meals that are not included
needing to know how to easily know which meals are NOT included
being comfortable with tipping.
With all that, let’s consider simplicity as our guide and goal. Just know the road to simplicity begins with some switchback hairpin turns of complexity, so please bear with me. A. Points to consider on meals:
On our yacht, Lupus Mare, all three meals are included.
From the start, lunches were on your own. It’s too fun to try different cafes and easy places to grab a bite so we can each have some free time to explore. Plus some people prefer light snacks; others want more.
In Kotor, Split, Sibenik and Pula, having a single large reatuarant rarely exists in their old towns. They are more geared for individual and smaller groups of 10.
Restaurants with a set price for a group charge far more and they have all required a very limited menu.
Breakfasts are all included.
Beyond the ship days, we had planned dinners thusly:
1 dinner in Athens or 1 in Zagreb upon arrival,
2 dinners in Kotor,
3 dinners in Sibenik
A total of 6 dinners are being provided. A nice meal with an excellent variety, such as the one shown in the picture, is easily found for less than $20 per person per meal. So 6 meals totals $120. B. Points to consider on tipping:
Guides, bus drivers, ship’s crew, hotel maids, porters, park guides, etc. expect tips.
It’s a hassle for you figuring out if you have the right dollars or euros or kunas and in the right amounts.
Tips can easily reach the following amounts PER PERSON:
Guides: $3 a day x 7= $21
Bus drivers: $2 a day x 8= $16
Park guides: $3 per visit x 3= $9
Hotel staff: $3 per day x 8= $24
Porters: $3 x 1 bag x 5 uses= $15
Ship crew (10 of them) $25 per day x 7 days= $175
Total $260 per person in tips C. Simplifying what you pay and what we pay. We’ve come to the conclusion that we ought to do the following: You would pay:
All non-ship dinners. That’s 6 meals x $20= $120. You can plan the cash in advance or, perhaps use credit cards where they are accepted. Credit cards get the best exchange rates – far better than ATMs. If you need cash, ATMs are plentiful.
A lower ship tip of just $50 for crew instead of $175. A $50 bill is fine. You’ll pay that at the end of the cruise to the whomever they designate as the receiver.
Porterage of about $15, but chances are you’re wanting to wheel your own roller boards to your room.
That’s a grand total for you of $120+$50+$15= $185 per person You were scheduled to pay more than $260 in tips. So that saves you $$ and hassle. We will pay:
Ship tips of $125 per person.
$70 or more in tips to the guides, drivers, extra porterage (off the bus to the ship).
That’s a grand total for us of $195+
( III ). Your Cash Needs for Additional Tours and Lunches Summary: Here’s the cash you’ll need (and credit cards can be used for some things – or used to get cash out of ATMs):
Tips and Dinners – $185 per person
Extra tours – about $100 per person
Lunches – about $80 per person
Total extra cash needed – about $400 per person.
Details: Besides the tours we provide, you’ll have one free day in Kotor with some options to choose from. A half day tour is usually around $65. We have invited several suppliers to give us prices on one hour, half day and full day optional tours. Whatever they quote us needs to be competitive so we’ve had to turn some down. They’ve come back with reasonable tours. We do NOT add any markup to any tour. We have the free day in Kotor which we had to add to the schedule because daily flights are no longer available between Athens and Montenegro. ONLY on Wednesdays and Sundays. Beyond that, we’ve got plenty to do in Kotor and Montenegro on Aug. 17, 18 and 20. During the cruising portion, we stop at the best places on each island. Our guide is the owner of the yacht and he’s a font of information on the islands. We have a short tour in each town and thereafter give you time to explore the portion of the island you want. Mini-vans are in most ports of the large islands of Korcula, Hvar and Brac. No large buses. The vans hold 7 passengers and cost about $10 per person. In Split on Aug 27, we have a full day of events in Split, and Solin. Evening you are free to wander a block away from our hotel to the Stari Grad – old town – to dine, explore or enjoy the esplanade. On Sunday, Aug 28, we’re awaiting final word on what we can do church-wise and if they’ll hold the 50th Anniversary of Elder Kresimir Cosic helping establish the church here. We have a bus reserved to take us to Zadar where he was born. On Monday, Aug 29, we chartered a nice ship to sail up the coast to the Sibenik river and into Karka Falls National Park. It’s from about 9:30 AM to about 4 PM. Lunch is included. We return to Sibenik and there are some extras to see, like the three fortresses/ cathedrals on the hills above. I’d grab a taxi but I know Rod Fife will be happy to walk up there with you. They are closed sometimes so we’ll let you know that morning if for sure they’ll be open. On Tuesday, Aug 30, the cruise/tour ends. For those heading home, we provide the bus for a ride of less than 4 hours through beautiful mountain countryside. It’s a highlight. In Zagreb, you’ll have a half day to explore the city. We have arranged rooms at your option at the Sheraton Hotel or the Hotel Royal for those going to Zagreb for a return home flight – the Sheraton is in the city center and the Hotel Royal is next to the airport. We have a guide standing by to help you or to organize any tours you’d like to take. Aug. 31. You’ll take a taxi the next morning whenever your flight requires you to be there.
MONEY FOR LUNCHES Food prices in Croatia are about the same as here and vary on how much you’d like. Sandwiches, small meals, soups, or whatever. I’d budget less than $10 per lunch. BUT… look out for lots more gelato and ice cream everywhere! About $1-$2 for a large cone.
We will personally take $400 in cash for the two of us and we’ll get cash from the ATMs as we need it. We do NOT RECOMMEND getting Euros or Kunas in the USA. The better exchange rate is usually in the ATMs. They dispense either Euros or Kunas.
Cash needed for the extensions: Sept. 1: Venice. We’ll offer several suggestions. About $50 to $75. Sept. 3-4: Lake Como. We’ll have a coach take us from Venice to Lake Como.One day we will take a lake cruise. Lake cruise runs about $20 for many hours of cruising. You get off at various towns, wander around, have lunch, and hop back on the ferry. Or rent your own speed boat and go to the furthest reaches of Lake Como. ALL lunches and dinners are on your own on all extensions. More places take credit cards here. Very cosmopolitan place. Sept. 5: Milan. In Milan, our coach takes us to the magnificent cathedral, the opera house La Scala, and the abbey where the Last Supper mural is. There’s a “Hop On–Hop Off bus tour you can add. The coach takes us to our hotel at the airport. We provide that hotel.