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Old 1 Jan 2002
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Money across Tunisia = Algeria?

We are currently in Tunisia at the moment, waiting to cross over into Algeria within the next 3 days. What is the criteria re getting dollars into the country as we have read that one needs to declare all currencies at the border? Why do people hide a stash of dollar bills?
s.j. ward
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Old 2 Jan 2002
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Hi Stefan and Mel
Many North African countries protect their foreign currency reserves by controlling import and export of their own local currency. You take none in, you take none out.
There is generally no limit to what foreign currency travellers can take in or out, in cash or traveller's cheques, but money declared must be changed (as needed) into local currency at the ‘official’ rate of exchange.
Where there is an ‘official’ rate there will always exist a black-market for smuggled currency (usually dollars, pounds, euros etc)worth many times the official rate of exchange.
So it’s very tempting to keep back a small stash of notes and change them at the preferential black-market rate. They will be worth a lot more than face value when buying goods and services in the ‘closed currency’ country.
On exit from the country you will have to show your money and produce your ’currency declaration’. This will show how much you have spent. If the result is too little, you will be rumbled!
So declare some cash, change it at the official rate, spend some money, keep the receipts and make it all believable.
Money changers are sharper than card sharps – trust no one. One trick is to count out dollar bills (which are all the same size) where some are folded in half. So you think you’ve got $100, when the sod has only given you $40…
I’m told you can change dollars into Libyan dinars (unofficially) quite near the Tunisian border. When you arrive in Libya bulging with black market currency, you must make a declaration, with tongue in cheek and a red face, that you have NONE.
This bit is up to you! Is the hassle worth it?
Only you can answer that!
Good luck ------------------
Kitmax - Traveller
Desert Pictures at http://www.kitmax.com/kitmax/kit03ph...velgallery.htm
homepage http://www.kitmax.com

[This message has been edited by kitmax (edited 01 January 2002).]

[This message has been edited by kitmax (edited 01 January 2002).]
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Old 2 Jan 2002
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You are required to declare all foreign money when you enter Algeria. This I know from working there.

The 'parallel' (unofficial) exchange rate for the Algerian Dinar is not a whole heck of a lot better than the official rate - probably only 2% or 3% - however, it can sometimes be a real pain to get the money changed officially - plan on an hour or two at the local bank.

My suggestion, based on experience, would be to declare all the money you have on the official form, but save a small amount (US$ 100) in your shoe or similar - that way, you can get some local currency on the parallel market if you need to, and not have the accounting out of whack on the currency form.

It is very important that you declare all the 'valuable objects' that you have (e.g. cameras, CD players, etc.) on the official form, otherwise, you could have difficulty exporting them again.

The Algerians are very sensitive about any form of 2 way radio communication equipment being imported, this due to their fear that it will find its way into the hands of those opposed to the government. So be very low key if you have a bike to bike intercom system - you might want to stash that equipment in with your CD player, etc. when you cross the border. Don't advertise that you have it.
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Old 2 Jan 2002
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by kitmax:
Hi Stefan and Mel
I’m told you can change dollars into Libyan dinars (unofficially) quite near the Tunisian border.

That's right. Miles before you reach the Libyan border from Tunisia you will see money changers by the roadside. They'll wave a wade of banknotes at you, so you'll know. You can haggle the price and the rate doesn't seem to vary widely. Kit's advice about the tricks of the trade are certainly worth remembering.

The Libyans did not ask about money (though they wanted to know about computers and videos), but it must be pretty obvious to them that western travellers bring Libyan cash with them rather than losing money at the official rate of exchange. As the price of fuel is about 3 pence per litre, you won't need a fortune to survive in Libya anyway.

Roman (UK)
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