Currency Exchange for Visitors and Tipping

Many of the ICS attendees are experienced visitors to the US and I do not presume to advise them, since I travel the other direction. For those who are not experienced international travelers, the following may be of help. Note that when you arrive, the Customs and Border Protection Officer may ask you to prove that you have sufficient funds to cover your costs during your visit to the US. So, be prepared to show your hotel receipt and a credit card.

The USA uses “plastic” (credit, debit, and ATM cards) for almost everything. At the same time, there is not much capacity for changing money. You just do not see equivalents of signs for Cambio or Wechsel when walking down the street. My best advice is to bring and use a credit card that has a small or no “foreign transaction fee.” Also, bring at least a small amount ($50 to $100) of US Dollars from home. For more cash, have an ATM or debit card tied to your checking account to meet any local expenses that require cash. Another option is a “Prepaid Dollar Card” available in some countries. All that said, the Marriott Hotel will change many currencies for guests, up to $100 per day. The lobby has a Chase Bank ATM. The nearby Canal Place Shopping Center (333 Canal St.) has a Capital One Bank and ATM. The Hancock/Whitney Bank, 228 St. Charles Avenue, can handle larger transactions during business hours. Further advice is available at

Lonely Planet gives the following advice about tipping in the US:

“Tipping is not optional; only withhold tips in cases of outrageously bad service.” Bartenders and Restaurant servers – 15% to 20%; Hotel Maids - $2 to $4 per night Taxi drivers - 10% to 15%.

Airport Shuttle

The company Airport Shuttle is the official provider of transportation from the Louis Armstrong International Airport. The round trip is $40 and the one-way trip is $24 per person. For the discounted round trip fare, reservations must be made 24 hours in advance through the web site XVIII International Carbohydrate Symposium Official Discounted Airport Shuttle