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Budgeting

Ethiopian Currency

Budgeting

What is the currency of Ethiopia?

The birr is the unit of currency in Ethiopia. Before 1976, dollar was the official English translation of birr. Today, it is officially birr in English as well. Wikipedia
Symbol: ብር, Br

How much money do you need for your Ethiopian Journey

You need to take cash with you to Ethiopia because there is no guarantee that you will find a working ATM machine when you first arrive. The best currency to take is Euros, UK Pounds or US dollars.

Don’t get stuck with empty pockets on your first day

When you arrive at the Bole International Airport, if you have not obtained you visa online previously, . you will need to find your US$ 25 visa fee, to clear to immigration There is a bank and ATM on the arrivals side of the immigration it is very common for the ATMs to not be working or be out of cash there is no guarantee that the bank will be open so it is important to arrive with cash in hand. if no one is picking you up you will need the taxi fee. When I arrived in Addis Ababa in February 2019, I was asked to pay $30 by the taxi but ended negotiating it down to up £20. I’ve been told that it should be possible to get a ride for 10 dollars, so, good luck with that! On arrival at your hotel you will probably be expected to pay the accommodation free which again you will need cash for unless you are staying at in of the top hotels that take cards so please find out in advance how the accommodation is expecting to be paid. Nearly all places will be happy to take one of the major foreign currencies.

How much cash do you need?

Bringing a sufficient cash with you before to arriving is easier than finding a bank or cash machine. but you will mostly find a better rate in Ethiopia than at home and Visa and Maestro cards are taken by most cash machines. If you card doesn’t work in one machine try another, there is often a line of machines in most shopping malls.

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It’s a good idea to keep cash to last a few days as the bank networks often go down. The machines have a daily limit set by the local banks. If one machine says you have reached you limit you can usually get more from a machine from owned by another bank.

How much money do I need?

Below is the amounts of money you will need based by type of traveller:

Table

Calculate the amount of travel money you need

  • Calculate the number of days of your trip and multiply by $50-$100 per person.
  • If you traveling independently (no meals included), estimate an additional $50-$75 per person per day for food and drink. (This amount could vary depending upon your final destination and your own personal preferences and budget).
  • What type of activities and expenses do you anticipate needing to pay for while on vacation (i.e., some tours, meals, and/or activities might have been prepaid)? Calculate the exact amount of all these expenses added together.
  • Are there any special purchases you intend to make while on travel? For example, you might want to buy a rug in Turkey, a Murano vase in Venice, etc.These very well might be done via credit card for security. Maybe you plan on buying a few gifts and souvenirs that are not as expensive and could be done with cash?
  • What type of tips and gratuities will be expected with any of your activities, tours, transfers, or excursions? (A typical range is 10% to 20% of the cost of the activity).
  • After calculating all of the above, add a 20% cushion to your final figure.

Make sure you keep your money safe when walking around crowded ares by using a money belt or keeping your hands in your pockets. If travelling with a companion, split up your money and your credit cards. See link below for some examples of travel gear.

Key Tips

  • Write down your credit card numbers and international number call in emergency and keep that separately from your credit cards.
  • When using your debit card, you need to select credit card on the ATM There is no service charge form the local banks for using your card Find out what your daily limit is for withdrawals before you leave for your trip.
  • You can’t get Ethiopian Birr outside of Ethiopia so bring all your US dollars (in cash) to the airport and exchange all your money at the same time to get the best rate.
  • PREPAID debit cards are not guaranteed to work in Ethiopia nor are ‘lesser known cards’ such as Citrus etc.

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