Where is the best place to get Canadian currency for my U.S. dollar? I have read exchange places charge various amounts and even if a shop takes the dollar the rate is what they set and you might get cheated so it is better to use Canadian. Is there better places? Will any bank let you walk in and exchange?
Do most places off the beaten path like here in the U.S. still allow you to use a credit card?
Please advise on any suggestions on how to handle the money aspect.
I'd suggest you use an ATM machine to take out cash, or use your credit card - which will give you the exchange rate of the day and not charge you a fee. Trust me, the stores that don't take credit cards are few and far between - even off the beaten path. Unless you're planning to travel up to Kuujjuaq or something (and even then), you won't have a problem.
As for handling money, just do like you'd do at home. Other than the fact that our money is more colourful and yours is worth more, it works exactly the same way.
Thanks for the good advice. One last novice question from someone who has not traveled outside the U.S. The Canadian bank with whom I don't have an account but still is part of the VISA network lets say will allow me to withdraw Canadian cash and it will be converted and taken out of my American account as part of the VISA/Mastercard deal right?
Sorry for the ignorant question just don't want to be stranded.
Yup! If you use your credit card to take out cash, you can visit any ATM from any bank (assuming the ATM allows you to pull cash from your VISA account) and you will be asked to choose an amount to withdraw in Canadian dollars. Remember, though, that your credit-card company will charge you interest starting that very day. Cash advances can end up costing you a lot! I only ever take out a little cash when I need it, then use my credit card for all other expenses. That way, you pay no fees and don't have to worry about carrying a lot of cash around.
I just re-read your post and may have misunderstood something, so just in case: You can use your ATM card at just about any ATM machine anywhere in Canada. The ATM will give you funds in Canadian dollars (that's all it carries) and your bank account will be deducted at the exchanged rate in American funds (i.e. if you take out $10 Canadian your bank will deduct $8.80 American from your account).
However, your bank will charge you a hefty fee for the transaction, which is why I'd suggest taking out some cash and then using your credit card when possible. Avoid currency-exchange places, if you can. They charge a commission.