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RBC provides tips and advice for U.S. bound travelers as loonie takes flight again

TORONTO, November 23, 2009 — With a rising Canadian dollar, many Canadians are looking to maximize their budget by travelling to the U.S., either for a short shopping trip, a vacation, or as a winter snowbird.

RBC Economics expects the Canadian dollar to remain strong relative to the U.S. currency in the near term. The Canadian dollar is projected to finish the year around 96 cents U.S. and rise to 98 cents U.S. early in 2010 with improvement triggered by a weakened U.S. dollar, as markets become concerned about rising U.S. fiscal imbalances.

"With the busiest shopping day in the U.S., Black Friday, upon us in mere days amidst a strengthening Canadian dollar, it's important for Canadians to consider a few simple tips to help save money and enjoy a safe cross-border experience," said Ashif Ratanshi, head, Branch Investments, Deposits and Direct Investing, RBC. "Whether you're looking for deals south of the border or taking a mini vacation, everyone is looking for a convenient way to access funds. At RBC, we have many options for cross-border banking and can offer help in looking at your financial needs to provide added peace of mind."

As Canadians prepare to venture south of the border, Ratanshi offers the following five tips:

1) Consider cash alternatives - Debit or credit cards along with U.S. travellers cheques are easy and secure alternatives to carrying large amounts of cash when shopping or travelling. Credit cards are hassle-free and accepted virtually everywhere. Cross-border debit service only requires your bank card and Personal Identification Number (PIN) for ATM withdrawals or purchases at any of the 1,000,000 merchants in the U.S. that use the NYCE network. Travellers cheques are easy to cash and come in many denominations.

2) Open a U.S. savings account - A U.S. savings account can help if you are planning a U.S. vacation or shopping trip, or you have money left over from your holiday. Look for an account with low or no fees that enables you to take advantage of exchange rates when they are favourable and gain interest. Some will also allow you to purchase U.S. dollars through online banking at a preferential rate by simply making a direct transfer from your Canadian dollar bank account to your U.S. savings account from anywhere.

3) Use a U.S. dollar credit card - Frequent U.S. travellers may want to consider a U.S. dollar denominated credit card, which gives cardholders the flexibility to make transactions in U.S. funds and avoid the hassles of exchange rates or daily currency fluctuations. Coupled with a U.S. savings account, it also allows holders to take advantage of favourable exchange rates over time using dollar cost averaging and then pay off their card balance using U.S. funds directly from their savings account.

4) Make cross-border banking work for you - If you often travel to the U.S. or are one of thousands of Canadian snowbirds who head to the U.S. over the winter, consider a cross-border banking arrangement that provides access to your banking services on both sides of the border.

5) Remember to pack travel insurance - Don't forget about travel insurance when planning short cross-border trips. Regardless of the length or type of trip, it's important to consider travel medical insurance as medical treatments in the U.S. can be very expensive. Frequent travelers should consider a multi-trip annual plan to save both time and money.

For more tips on what you can do to plan a short vacation to the U.S. visit http://www.rbcroyalbank.com/travel/vacation.html.

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Media contact:
Suzanne Willers, RBC, 416-974-2727
Matt Gierasimczuk, RBC, Media Relations, (416) 974-2124


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11/23/2009 08:48:11