A Tourist's Guide to the Tunisian Currency

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Tourist: I would like to buy a pack of tissue paper, please.
Vendor: Sure, here it is. Seven hundred, please.
Tourist: (confused) Seven hundred?! You don’t mean seven hundred Dinars, right? It’s just a tissue paper pack.
Vendor: (smiling) No, no! Seven hundred Millimes. That’s less than 1 Dinar.

As you embark on your journey to Tunisia, it's essential to familiarise yourself with the local currency to avoid awkward moments such as the one above, which, believe me, happens very often. Here's a guide to the currency system in Tunisia for tourists.

 

General Explanation

The Tunisian Dinar is the official currency of Tunisia and is abbreviated as TND. It is further subdivided into 1000 Millimes. Banknotes and coins are in circulation, each featuring unique designs and historical elements that reflect Tunisia's heritage.

Banknotes: The dinar banknotes come in various denominations, including 5, 10, 20, and 50 dinars.

Coins: Millime coins come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 Millimes. There are also dinar coins, with denominations of 1, 2, and 5 dinars.

 

Coin Distinctions

Certain coins share similarities that may lead to confusion, so it's important to pay attention to these details.

The 5 Millimes, 500 Millimes, 1 Dinar, and 2 Dinar coins are all white. Although 5 Millimes coins are less common, it's important to note their lighter weight and similar size to 500 Millimes.

In contrast, both the 1 Dinar and 2 Dinar coins are larger and heavier than the 500 Millimes. While the 1 Dinar is a perfect circle, the 2 Dinar coin has a similar shape as the 5 Dinar coin. Tridecagon and decagon, respectively.

The 5 Dinar coin stands out with its unique two-colour design. It’s pretty unique.

Similarly, distinguishing between 100 Millimes and 200 Millimes can be challenging.

Moreover, the 5 Dinars banknotes might be mistaken for 50 Dinars; they’re both green. This one needs special attention.

It's advisable to double-check the coins whenever you want to pay in cash. Their initial resemblance can lead to confusion. It’s also a good practice to verbalise the coin denominations before handing them over to the vendor. This minimises the risk of any misunderstanding.

Monnaie

El Mouradi Skanes © By Asma Hf

 

Before You Go

Before travelling to Tunisia, it's important to check the latest exchange rates for the Tunisian Dinar. It's also advisable to inform your bank about your travel plans to avoid any issues with using your credit or debit cards abroad.

 

When You Land at the Airport

Upon arrival in Tunisia, you'll find currency exchange services at airports, banks, and authorised exchange offices. It's recommended to exchange a small amount of your currency to dinars at the airport for immediate expenses. However, for more favourable rates, consider exchanging large sums at local banks or authorised exchange bureaus in the city. It's important to declare any cash brought into Tunisia in excess of 10,000 TND at the airport customs.

 

Three-Digit System

You are now aware that Tunisia uses a three-digit currency system instead of the two-digit system used in many other countries. 1 Dinar is the equivalent of 1000 Millimes.

Another important aspect to keep in mind is that Tunisians sometimes talk in Millimes instead of Dinars, such as saying that the price of a pack of tissue paper is 700 hundred. The meal costs 4000. The price of a jacket costs 70000. And a car costs 30 Million. All of these are in Millimes. To get the price in Dinars, divide by 1000.

 

Cash is King

It's advisable to carry small denominations of TND for tipping and small purchases. Despite the fact that using bank cards is becoming more and more popular among Tunisian vendors, cash is still king in Tunisia. In souks, small vendors, taxis, the majority of restaurants, they all still use cash.

Currency by Micheile Henderson Unsplash

Coins © By Micheile Henderson


In summary, when travelling to Tunisia, it's important to familiarise yourself with the currency, exchange rates, and any restrictions on the import and export of currency to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip.

 

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