Holiday Destinations and Currencies
Sorting out your currency for your holidays should be pretty straightforward these days with most banks, Post Offices and even high street stores like Marks and Spencer offering good rates. Online Foreign currency traders also offer competitive rates and they will deliver it free of charge in most cases (if you order over the stipulated amount)
However, it can still be a bit of a minefield if you are going to one of the less well known destinations and you are not sure about what currency they use or where to change currency when you arrive. Here is some useful advice about what currencies countries use and also the best way to get your currency while you are away.
What Currency Should I Take? If I am travelling to…
Turkey – Turkish Lira
If you are buying large items like furniture or electrical goods many places in Turkey also accept Euros or Sterling. It is best to get your currency before you travel but if you need to change more while you are in Turkey there are ATMS everywhere that you can withdraw cash from (please note that your bank will charge you for this so check their rates for withdrawing abroad before you go.) Lots of shops also offer exchange services but make sure they are not charging extortionate amounts of commission (more than 3% is high.) Bodrum Airport does not have any currency exchange service so make sure you have at least some Lira ready for when you arrive.
Egypt – Egyptian Pounds
You can get money changed in larger hotels in the bigger resorts if you need to or you will have no trouble finding an ATM machine in resorts like Sharm El Sheikh (remember to check for bank charges!) Small change is I very short supply in Egypt so if you get any hold on to it as it comes I useful for tips, taxi fares and such. The Eyptians like to be tipped and you don’t want to be handing out large notes all the time!
Morocco – Moroccan Dirham
The Moroccan Dirham is a closed currency meaning you cannot import or export anything over 1000DH. Currency purchased during your stay must not be taken back out of the country so make sure you spend up before you fly home! They will check you for currency at the Moroccan airports and take any notes off you so don’t purchase large amounts if you won’t spend it! When you bring Sterling, Euros, US Dollars etc in to Morocco they also require notes to be in a good condition. Look for official Bureau de Change to exchange your currency (identified with a gold sign) and you should be able to purchase Dirhams with no commission. Large hotels will often have Bureau de Change facilities. ATMs are also available in larger resorts.
Cape Verde – Cape Verde Escudos
Although the official currency in Cape Verde is the Escudo, you can use Euros here without any problem. The likelihood is that if you pay with Euros you will get change in Escudos anyway! There are BCA Banks in Santa Maria and Espargos on Sal Island where you can change currency easily. Caixa Bank is also more commonly used by locals but you can apparently get better rates here. Get rid of all your Escudos before you travel home as the bank at Sal Airport charges a fortune to change Escudos back to Euros! There are ATMs on Sal and Visa credit cards can be used in some places.
Thailand – Thai Baht
The cost of living in Thailand is very cheap due to the favourable exchange rates. US Dollars are also widely accepted and even Sterling in some places but it’s always best to deal in local currency. The ‘Bangkok Post’ newspaper prints the current international exchange rates daily so it is easy to keep an eye on what you should be getting for your money. Larger cities such as Bangkok and Chang Mai and swarming with ATMs and most of the popular islands have plenty as well.
Croatia – Croatian Kuna
The Kuna is the official currency in Croatia and you can easily get hold of this in the UK or using online exchange companies. Whilst Euros may be accepted for certain things such as paying for taxis or accommodation this is completely unofficial and is not recommended. However, Croatia is set to be the next country to join the EU so by summertime 2013 you may actually be using Euros instead of Kunas! Keep an eye on this before you travel. There are plenty of banks and ATMs in Croatia where you can change your currency.
Denmark – Danish Krone
Although Denamrk is in the EU they rejected using the Euro and they use the Krone. The symbol for Krone can be either DKK or Dkr so if you see either of these they are talking about the same thing! Denmark has ATMs and banks everywhere offering competitive exchange rates but with the high 25% tax in the country make sure you have lots of Krone to spend!
Something to consider if you have a bank account overseas companies such as Forex can allow you to send or receive currency whilst you are abroad at very competitive rates so it may be worth considering this option.
Travellers cheques are a little outdated but they are still great if you want your cash to be safe. Lots of places in the more popular holiday destinations such as Spain or Portugal accept travellers cheques and you can get them changed in to currency easily while you are aware without having to carry large sums of money with you.
The Post Office also offer a Travel Money Card which means your money is totally secure. They can be used in 1.5m ATMs worldwide and they often offer lower charges than your own bank will to withdraw money abroad. They can also be used in over 32 million locations worldwide as an alternative to cash.