Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Is there somewhere in London to change yen on a Saturday?
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Monday 05 August 2013
Q Is there somewhere in London to get yen today? My wife and daughter are travelling to Japan tomorrow. I don't want to use airport forex bureaux.
Charles Ellis, Hastings (via Twitter)
A It's now gone 5pm on a Saturday and all the usual avenues have been closed off - agencies such as Thomas Exchange (Victoria, Mayfair and Hammersmith) and Ace FX (London Bridge). If you happen to be in the Bayswater area of west London, then walk up and down Queensway and see who will offer the best deal among the two dozen or so bureaux de change. Otherwise: find out online what foreign exchange providers there are at the airport of departure (if it's your nearest, Gatwick, then Moneycorp claims to be a monopoly, but in fact there's an ICE office in the airport railway station). Go online to see who will offer the best rate for ordering online and picking up at the airport. It is guaranteed to be much better than the "walk-up" rate. You should aim for Y143 per £1. And if you have a choice, pick up landside - in my experience it's easier to sort out any problems there than beyond the security checkpoint.
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