Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Is there somewhere in London to change yen on a Saturday?
Simon Calder is Travel Editor at Large for The Independent, writing a weekly column, various articles and features as well as filming a weekly video diary. Every Sunday afternoon, Simon presents the UK's only radio travel phone-in programme called The LBC Travel Show with Simon Calder (97.3 FM). He is a regular guest on national TV, often seen on BBC Breakfast, Daybreak, ITV News and Sky News. He is often interviewed on BBC Radio, particularly for BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours programme and BBC Five Live.
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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