Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: What currency should I take to Dubrovnik?
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 29 July 2013
Q I have just booked a holiday to Dubrovnik for the beginning of October. I have received conflicting advice about whether to take Sterling, euros or the local currency, kuna. What do you advise?
Linda Elliott, Berkshire
A Sterling - although you may possibly want to get £20-worth of kuna from your post office. It won't be a brilliant rate, but you won't pay commission.
I am firmly in favour of changing pounds into foreign currency upfront when you know you can lock into a good rate. But in my experience that applies only to a few currencies: euros and US dollars definitely, and sometimes for Australian, Canadian and Swiss funds.
For all the eastern European currencies - the Polish zloty, the Czech crown, the Hungarian forint and parts of the former Yugoslavia that have not yet adopted the euro, I have always found better rates in situ.
Dubrovnik airport's sole bureau de change (in the arrivals hall) offers dismal rates. But in town, you will find plenty of places happy to compete for your Sterling at good rates.
The other option that appeals to some visitors to Croatia is to use euros. Many traders accept them, and some hotels actually quote rates in euros. Well, if you happen to have some leftover euros, then by all means take them. You will probably get a keener rate when changing cash than for Sterling (but not enough to make it worth obtaining some euros specially). But for actually paying for stuff, I would always use kuna. To do otherwise is inviting the trader to set a rate that is good for them but unfavourable for you.
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