Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Where's best to change sterling into Morocco dirhams?
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.
Tuesday 16 July 2013
Q I'm going to Marrakech in a week or so. Where's best to change sterling cash into Moroccan dirhams - here or there?
Christopher Burbidge, Leicestershire.
A In Morocco. "The importation and exportation of Moroccan currency is strictly forbidden," warns the National Tourist Office. "It cannot be converted outside the Kingdom's borders." There is a certain amount of wishful thinking in those statements, since plenty of people take dirhams in and out, and the currency is traded in neighbouring countries. But the leading bureaux de change in the UK will not handle the dirham. Instead, bring sterling in cash and change it little and often when you are there. You should also bring a debit card as a back-up.
So why not change a big slab of cash all at once? First, you will probably not get a particularly good rate at Marrakech airport when you arrive; you will probably find better deals at hotels or bureaux de change (you're looking for a rate of 12.5 dirhams to £1). Next, when you change back surplus dirhams to "hard currency" (sterling, euros, dollars, etc) at the end of your stay, you are allowed only half the amount that you changed during your visit - this will not prove a problem if you have bought dirhams as you go along, so long as you remember to keep all receipts.
Finally, the Foreign Office warns "It's very difficult to exchange travellers' cheques," and I agree.
Click HERE to email Simon.
You can also tweet him your questions @SimonCalder
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 2 Gingers face extinction due to climate change, scientists warn
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
British jihadist calls for 'flag of Islam' over Downing Street and Buckingham Palace
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
£45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...
Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...
£33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...
£30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...