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16th Dec 2012 12:29pm | By Editor
You asked for it... Laura Lindsay, from Lonely Planet, answers your travel question
I’ve got a number of trips planned to Europe in next few months and I want to know how to get the best deal on my euros. Am I best to buy them all in one go? Where will give me the best deal? Danny, via email
Generally speaking, the trick to getting good currency rates is buying greater quantities in one transaction and buying in advance online.
You will get a much better deal like this than buying currency last minute from airport kiosks, for example. I’d suggest ordering all of your holiday cash from an online foreign exchange service, such as Travelex or the Post Office.
Money Saving Expert’s htravelmoneymax.com allows you to input the amount and currency you need to purchase and whether you want to collect from a store or order online; the clever little calculator will let you know the best rates available from a variety of sources.
Be aware that if you do exchange cash before you travel and then use a debit card for any additional expenses, the majority of banks charge a hefty £1.50 for each transaction, so be sure to exchange enough cash before you travel.
It is actually safer to carry money abroad on a specialist credit card, as this avoids carrying around huge quantities of cash, although you’d be wise to check your bank has ATMs in the country you’re going to.
If you don’t have a credit card, a prepaid, money top-up card like FairFX’s is a good option if travelling in Europe.
I would love some advice about Amsterdam for New Year! We are thinking of driving and staying at an apartment for four or five days. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Louise, via email
New year is a great time to visit Amsterdam as the Dutch certainly know how to throw a good party!
New Year’s Eve festivities are centred on the Oosterdok area of Amsterdam, with the VOC Ship, Science Center NEMO and Scheepvaartmuseum forming the backdrop for the celebrations. Featuring performances and a spectacular fireworks display, the event kicks off at 23:15 and ends shortly after midnight.
A smaller-scale but popular option is Chinatown’s Nieuwmarkt square or for the best views of the city’s fireworks displays, the Magere Brug (which means ‘Skinny Bridge’) is the place to be.
If you want to continue the party into the wee hours, there are a number of nightclubs hosting parties.
Be aware that the entry fees are steep (around £40) but top picks include popular nightclub TIK TAK’s party at the Heineken Music Hall and Dazzleville, a huge party on the city’s NDSM Wharf.
As Amsterdam is a popular choice for new year, be sure to book up accommodation and restaurants in advance to avoid disappointment.
Lonely Planet’s Laura Lindsay will give you the benefit of her infinite wisdom if you email a question to firstname.lastname@example.org. If your question is answered, you’ll win a Lonely Planet guide of your choice.
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