May
03
2010
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Why is the exchange rate worse for banknotes than for traveler’s checks or credit cards?

exchange-ratesYou would think that in most countries banks, exchange offices, stores should be delighted to be paid with your good, “hard” currency. The problem is that in most countries your dollar bills, Euros or pound notes are just paper until the holder can sell them and get his local currency, either in cash or as [more...]

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Apr
28
2010
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Is it better to buy foreign currency at home or after you arrive at your destination?

foreign-currencyThe best place to buy foreign currency depends on how that currency is traded. If there are serious exchange controls in the country you intend to visit, you will probably get a bad deal at the official rate of exchange in the country, whereas in your country banks or other sellers will be eager to [more...]

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Apr
09
2010
2

What's the best way to buy foreign currency?

foreign-currencySeveral decades ago, a bank would usually be the best place to change money from one currency to another. There was always a feeling that a money-changing business would be more likely to “rip you off”. Now the tables have turned, and specialist currency exchange businesses are often the best value when buying travel money. [more...]

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Jan
26
2010
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How do you get around Tenerife by bus?

Photo by Secret Tenerife - CC-BYTourists to the Canary Island of Tenerife often hire a car, but that’s not necessary unless you’re staying in an out-of-the-way tourist enclave. Tenerife’s buses are cheap, convenient and efficient—and there’s a tram too. Services are frequent and regular. There are at least two services an hour between major centres such as Santa Cruz, the [more...]

Oct
06
2009
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What does it feel like to touch an elephant?

Photo by H Browne - CC-BYAn elephant is a remarkable animal, and I am fortunate to have had the privilege to be able to touch one. The skin of an elephant, as you might expect, is tough and rough. It's also wrinkled into deep folds, and more than likely to be covered in parts by a thin layer of mud [more...]

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Sep
11
2009
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What’s driving like in South Africa?

Wide-open South African roadInternational travellers are sometimes hesitant to drive in another country, but self-drive is a great way to see the highlights of South Africa. Driving is on the left, as in 30% of the world including Japan, Australasia, and the British Isles. Distances are in kilometers, and speeds in kilometers per hour. Your drivers license is [more...]

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Sep
06
2009
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What’s a good two-week itinerary for South Africa’s garden route?

Southern Right Whales at Hermanus (photo by exfordy - CC-BY)The Garden Route isn’t about gardens. The name alludes to its lush and verdant coast, mountains and forests, which contrast with the arid nature of much of the rest of South Africa, and it makes for a great driving holiday. The Garden Route is that part of the N2 highway which follows the coast between [more...]

Jul
24
2009
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Why vacation in Nauru?

Map of Nauru, PacificMap of Nauru, Pacific – Photographic Print Buy at AllPosters.com Nauru is a tiny island in the Micronesian Pacific Ocean, with a fascinating but sad background (wikipedia). The island is a coral reef covered in bird droppings, and the islanders sold the birdpoo for phosphate (fertiliser). They raked in the cash, as did their colonial [more...]

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Apr
18
2009
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What is “couch surfing”?

Photo by Hayden Burton-Miller - CC-BYCouch surfing is seeing the world from strangers’ sofas. It’s a low-cost way to travel, based on the idea of dossing down overnight on other people’s couches. As such, it has great appeal to budget travellers—current or recent students, people who have opted out from the rat race, people who are just easygoing and take [more...]

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