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Changing your currency in England

Changing money is a simple and straightforward operation. Just remember that every time you exchange money, you need to show your passport. By using a currency-exchange service, called a bureau de change,you can easily change cash or traveler's checks. These services are available at major London airports, any branch of major banks (throughout the country), all major rail and Underground stations in Central London, post offices countrywide, many Tourist Information Centres, and American Express or Thomas Cook offices. Bureaux de change in airports and rail stations are generally open daily between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Almost every major bank in Central London and in cities throughout England has a foreign-currency window where you can exchange traveler's checks or cash. Weekday hours for banks are generally 9 30 a.m. to 3 30 p.m. The big bank names in England currently include Barclays Bank ( 020 7441-3200), Midland Bank ( 020 7599-3232), and NatWest ( 020 7395-5500). These companies...

Language And Currency

The official language is Spanish, although the State also recognizes all other native languages and dialects. The Roman Catholic Church enjoys a favored status but the State guarantees full religious freedom. Basic English is taught at most schools. English is generally spoken by people who work in the travel industry, such as tour guides and personnel at travel agencies and hotels. The Peruvian currency is the Nuevo Sol (S .) circulation is in coins of 5, 10, 20 and 50 c ntimos, and 1, 2 and 5 Nuevos Soles and banknotes for 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Nuevos Soles. Most shops, restaurants and gasoline stations accept US dollars and euros at the daily exchange rate.

Currency Crisis Scandals

The Asian crisis of 1997 (when Thailand's currency nose-dived after too many years of unsustainable growth, sparking similar recessions across Southeast Asia) was awake-up call for Brunei, with the sultan's personal fortune being considerably depleted. But the greatest shock to the country was delivered by the sultan's younger brother, Prince Jefri, who around the same time apparently managed to go on a US 16 billion spending spree. This included gambling debts that totalled nearly US 25 million. He was eventually reeled in by his brother and forced to hold an auction in 2001, where many of his prized possessions, including gold-plated toilet-roll holders and a helicopter flight simulator, went under the hammer.

Buying Currency before You Leave

Though the age of ATMs makes this less necessary, some people still purchase about 50 worth of local currency for each country that they'll visit even before they leave home. Doing so gets you from the airport or train station to the better exchange rates of a downtown bank. Likewise, this money can tide you over until you get your hands on some more, if you arrive in town late at night or on a bank holiday.

Taking Advantage of Foreign Currency Differentials

For those traveling without advance notice to a country whose currency is much weaker than the U.S. dollar, you may try booking a one-way to your destination country and have a travel agent price the return for you in the foreign currency (variant of the split ticket in this instance splitting one roundtrip ticket into two one-way tickets). For example, if you're flying last-minute coach from San Francisco to Malaysia, the SFO-Kuala Lumpur segment may cost 1,700, with a one-way return segment purchased in Malaysia only 1,200 a 500 savings. This strategy can benefit the last-minute road warrior as well as any savvy traveler purchasing tickets in business or first class. The business traveler who returns to the same destination abroad frequently should consider purchasing an initial one-way ticket to his destination, and thereafter purchasing roundtrips that originate from the foreign destination for future trips if the savings are worthwhile.

Currency Exchange

Currency exchange may be done in all banks and post offices in Oslo. Opening hours for most banks are 08.30-15.30 Monday to Friday (Thursday 08.30-17.00). In the summer time, the banks may close earlier. Most post offices are open 09.00-17.00 Monday to Friday and 09.00-13.00 on Saturdays. 12 ATM'S WITH THE MOST COMMON CURRENCIES, AS WELL AS CURRENCY COUNTER IN THE DEPARTURE HALL.

Exchanging Currency

Exchanging foreign currency for U.S. dollars is usually painless on Oahu. Generally, the best rates of exchange are available through major banks, most of which exchange foreign currency. In Waikiki, go to A-1 Foreign Exchange, which has offices in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, 2301 Kalakaua Ave., and in the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Tower, 2424 Kalakaua Ave. (& 808 922-3327), or Pacific Money Exchange, 339 Royal Hawaiian Ave. (& 808 924-9318). There also are currency services at Honolulu International Airport. Most of the major hotels offer currency-exchange services, but generally the rate of exchange is not as good as what you'll get at a bank. TRAVELER'S CHECKS Though traveler's checks are widely accepted, make sure that they're denominated in U.S. dollars, as foreign-currency checks are often difficult to exchange. The three traveler's checks that are most widely recognized and least You'll find automated teller machines (ATMs) on just about every block, especially in Waikiki...

Currency

The basic unit of currency is the Hong Kong dollar (HK ), which is divided into 100 cents. Since 1983, when negotiations between Britain and China concerning Hong Kong's future sent public confidence and the value of the Hong Kong dollar into a nose dive, the Hong Kong dollar has been pegged to the U.S. dollar at a rate of 7.8 (which means that US 1 equals HK 7.8), giving the Hong Kong currency greater stability. At any rate, throughout the SAR, you'll see the dollar sign ( ), which of course refers to Hong Kong dollars, not U.S. dollars. To prevent confusion, this guide identifies Hong Kong dollars with the symbol HK (followed in parentheses by the U.S. dollar conversion). Although the official conversion rate is pegged at 7.8, you'll receive slightly less at banks, hotels, and currency exchange offices. During my last trip, I encountered exchange rates ranging from 7.74 (at a Hang Seng bank) to 7.03 (at a currency exchange office). Some banks offer better exchange rates but charge a...

Currency Confusion

Many hotels, restaurants, and chic shops list their prices in monetary units (abbreviated Y.E. in Russian). The unit was essentially another way of saying dollars while adhering to the Russian law that forbids businesses from trading in any currency other than the ruble. Today the monetary unit is either pegged to the dollar, the euro, or somewhere in between. Restaurants and hotels will have a note at the front desk and on the menus or price lists indicating the current monetary unit exchange rate (for example 28 rubles 1 Y.E.). It's a good idea to have a small calculator handy for times like this. Even if the price is listed in dollar-pegged units, however, you have to pay your bill in rubles. 1990s. If you're not queasy about carrying cash from home, change it at currency exchange booths. Booths in town offer more competitive rates than do hotels and airports and do not charge commissions, though most buy only U.S. dollars and euros. Be sure to have crisp, new bills, as exchange...

Making sense of the euro

The euro gives the European Union a single common currency, so currency-exchange headaches in member nations including Spain are largely a thing of the past. You no longer have to worry about getting your hands on pesetas. But even with currency exchange simplified, you still need to think about some money matters before your trip. What's the best way to deal with money matters while you're traveling in Spain With traveler's checks Using local ATMs to withdraw cash, just like at home Or whipping out plastic across the country This section answers your questions about dishing out your dough. The common E.U. currency, introduced January 1, 2002, is the euro (in Spain, it's pronounced eh-oo-roh), abbreviated by the symbol . Coins come in eight denominations 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 eurocents, and 1 and 2 euros. Bank notes are issued in seven denominations 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 euros. Look for information about the European Union's common currency on 7 the Web at...

Fast Facts Puerto Escondido

Area Code The telephone area code is 954. Currency Exchange Banamex, Bancomer, Bancrear, and Banco Bital all have branches in town, and all will change money during business hours hours vary, but you can generally find one of the above open Monday through Saturday from 8am to 7pm. Automatic tellers are also available, as are currency-exchange offices.

Getting There Away Air

Wellington is an international gateway to NZ. See p709 for information on international flights. Wellington Airport (WLG 04-385 5100 www.wellington-airport.co.nz S 4am-1.30am) has touchscreen information kiosks in the check-in hall. There's also currency exchange, ATMs, car-rental desks, caf s, shops etc. If you're in transit or have an early flight, you can't malinger overnight inside the terminal. Departure tax on international flights is adult child 25 10.

Tips Exchange Money Before Leaving Home

There are no formal foreign currency exchange bureaus in Alaska. A Wells Fargo Bank branch in the 5th Avenue Mall in Anchorage (& 907 2652093 www.wellsfargo.com) has a currency exchange desk, the only specialized service in the state. You can change money elsewhere, but it generally is not a good idea. Obtain U.S. dollars before you leave home. You can pay for almost anything with a credit or charge card, with the exchange automatically made by your bank. You can also withdraw US dollars from ATMs by using your credit card, although the credit card company will usually charge an astronomical fee. You need to know your credit card PIN in order to use your card at an ATM.

Fast Facts Santiago de Cuba

Airport See Arriving & Departing, earlier in this chapter. Car Rentals See Getting Around, earlier in this chapter. Currency Exchange A CADECA (& 22 65-1383) can be found on Calle Aguilera 508. The local branch of Banco Financiero Internacional (& 22 42-7361), where you can exchange traveler's checks and get cash advances, is on F lix Pe a 565. Banco de Cr dito y Comercio (& 22 62-8006), with similar services, is on F lix Pe a between Aguilera and Heredia. Both are open Monday through Saturday from 8am to 3pm. A rare ATM can be found at the Banco Popular de Ahoro (& 22 64-2454) on Plaza Dolores. You can also change money at the Meli Santiago. Emergency Dial & 116 for any emergency.

Orientation Information

Currency exchange offices are available throughout the city. ATMs are inside every metro station, in hotels and department stores, in main post offices and along major streets. American Express ( 326 4500 Malaya Morskaya u123 S 9am-5pm Mon-Fri) only offers travel services travellers cheques can be exchanged at most Russian banks (with commission, of course).

Finding information about Stratfordupon Avon

Www.shakespeare-country.co.uk), provides information and maps of the town and its principal sites. The center has a currency exchange and also offers a room-booking service at 01789 415-061. Opening hours are Easter through October, Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. November to Easter, Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 30 a.m. to 4 30 p.m.

Finds For Wine Lovers

FAST FACTS Several banks in both the old town and new city have ATMs and currency-exchange machines. The hospital is at 7-9 Trantallidou in the new town (& 28310 27-491). For Internet access, try the Caribbean Bar Caf (behind the Rimondi Fountain) or the Alana Taverna (on Salaminas near the Hotel Fortezza). The most convenient laundry is next to the Youth Hostel, 45 Tombazi open Monday through Saturday from 8am to 8pm. The tourist police (& 28310 28-156) share the same building with the tourist office, along the beach. The post office is east of the Public Gardens at 37 Moatsu 37 (& 28310 22-571) open Monday through Friday from 8am to 8pm, Saturday from 8am to noon. The telephone office (OTE) is at 40 Kountourioti 40 open daily from 7 30am to midnight.

Shanghai Museum Art Store

Some variety from the usual tourist souvenirs. Apart from the excellent range of books on Chinese art, architecture, ceramics and calligraphy, there is a good selection of quality cards, prints and slides. The annexe shop sells fine imitations of some of the ceramic pieces on display in the Ceramics Gallery (as well as scarves and bags) but these come at a hefty price. The store has its own currency exchange.

Inside The Station

Amsterdam Centraal Station is the mammoth hub for all rail travel and public transportation in the city. An office of VVV Amsterdam tourist information (& 020 2018800 www.visitamsterdam.nl) is inside the station on platform 2B, open Monday to Saturday from 8am to 8pm, and Sunday and holidays from 9am to 5pm it can make last-minute hotel reservations. Another office is right in front of the station on Stationsplein, open daily from 9am to 5pm. In addition to the tourist information desks, you'll find 24-hour currency exchange, a host of restaurants and stores, and a train information office where seat reservations can be made.

For International Visitors

CURRENCY & CURRENCY EXCHANGE Currency-exchange bureaus are relatively rare in Chicago, so plan accordingly. When arriving in Chicago, you can exchange international currency in Terminal 5 (the international terminal) at O'Hare Airport. In the city, there are American Express offices at 55 W. Monroe St. (& 312 541-5440) and 605 N. Michigan Ave. (& 312 9437840). Most banks will not exchange foreign currency. If you find yourself in need of a foreign-exchange service while in Chicago, the

Fast Facts For the International Traveler

Automobile Organizations Auto clubs can supply maps, suggested routes, guidebooks, accident and bail-bond insurance, and emergency road service. AAA is the major auto club in the United States. If you belong to an auto club in your home country, inquire about AAA reciprocity before you leave. You may be able to join AAA even if you're not a member of a reciprocal club to inquire, call AAA at & 800 222-4357. AAA is actually an organization of regional auto clubs so look under AAA Automobile Club in the White Pages of the telephone directory. AAA's nationwide emergency road service telephone number is & 800 AAA-HELP. Business Hours See Fast Facts Arizona, in chapter 2. Currency See Money, earlier in this chapter. Currency Exchange You'll find currency-exchange services in major international airports. There's a Travelex office (& 800 287-7362 or 602 275-8767 www.travelex.com) at Sky Harbor Airport (Terminal 4) in Phoenix, but not at Tucson International Airport. In Phoenix, Bank of...

Hyatt Key West Resort And Marina

The resort's 120 rooms feature private balconies, cable TV, telephones with voice mail and dataports, full bath amenities, iron ironing boards, coffee makers with complimentary coffee, and turndown service on request. Guest services include concierge, gift shop, laundry and dry cleaning, room service, valet parking, currency exchange and meeting banquet facilities.

Fast Facts St Petersburg

American Express The main local office is in the Grand Hotel Europe (1 Mikhailovskaya Ulitsa & 812 326-4500), open daily from 9am to 6pm. Currency Exchange Every St. Petersburg hotel, many restaurants, and all major streets have exchange booths (obmen valyuty), many open 24 hours. They have signs out front with the buy-and-sell rate for dollars and euros. For other currencies, try the booths in the underground walkway at Gostiny Dvor. Doctor American Medical Center St. Petersburg, 10 Serpukhovskaya Ulitsa (& 812 326-1730) has Western-standard medical care and English-speaking staff. Embassies The following addresses are for consulates based in St. Petersburg (embassies are in Moscow, see Fast Facts Moscow in section 3). United States 15 Furshtadskaya Ulitsa (& 812 275-1701) Britain 5 Ploshchad Proletarskoi Diktatury (& 812 320-3200) Canada 32 Malodetskoselsky Prospekt (& 812 325-8448).

Supercheap Sleeps

YMCA Jewell House You'll love the prices and the river panorama from the south rooms in this 11-story one-time nurses' quarters. Bathrooms are communal but clean. Rooms contain beds, a fan, self-serve tea and coffee, and linen and towels. Maid service is daily. There is 24-hour reception, currency exchange, TV, phone and Internet lounges, a wonderfully affordable cafe, and helpful staff. The Perth Mint is a block away, and Hay Street Mall is a 5-block stroll.

Business Hours Russia

In Russia government offices open from 9am or 10am to 5pm or 6pm weekdays. Banks usually open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday, and some open 9am to 5pm Saturday. Currency-exchange booths open long hours, and on Saturday and sometimes Sunday too. Museum hours change often, as do their weekly days off. Most stop selling tickets 30 minutes to an hour before closing.

Information Elsewhere In The City

Dublin Tourism (& 01 605-7700 www.visitdublin.com) operates six walk-in visitor centers in greater Dublin. The principal center is in the wonderfully restored Church of St. Andrew on Suffolk Street, Dublin 2, open from June to August Monday to Saturday from 9am to 8 30pm, Sunday and Bank Holidays 10 30am to 3pm, and the rest of the year Monday to Saturday 9am to 5 30pm, Sunday and bank holidays 10 30am to 3pm. The Suffolk Street office is about V2 mile (.8km) from Connolly Station and includes a currency exchange counter, a car-rental counter, an accommodations reservations service, bus and rail information desks, a gift shop, and a cafe.

In shops and restaurants

The local currency is the Estonian kroon (EEK).i EUR i5.6s EEK Banks are plentiful and easy to find in Tallinn. Most are open from 9 00-18 00 on weekdays, and some offices are also open on Saturday mornings. All banks offer currency exchange services. Exchange offices can also be found in larger hotels, the airport, harbour, railway station and major shopping centres. Traveller's cheques can be exchanged in most banks but are rarely accepted in shops. Eurocheque is the most widely accepted traveller's cheque, though American Express and Thomas Cook are also accepted.

Fast Facts Switzerland

American Express American Express has offices in Geneva, Zurich, and Bern (see the individual city chapters for specific locations). Business Hours Banks are usually open Monday through Friday from 8 30am to 4 30pm (closed on legal holidays). Foreign currency may be exchanged at major railroad stations and airports daily from 8am to 10pm. Most business offices are open Monday through Friday from 8am to noon and 2 to 6pm. Shops are usually open Monday through Friday from 8am to 12 15pm and 1 30 to 6 30pm, and on Saturday from 1 30 to 4pm. In large cities, most shops don't close during the lunch hour, although many do so on Monday morning. Climate See When to Go, earlier in this chapter. Currency Currency Exchange See Money, earlier in this chapter. Driving Rules See Getting Around, earlier in this chapter. Drug Laws A word of warning Penalties for illegal drug possession are more severe in Switzerland than they are in the United States and Canada. You could go to jail or be deported...

Finding Information after You Arrive

You can find hotel and theater booking agencies, a currency exchange, and numerous free brochures on river trips, walking tours, and day trips from London at the Britain & London Visitor Centre, 1 Lower Regent St., Piccadilly Circus, SW1 ( 08701 566-366 Tube Piccadilly Circus), which provides tourist information to walk-in visitors Monday 9 30 a.m.

Finding the Way to Your Hotel

ATMs are on the main concourses in the old and new terminals and in the baggage claim area of the new terminal. Currency exchange services are offered at two customer service centers in the new terminal's main concourse. Dulles's ATMs are on both levels of the main terminal and on mid-field concourses A, B, C, and D. Currency exchange services are located on the upper level of the main terminal and on midfield concourses B, C, and D. An information counter is on the lower level of the main terminal. ATMs and information desks are scattered throughout the airport. Currency exchange services are available on the upper level by Pier C and on both levels of the International Pier.

Visitor Information

Dublin Tourism operates six walk-in visitor centers in greater Dublin that are open every day except Christmas. The principal center is on Suffolk Street, Dublin 2, open from June to August Monday to Saturday from 9am to 8 30pm, Sunday and bank holidays 10 30am to 3pm, and the rest of the year Monday to Saturday 9am to 5 30pm, Sunday and bank holidays 10 30am to 3pm. The Suffolk Street office includes a currency exchange counter, a car-rental counter, an accommodations-reservations service, bus and rail information desks, a gift shop, and a cafe. For accommodations reservations throughout Ireland by credit card, contact Dublin Tourism at & 01 605-7700 www.visitdublin.com.

Visitor Information Information Centers

AT THE AIRPORTS If you are arriving by plane, you may as well think of your airport as a visitor information center, since all three Washington area airports offer all sorts of visitor services. See chapter 2 for specific information about each airport's location, flights, designated place to rendezvous when someone is meeting you at the airport, and transportation options into town. BALTIMORE-WASHINGTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (BWI & 800 435-9294 www.bwiairport.com). BWI services include two information desks (& 800 435-9294 for information and paging) located on the upper level near the ticket counters and a Maryland Welcome Center (& 410 6912878) at Pier C on the lower level near the international arrival gates foreign-language assistance in French, Italian, Spanish, and German (you just pick up one of the white courtesy phones located throughout the airport and request assistance) several locations for buying insurance and exchanging currency (& 410 850-0237) several ATMs (at the...

Fast Facts Grand Bahama

Climate See When to Go, in chapter 2. Currency Exchange Americans need not bother to exchange their dollars into Bahamian dollars, because the currencies are on par. However, Canadians and Brits will need to convert their money, which can be done at local banks or sometimes at a hotel, though hotels tend to offer less favorable rates. Dentists A reliable dentist is Dr. Larry Bain, Sun Alliance Building, Pioneer's Way, Freeport (& 242 352-8492). Hours are Monday through Wednesday from 8 30am to 5pm and Thursday and Friday from 8 30am to 1pm.

Fast Facts The Czech Republic

Currency Exchange Banks generally offer the best exchange rates, but American Express is competitive and doesn't charge commission for cashing traveler's checks, regardless of the issuer. Don't hesitate to use a credit card card exchange rates often work to the traveler's advantage.

Inside The Stations

Facilities and amenities at each station differ but most include ATMs, currency exchange desks, shops, cafes, and pubs. Most stations have large information boards with arrival and departure information for all the destinations they service. Tickets can be purchased at each station (ticket desks and machines) or aboard the train.

Visitor Information At The Airports

BALTIMORE-WASHINGTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT BWI (& 800 435-9294 www.bwiairport.com) services include two information desks (& 800 435-9294 for information and paging) located on the upper level near the ticket counters and a Maryland Welcome Center (& 410 691-2878) at Pier C on the lower level near the international arrival gates foreign-language assistance in French, Italian, Spanish, and German (you just pick up one of the white courtesy phones located throughout the airport and request assistance) several locations for buying insurance and exchanging currency (& 410 8500237) several ATMs (at the entrances to Piers C and D on the upper level and RONALD REAGAN WASHINGTON NATIONAL AIRPORT National (& 703 417-8000 www.mwaa.com national) has general information desks and customer service centers (& 703 417-3200 or 703 417-3201) at either end of the second, or concourse, level. Here you can exchange currency, purchase insurance, and recharge batteries. Ticket counters are on the third...

The Ins but Especially the Outs of Bay Area Airports

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) consists of four main terminals North (Terminal 3), South (Terminal 1), Central (Terminal 2), and International. The baggage level of each terminal also houses information booths. Bank of America operates a branch on the mezzanine level of the North terminal, and you can find ATMs on the upper level of all terminals. International visitors will find Travelex currency exchange offices throughout the International terminal.

Where To Stay Calicut

Usha Rd., Kozhikode 673 032. & 0495 276-5354. Fax 0495 276-6448. www.tajhotels.com. residency.calicut tajhotels.com. 74 units. 80 standard double, 90 residency double (includes breakfast and happy hour) 110 executive suite (includes breakfast). AE, DC, MC,V. Amenities 2 restaurants bar pool kids' pool health club Ayurvedic center travel assistance car hire business center currency exchange shopping arcade 24-hr. room service laundry, dry cleaning doctor-on-call. In room A C, TV, safe.

What You Can Take Home From China

Hotel exchange desks will only change money for their guests but are open very long hours, 7 days a week. Banking hours vary from branch to branch but are limited on Saturday, and banks are closed on Sunday. For more information, see Banks, Currency Exchanges & ATMs in the Fast Facts Beijing section of chapter 3. EXCHANGE RATE The yuan is pegged to the U.S. dollar, trading between 8.276 and 8.28 to 1 U.S. dollar, and is only allowed to move within a band of .2 . For all other currencies, strength in comparison to the yuan is a matter of strength in comparison to the U.S. dollar. The pound sterling has recently been trading at around 1.56 and 12.95, the euro at 1.07 and 8.87. The latest rates can be found at www.xe.com ucc.

Banking Communications

Currency Dlhe euro ( ), the single European currency, is now operational in 12 of the 15 member states of the EU, including France. Euro banknotes have seven denominations 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. There are also eight coin denominations 1 and 2, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents (also referred to as centimes ). Both notes and coins are valid and interchangeable within each of the 12 countries. Check on exchange rates against your own currency at the time of travel. in the heart of Paris are at 52 rue de Louvre (open 24 hours) and 71 ave des Champs-Elys es. They do not exchange currency or travellers' cheques but will exchange international postal cheques, giros and money orders.

One big merger The euro

In 2002, most Western European nations finally did away with their francs, marks, pesetas, and lire and finalized the adoption of a single European currency called the euro ( ). As of this writing, one euro equals about 1.15, and conversions in this guide were calculated at this exchange rate. Countries in this guide that use the euro include Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain. The United Kingdom (which includes Scotland) and Switzerland have not adopted the euro, and the Czech Republic, which joined the European Union (EU) in May 2004, has yet to jump the appropriate economic hurdles to be able to join the more exclusive club of the single currency zone (though of the ten new EU nations, it will likely be first in line to trade in its korun for euros sometime in the next few years).

Encashment Certificates

By law, all foreign currency must be changed at official moneychangers or banks. For every foreign exchange transaction, you will receive an encashment certificate, which will allow you to re-exchange rupees into foreign currency when departing India (see above). You'll need to have encashment certificates totalling the amount of rupees you intend changing back to foreign currency. Printed receipts from ATMs may also be accepted as evidence of an international transaction at some banks. Keep a few rupees handy until you fly - airport services are disproportionately expensive.

Consulates and embassies United States Embassy

Currency Italy said arrivederci to the lira in February 2002. Now, the euro is the official currency of Italy (and 12 other European Union members). Unfortunately, the changeover drove up prices all over the Continent. That, combined with the currently weak dollar, has made travel in Europe much more expensive than ever before. All price conversions in this guide are based on 1 US 1.25.

Useful Contacts Information

Universal Currency Converter - www.xe.com ucc. Relais Routiers - www.relais-routiers.com. An online directory of inexpensive restaurants near major routes. The site is in French but not too difficult to work out. Clicking on Choissisez Votre Relais Routiers in the middle of the page redirects you to an interactive page where you can choose the area you're interested in.

Making Sense of the Peso

The currency in Mexico is the Mexican peso, and in recent years, economists have been talking about its amazing recovery and resiliency against the U.S. dollar. At press time, each peso was worth close to 11 U.S. cents, which means that an item costing 11 pesos would be equivalent to US 1. Like most things in Mexico, the paper currency is colorful, and it comes in denominations of 20 (blue), 50 (pink), 100 (red), 200 (green), and 500 (burgundy) pesos. Coins come in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 pesos and 50 centavos (100 centavos equals 1 peso). All prices in this book are quoted in U.S. dollars. When you're in Mexico, you'll notice the common use of the currency symbol ( ), generally indicating the price in pesos. Go ahead and ask if you're not sure because some higher-end places do tend to price their goods in U.S. dollars. Often, if a price is quoted in U.S. dollars, the letters USD follow the price. The rate of exchange fluctuates a tiny bit daily, so you're probably better...

Conventions Used in This Book

In this book I use some standard terminology to help you access information quickly and easily. I give all prices in euros, the common European Union currency. The euro has held its strength relative to U.S. dollar, with the rate of exchange at 1 1.20 or even slightly higher. For last-minute updates on the exchange rate, please see one of the currency conversion tables in major newspapers or online (such as at http money.cnn. com markets currencies).

Choosing travelers checks or the green stuff

Traveler's checks are something of an anachronism from the days before the ATM. The only sound alternative to traveling with dangerously large amounts of cash, traveler's checks were as reliable as currency. Unlike personal checks or cash, traveler's checks could (and still can) be replaced if lost or stolen.

Foreign Currencies Vs The Us Dollar

Conversion ratios between the U.S. dollar and other currencies fluctuate, and their differences could affect the relative costs of your holiday. The figures reflected in the currency chart It's a good idea to exchange at least some money just enough to cover airport incidentals and transportation to your hotel before you leave home so you can avoid lines at airport ATMs. You can exchange money at your local American Express or Thomas Cook office or your bank. If you're far from a bank with currency-exchange services, American Express offers traveler's checks and foreign currency, though with a 15 order fee and additional shipping costs, at www.american express.com or 800 807-6233.

Whats New in Florence Tuscany Umbria

The only slightly smaller piece of news is not so good When Italy replaced the lira with the euro, the currency changeover brought a staggering degree of instant inflation. Tuscany, never all that cheap to begin with, has, along with the rest of Italy, seen a dramatic rise in prices since the euro debuted on January 1, 2002 we're talking anywhere from 15 to 100 on everything from groceries and bus tickets to hotel rooms, restaurants, and museum tickets. When coupled with the price hikes that came with the Jubilee celebrations in 2000, prices across the board have largely doubled, and in some cases tripled, in just 3 years. I kid you not.

Visitor Information Room Reservations

Www.edinburgh.org), in the Waverley Shopping Centre next to Waverley Station, can give you sightseeing information, exchange currency, and also book hotels in all price categories. The center sells bus tours and theater tickets as well. It's open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 6pm (to 7pm June-July and Sept, to 8pm Aug) and Sunday from 10am to 6pm (to 7pm June-July and Sept, to 8pm Aug). There's also an information and accommodations desk at Edinburgh Airport.

Nonalcoholic Drinks

The water in Zimbabwe is no longer safe to drink. As with basically every sector, a critical shortage of foreign currency has meant an inability to buy essential parts and chemicals to treat the water. The result was that in 2005-06, Harare faced a cholera outbreak that killed dozens of people.

Casa De La Moneda Map ppl

The national mint (literally the 'house of coin') is a collectors' treasure-trove of coins from Ancient Greece and Roman Spain and proceeds through the Byzantine, Visigothic and Islamic periods. The latter period is particularly well represented. Coins from the days of the Catholic Monarchs abound, and the collection continues through to the establishment of the peseta as the Spanish currency - only consigned to history by the introduction of the euro in 2002. Paper

Where To Stay In The Area

Because hotel prices are unusually high in the Balaton region, and since just about every local family rents out a room or two in summer, we especially recommend private rooms as the lodging of choice in this area. You can reserve a room through a local tourist office or you can just look for the ubiquitous szoba kiadd (or zimmer frei) signs that decorate most front gates in the region. When you take a room without using a tourist agency as the intermediary, prices are generally negotiable. (Owners sometimes prefer hard currency.) In the height of the season, you shouldn't have to pay more than 6,000 Ft ( 30 15) for a double room within reasonable proximity of the lake.

Great Britain Ireland

Great Britain is made up of England, Scotland, and Wales, three ancient kingdoms that are today part of the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland is the other member of the U.K.). Although it's the largest island in western Europe, seagirt Britain is a relatively small country, covering some 88,150 square miles (228,300 sq. km). Thanks to its history, landscape, and overall appeal, it consistently ranks among the top destinations for travelers the world over. Ireland, though it's a separate nation with different currency, laws, and even its own Gaelic language, has a history and geography that's closely interlinked with Great Britain, and it's a destination easily added to a tour of the British Isles.

Getting There Away By Plane

Beijing's Capital Airport (Shoudu Jichang information & 010 962-580 or 010 6457-1666, Mandarin only domestic ticketing & 010 6601-3336 international ticketing & 010 6601-6667), is 25km (16 miles) northeast of the city center. Arrivals are on the first floor departures are on the second. Change money at one of the handful of exchange counters on either floor upon arrival (open 24 hr.), as taxi drivers and shuttle buses will not accept foreign currency. There are also ATM and automatic exchange machines on both floors. Rates are the same across China, so get what you need now.

What You Can Bring Home

CASH CURRENCY The Republic of Ireland has adopted the single European currency known as the euro. In this volume, the sign symbolizes the euro. In converting prices to U.S. dollars, we used the rate 1 1.20. So far, the United Kingdom has resisted the euro and retained its traditional currency, the pound sterling, which continues to trade independently on the world currency market. Northern Ireland, as part of the United Kingdom, uses the British The British currency used in Northern Ireland has notes in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100. Coins are issued in 1, 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p, and 1p denominations.

Paradise for party animals and music lovers something for everybody

It's cheap here - it really is Let's agree that the currency of international night life is one beer. And even in Tallinn's most refined night establishments, one beer is at least twice as cheap as anywhere else in the northern hemisphere. And it is everywhere decanted half a litre at a time Estonians do not consider a smaller quantity

What You Can Bring In

Every visitor more than 21 years of age may bring in, free of duty, the following (1) 1 liter of wine or hard liquor (2) 200 cigarettes, 100 cigars (but not from Cuba), or 3 pounds of smoking tobacco and (3) 100 worth of gifts. These exemptions are offered to travelers who spend at least 72 hours in the United States and who have not claimed them within the preceding 6 months. It is altogether forbidden to bring into the country foodstuffs (particularly fruit, cooked meats, and canned goods) and plants (vegetables, seeds, tropical plants, and the like). Foreign tourists may bring in or take out up to 10,000 in U.S. or foreign currency with no formalities larger sums must be declared to U.S. Customs on entering or leaving, which includes filing form CM 4790. For more specific information regarding U.S. Customs, contact your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, or the U.S. Customs office (& 202 927-1770 or www.customs. ustreas.gov).

You Dont Have to Take Flight to Earn Miles

The secret is out Even though major airlines have lost tens of billions of dollars since the turn of this century, one component of their business is consistently profitable the sale of frequent flyer miles. The options for earning frequent flyer miles have soared over the past decade, as the major U.S. airlines have sought new revenue streams. It has even been proposed that frequent flyer miles constitute the second currency of the United States For airlines, selling miles to companies for distribution to customers and employees has been a revenue bonanza. They receive payment far in advance of the free trips being redeemed, often for frequent flyer miles that are never even used.

Whats up with the euro

Europe's common currency, the euro, isn't used in Scotland. Why not Well, a huge debate once raged among U.K. politicians and people over trading the pound for the euro. After the Labour Party government was elected in 1997, it waffled politically and only confused the issue by introducing some spurious economic hurdles. The party's main opposition, the Conservatives, have opposed dumping the pound for over 25 years. Increasingly many people doubt that the euro will ever be used officially. An independent Scotland would probably accept the euro more quickly than the U.K. as a whole, but nobody expects full Scottish autonomy anytime soon. Keep in mind that when you use your credit card abroad, banks may assess a 2 percent fee above the 1 percent fee charged by Visa, MasterCard, or American Express for currency conversion on credit charges. But credit cards still can be the smartest way to go when you factor in things such as exorbitant ATM fees and high traveler's check exchange rates...

Tourist facilities and services

Foreign currencies can be exchanged at commercial banks and at authorised bureaux de change. The US dollar is the currency most widely accepted. Credit cards are accepted in some of the larger hotels in Bishkek and can also be used at banks to withdraw cash from the counter.

Charging ahead with credit cards

Keep in mind that when you use your credit card abroad, most banks assess a 2 percent fee above the 1 percent fee charged by Visa, MasterCard, or American Express for currency conversion on credit charges. But credit cards still may be the smart way to go when you factor in things like exorbitant ATM fees and higher traveler's check exchange rates (and service fees). American Express and Diners Club are not widely accepted at small r f restaurants, shops, and budget hotels in France. And many credit-card jLJ companies now tack on additional fees for foreign currency transactions sometimes up to 4 percent on top of the 1 percent service charge they already take. Worse, according to Lee Dembart, a writer for the International Herald Tribune, credit-card companies don't expect you to notice the charge. Recognizing the additional fee requires that the consumer know what the exchange rate was on the day the charge came through and then do the math, he writes, steps most people don't take....

The Monti Lucretili And The Saltq Cicqlanq

Because of its resistance and adaptability, spelt is one of the most ancient cereals its cultivation dates to at least 7000 BC and its land of origin seems to be Palestine. Common in ancient Egypt, quoted in the works of Homer, it was greatly valued also by the ancient Romans who used it as exchange currency . The spelt from the Monti Lucretili is a typical product of Lazio, recognized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. In the larger varieties it is the basic ingredient of many local recipes, such as spelt tarts with almond flakes and pine-nuts, different types of pasta, including tagliatelle and stortini, and healthy soups.

Internet resources

The internet is a rich resource for travellers and the following websites offer handy tips for those travelling in Europe. Travel booking websites are listed on pl202. Country-specific websites are in the relevant chapter. Budget Traveller's Guide to Sleeping in Airports (www.sleepinginairports.net) Funny and useful resource for backpackers flying stand-by. Currency Conversions (www.xe.net ucc) Up-to-the-second exchange rates for hundreds of currencies. Guide for Europe (www.guldeforeurope.com) With a handy hostel review page posted by visitors. Hostel World (www.hostelworld.com) Also handy for other travellers' views on hostels. LonelyPlanet.com (www.lonelyplanet.com) Share the experience of other travellers and ask for their advice. Money Saving Expert (www.moneysavingexpert. com) Excellent tips on the best UK travel Insurance, mobile phones and bank cards to use abroad. The Fllghtchecker facility shows the latest cheap flights available. The Man in Seat 61 (www.seat61.com) A...

The Ethiopia Eritrea

Despite being friends who fought together against the Derg for over a decade, Meles Zenawi and Eritrea's President Isaias soon clashed. Bickering over Eritrea's exchange-rate system for their new currency led to Eritrea occupying the border town of Badme in 1998. Soon full-scale military conflict broke out, leaving tens of thousands dead on both sides before ceasing in mid-2000. The settlement included the installation of an OAU-UN buffer zone on Eritrean soil.

Environmental Issues

During the 1970s and 1980s, many Zambian parks were effectively abandoned and poaching became a major problem. Then, under pressure from international conservation organisations, the government slowly realised that tourism was a major source of foreign currency for the government (and local people) - and that this depended on healthy national parks. Despite successes in some parks, notably South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi and Mosi-oa-Tunya National Parks, poaching and poor management remain major problems. And the detrimental impact of tourism is obvious along the Zambezi River (particularly near Victoria Falls), where lodges continue to be built unabated and dozens of cruise boats shuttle along every day looking for the diminishing wildlife.

Increasing Taxes Tensions

Despite tragic experiments with one-party socialism in neighbouring countries, President Mugabe's Marxist dream remained alive. In 1988 the abolition of the law that guaranteed 20 parliamentary seats to whites, and the imposition of strict controls on currency, foreign exchange and trade, were steps in this direction. In 1980 US 1 was worth ZW 1.50. By 1990, after 10 very successful years of independence, the Zimbabwe dollar was still very strong against the world's major currencies and one of the healthiest in Africa. (US 1 was worth ZW 2.60). In July 2006, the parallel (or market rate) was US 1 to ZW 400,000 and the biggest bank note was ZW 100,000 note (or 25 cents). That same month the government changed currencies, lopping three zeroes from the old currency and introducing a new set of notes. Today there is a new ZW 100,000 note (formerly worth ZW 100,000,000) which, officially, at the time of writing was worth a whopping US 400. Beware of counterfeiters -it's suddenly super...

Tips Train Booking Simplified

Even though you will be told that there are no special lines or windows for foreigners who want to book train tickets, we assure you that this is not the case. More important, most trains have a quota of seats specifically for foreigners. This means that even if a train is completely booked up, as a foreigner you may be able to get a seat, unless other foreigners booking through the same service have already filled the seat quota. This is valuable information to keep in mind, because an agent cannot book a seat for you on this quota, nor can this be booked from the regular booking window you must go personally to a Foreign Tourist Rail Reservation Counter (sometimes called Foreign Tourist Bureaus) with your passport, and pay either in foreign currency (cash or credit card) or show a currency encashment certificate or ATM receipt. The ticket costs exactly the same as the regular ticket (except for credit card surcharges). Train stations at the following Indian cities have a Foreign...

Exchanging Money at the Best Rate

In each destination chapter in this book, I give you the exchange rate for that country in the Fast Facts section. Although currency conversions in this guide are accurate as of this writing, European exchange rates fluctuate constantly. For up-to-date rates, look in the business pages or travel section of any major U.S. newspaper, and check online at the Oanda Classic Currency Converter (www.oanda.com).

Hikes in the hilts from Grindelwald

Currency Switzerland has so far opted out of adopting the euro. The basic unit of currency is the Swiss franc (I abbreviate it SF, though sometimes you'll see it as CHF), which is composed of 100 centimes. At press time, the rate of exchange, and the one used throughout this chapter, was 1 1.27SF, or 1SF 79e.

Customs Requirements What You Can Bring In

Every visitor over 21 years of age may bring in, free of duty, the following (1) 1 liter of beer, wine, or hard liquor (2) 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars (but not from Cuba an additional 100 cigars may be brought in under your gift exemption), or 4.4 pounds (2kg) of smoking tobacco and (3) 100 worth of gifts. These exemptions are offered to travelers who spend at least 72 hours in the United States and who have not claimed them within the preceding 6 months. Meat (with the exception of some canned meat products) is prohibited, as are most fruits, vegetables, and plants (including seeds, tropical plants, and the like). Foreign tourists may bring in or take out up to 10,000 in U.S. or foreign currency with no formalities larger sums must be declared to U.S. Customs on entering or leaving, which includes filing form The duty-free allowance for New Zealand is NZ 700. Citizens over 17 can bring in 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, or 250 grams of tobacco (or a mixture of all 3 if their combined weight...

Using ATMs and carrying cash

Money makes the world go 'round, but dealing with an unfamiliar currency can make your head spin just as fast. When it comes to getting cash in France, you're probably wondering whether you should bring traveler's checks or use ATMs, or how easy it is to pay with a credit card. The answers are in this section.

Local Lore The Resplendent Quetzal

Even today, quetzals are regarded in Central America as a symbol of freedom, and it's commonly believed that they cannot survive if held in captivity. In Guatemala, the quetzal is the national bird, and its image is still depicted on the currency. And in Panama, the quetzal is something of a legend as birders from far and wide continue to brave the elements for the chance to see the most famous bird in Central America.

Tunope S Cousin Once Removed

Next, revisit the Soviet era by visiting Transdniestr (p323), a country that doesn't officially exist but which has its own currency, hymn and flag, and lots of men in uniform running around. To wind down, spend at least two days happily floating along the Wine Route (p317) in some of the continent's largest wine cellars, sampling what made Moldova famous throughout the USSR.

Fast Facts Great Britain

Currency Britain's decimal monetary system is based on the pound ( ), which is made up of 100 pence (written as p ). The exchange rate used in this chapter is 1 1.90, though fluctuations are constant. Currency exchange services can be found in railway stations, at most post offices, and in many tourist information centers.

Bring Your Own Vehicle

Temporary import permits (TIP, about US 2) and third-party insurance (US 23 to US 31 for 30 days, depending on vehicle size trailers from US 12) are available at most land borders, and you'll be required to show the paperwork at all checkpoints (and will be fined if you can't produce it). Fees can be paid in meticais, US dollars or the local currency of the country you are leaving. As some smaller border posts don't always issue third-party insurance, it's worth arranging this in advance with your local automobile association if planning to enter Mozambique via an out-of-the way routing. If you find yourself in Mozambique without it, contact Hollard Seguros ( 21-313114 www.hollard.co.za) to help you sort it out.

Bringing Your Own Vehicle

Temporary import permits (TIP, about US 2) and third-party insurance (US 23 to US 31 for 30 days trailers from US 12) are available at most land borders, and you'll be need to show the paperwork at all checkpoints (and will be fined if you can't produce it). Fees can be paid in meticais, dollars or the local currency of the country you are leaving. As some smaller border posts don't always issue third-party insurance, it's worth arranging this with your local automobile association if planning to enter Mozambique via an out-of-the way routing. If you find yourself in Mozambique without it, try contacting Hollard Seguros ( 21-313114 www.hollard.co.za) to help you sort it out.

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

State Bank of Travancore (S 10am-3.30pm Mon-Fri, to 12.30pm Sat) Changes travellers cheques and currency the ATM accepts foreign cards. Wildlife Information Centre ( 222028 S 6am-6pm) Above the boat jetty in Thekkady. Wildlife Interpretation Centre (S 7.30am-7.30pm) This excellent centre at Spice Village (see p998) has a resident naturalist showing slides between 7.30pm and 9.30pm and answering questions about the park. Guests and diners at its restaurant can attend free of charge.

The Oldest Golf Course

Jachymov - the name of this medieval mining town, once the largest producer of silver in the whole of Europe, conceals the name of the American currency. The town's ancient name Joachimstal first appeared in the word thaler (a silver coin), and later also in the name American dollar.

Book online Handy and free

Currency Local currency Monday-Friday 10am-4pm. Thursday 10am-6pm. 24-hour open cash machines are available in Copenhagen for the exchange of U.S. dollars and other cash currencies. Many airport, harbor and railway station branches stay open longer hours for exchange of currency. These hours have minor local variations. Currency

Phone Calls From The Ship

On some pay phones in Europe you can drop in a coin (in the local currency) to connect to your local access number, but others require the use of prepaid phone cards (not coins). In either case, you usually can't just pick up the receiver and dial the local number for your phone service, even if that number is tollfree. If the phone requires a prepaid card, you can buy one at a newsstand or tobacco shop. If you are using the prepaid card just to connect to your phone service's local number, buy the card in the smallest denomination available.

The Weimar Republic the Nazi

The Weimar Republic had to deal with runaway inflation as an immediate result of the war and the high war reparations. The price of bread increased from 1 mark in December 1919 to 3.90 marks two years later. In December 1922, a loaf of bread cost 163 marks, and a year later 399,000,000,000 marks. At one stage, workers were paid daily by the wheelbarrow load and then ran to shops as the value of the currency would drop too much when walking

What You Can Bring Into Las Vegas

Not claimed them within the preceding 6 months. It is forbidden to bring into the country foodstuffs (particularly fruit, cooked meats, and canned goods) and plants (vegetables, seeds, tropical plants, and the like). Foreign tourists may carry in or out up to 10,000 in currency with no formalities larger sums must be declared to U.S. Customs on entering or leaving. For details regarding U.S. Customs and Border Protection, consult a U.S. embassy or consulate, or U.S. Customs (& 202 927-1770 www.customs. ustreas.gov).

Jips In Case of Emergency

You'll find automated teller machines (ATMs) are easily found in U.S. cities. Some ATMs allow you to draw U.S. currency against your bank and credit cards. Check with your bank before leaving home, and remember that you need your personal identification number (PIN) to do so. Most ATMs accept Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, as

Planning Your Trip to England

In Chapter 5, I get into the nitty-gritty of money. You have to deal with British money every day of your trip, so this chapter tells you all about pounds and pence. Any traveler who's trying to come up with a workable budget needs to have a general idea of what things currently cost. I also include useful information on changing your home currency into pounds and pence and provide plenty of practical info on using ATMs and credit cards while in England.

Staying Healthy General Availability Of Healthcare

Cash is the prevalent means of paying in Dubai, although credit and debit cards are widely accepted. This is the case just about everywhere except in the souks. ATMs are prevalent throughout the city, available not just in banks but in many supermarkets and shopping centers, as well. Most accept a wide range of cards, including those linked to the Plus system, American Express, Global Access, MasterCard, and Visa. Currency and traveler's check exchange is possible in most banks, exchange houses, and many hotels.

Fast Facts Liechtenstein

Currency The Swiss franc is legal tender in Liechtenstein the exchange rate is the same as in Switzerland (see Money in chapter 2). Documents Required All travel documents recognized by Swiss authorities are valid in Liechtenstein. However, you'll encounter the formalities of any Western European border crossing if you enter through Austria.

ToFrom the Sea Passenger Terminal

As at the airport, there's a taxi information kiosk on Pinto Wharf where you organise and pay the set rate for your taxi journey upfront. The cheapest fare (to an address in Valletta or Floriana) is a ridiculously overpriced Lm4. The karrozzin (traditional horse-drawn carriage) drivers loitering here will charge considerably more (there are plenty of reports of newly arrived tourists, unfamiliar with the local currency, paying extortionate prices).

Handicrafts Art Textiles Antiques Fibre Fabric Map p Ban Wat Nong

Pathana Boupha Antique House (Map p136 212262 29 4 Ban Visoun) In an impressive old French mansion, Pathana Boupha carries antique statuary, jewellery, silverwork, Royal Lao government currency and old photos, mostiy from the Lao owners' private collection. It also sells high-quality textiles from various ethnic groups. The late patriarch designed many of the costumes and ornaments used in the former Royal Palace.

Pentecost Ambae Maewo

Dances in this region are great fun, with feathers, exotic headgear, and fange-Xxee seeds that make rhythmic rattles. Penama Day is celebrated on 15 September, with kastom dances and feasts. Small red pandanus mats are still worn in kastom villages, and are used in ceremonial dances, as currency, as presents at births or funerals and when grades are taken.

What You Can Take Home From Portugal

There are no limits on foreign currency brought into Portugal, but visitors are advised to declare the amount The duty-free allowance for New Zealand is NZ 700. Citizens over 17 can bring in 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, or 250 grams of tobacco (or a mixture of all 3 if their combined weight doesn't exceed 250g), plus 4.5 liters of wine and beer, or 1.125 mililiters of liquor. New Zealand currency does not carry import or export restrictions. Fill out a certificate of export listing the valuables you are taking out of the country that way, you can bring them back without paying duty. Most questions are answered in a free pamphlet available at New Zealand consulates and Customs offices New Zealand Customs Guide for Travelers, Notice no. 4. For more information, contact New Zealand Customs, The Customhouse, 17-21 Whitmore St., Box 2218, Wellington (& 04 473-6099 or 0800 428-786 in New Zealand www.customs.govt.nz). carried. That proves to the Portuguese Customs Office that the currency came...

What You Can Take Home

The duty-free allowance for New Zealand is NZ 700. Citizens over 17 can bring in 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, or 250 grams of tobacco (or a mixture of all three if their combined weight doesn't exceed 250g) plus 4.5 liters of wine and beer, or 1.125 liters of liquor. New Zealand currency does not carry import or export restrictions. Fill out a certificate of export listing the valuables you are taking out of the country that way, you can bring them back without paying duty. Most questions are answered in a free pamphlet available at New Zealand consulates and Customs offices New Zealand Customs Guide for Travellers, Notice no. 4. For more information, contact New Zealand Customs, The Customhouse, 17-21 Whitmore St., Box 2218, Wellington (& 0800 428-786 or 04 473-6099 www.customs.govt.nz).

Hotel Pricing Chart

AUTHOR TIP The smaller hotels, especially those in the more remote areas, will only deal in local currency. They do no accept credit cards and if you insist on paying with American dollars your rate of exchange will be lousy. If you plan to travel to the more remote areas, bring small denominations of quetzals. Reservations are not needed for the most part unless you are planning to travel during

Where To Eat Drink On the Trains

The dining cars are changed at each country's border, so en route to Beijing you will get Russian, Chinese and possibly Mongolian menus (although it's unlikely there'll be a car attached between the Russian border and Ulaanbaatar). A meal with accompanying drink will rarely cost above US 10 paid in local currency. Dining cars are open from approximately 9am to 9pm local time, although this is by no means certain and with the time-zone differences knowing when to turn up can be a constant guessing game.

Mafia Island Marine Park

Entry into the marine park area (payable by everyone, whether you dive or not) costs US510 5 per adult child per day. The fees are collected at a barrier gate across the main road about 1km before Utende, and can be paid in any major currency, cash. Save your receipt, as it's checked again when you leave. The park office (240 2690) is in Utende near Pole Pole Resort.

Destination Madagascar Comoros

All this forms the backdrop to a country striving to shake off a French colonial legacy under the leadership of a sharp-suited yogurt baron named Marc Ravalomanana. Since independence, Madagascar has struggled under one incompetent and corrupt government after another it is still one of the poorest countries in the world. President Ravalomanana's tenure began in 2002 with a controversial election win that left his opponents smarting. But so far the new boy has been as good as his word he has repaired the main highways and introduced a new currency his expansion of Madagascar's national park system has been met with worldwide approval and Unesco granted the country a third World Heritage site in 2006. Growing confidence in the economy has seen 20 billion wiped from Madagascar's foreign debt by the World Bank.

Hill Tribes Of The Nilgiri

The Toda tribe lived on the western plateau in the area now called Ooty. Their social, economic and spiritual system centred on the buffalo. The produce derived from the buffalo (mainly milk and ghee) was integral to their diet and it was used as currency - in exchange for grain, tools, pots and even medical services. Most importantly, the dairy produce provided offerings to the gods as well as fuel for the funeral pyre. It was only at the ritual for human death that the strictly vegetarian Toda killed a buffalo, and they killed not for food but to provide company for the deceased. Other traditional customs that continue today include the division of labour men care for the buffaloes and women embroider shawls used for ritual, as well as practical purposes. Today, only about 1500 Toda remain.

Whats New in Portugal

As Portugal moves deeper into a new century with a new currency, the landscape is forever changing, although the old-fashioned traditions such as handcrafts and architecture remain to delight new visitors every year. Experiencing the greatest changes are Lisbon, the Costa do Sol (Estoril and Cascais), the emerging city of Porto, and the forever volatile Algarve, the beachfront strip along the southern coast. Here are some major developments that could have an impact on your trip. LISBON ACCOMMODATIONS In the heart of Lisbon, VIP Eden (Lisbon & 21 321-66-00) has opened and has won architectural awards for its recycling of an Art Deco landmark, the Eden Theatre. Now converted to a sleek new 134-room apartment house, it offers suitelike living arrangements complete with fully equipped kitchenettes ideal for families. Even bigger excitement is being generated by the opening of the 14-room Solar do Castelo (Lisbon & 21 887-09-09) within the walls of St. George's Castle, crowning the Alfama...

Economic Political Crisis

One of Mahathir's key economic policies was Wawasan 2020 (Vision 2020), 2020 being the date by which the country would be developed into the hi-tech economic tiger of Southeast Asia. A key part of this vision was the so-called Multimedia Super Corridor linking the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur to the nascent cybercities of Putrajaya (pi28) and Cyberjaya. However, in 1997, after a decade of near constant 10 growth, Malaysia was dragged into the currency crisis that had started in Thailand and spread throughout the region.

What You Can Take Home From Switzerland

The duty-free allowance for New Zealand is NZ 700. Citizens over 17 can bring in 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, or 250 grams of tobacco (or a mixture of all three if their combined weight doesn't exceed 250g) plus 4.5 liters of wine and beer, or 1.125 ML of liquor. New Zealand currency does not carry import or export restrictions. Fill out a certificate of export, listing the valuables you are taking out of the country For American Readers At this writing, 1 approximately 1.35 Swiss francs (or 1F approximately 74i), and this was the rate of exchange used to calculate the dollar values given in this guidebook. For British Readers At this writing, 1 approximately 2.17 British pounds (or 1F approximately 46 pence), and this was the rate of exchange used to calculate the pound values in the chart below. Regarding the euro Despite the willingness of many countries within Europe to adopt the euro as their currency of choice, Switzerland, at press time, remained resolutely committed to...

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