Sunday, 28 June 2015

What to do with unused currency.

Now that I have returned from my annual holiday to Spain I have the usual problem of what to do with my unused currency.

The best thing to do is keep it for your next trip and when I was in a position to travel more regularly than I currently do, this was my default position.

However, this is not an option for everyone, or me now, so what to do?

I have €290, plus change, to convert back.  

If I was to buy €290 today, it would cost me £212 (courtesy of the Post Office Travel Currency website), however changing it back would only net me £181, a difference of over £30, and this is pretty much the norm for all tourist exchanges.

Most of these High Street exchanges highlight the fact that they charge no commission, (years ago there used to be a commission charge of around 2% to change money back, but the rates received were higher), however, using a buy back rate that is 15% lower than their selling rate appears to me to be a commission by another name.

Another option is to sell the currency onto any friends and family who are going away.  This works better if the exchange rate has dropped slightly since the original purchase, if it has gone up then they would get a better deal with a fresh exchange.

In the past I have sold my Euros on eBay, but their fees were much less in those days.

The option I am considering this year is to use a specialist currency buy back operator, the drawback with this is that Euros would need to be posted, obviously by an insured route.  At today's buy back rate, my €290 would net me £204, less the cost of the postage.  This is clearly much better than using a normal exchange.

It would be so much easier if all UK personal bank accounts accepted both sterling and foreign currencies with no additional charges.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Dinosaur Adventure, Lenwade, Norfolk.

I spent Saturday morning walking around Dinosaur Adventure in Norfolk in glorious sunshine.

There is plenty of parking, although a lot of it is on grass, so if visiting after heavy rain, try and get there early!

There were two payment windows open and quite a queue forming, but a third window was quickly opened and the queue soon dealt with.  This is definitely the first place I have visited where the entrance price is less for adults than for children.  I liked that.

Buying my ticket on the day, I paid £11.95, booking online is slightly cheaper at £11.35, with a child's ticket costing £16.10 (under 3s go free).

Importantly, when travelling with children, there are plenty of places to eat and plenty of toilets dotted around the park.

As it was half term week when I visited, there were special events being held, including 'Guinea Pig Petting & Meet a Bunny', 'Snake Encounters' and 'Tortoise Time'.  The park is home to small animals as well as big dinosaurs, including a Norfolk Black turkey who sneezed every time I walked past.

There is only one animatronic dinosaur, although roars can be heard across the park from hidden speakers.  Quite eerie when walking under a huge canopy of trees.

There are other activities available at an extra cost, the Jurassic Skywire, the Deer Safari and face-painting.

The park is non-smoking, although there are designated smoking areas dotted around.

The park is on a hillside, some of the paths are quite steep which may pose a problem for anyone with problems walking.  Wheelchairs can be hired.

If you are in the area and have a budding Alan Grant or Ellie Sattler in the family, it is well worth a visit.