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Foreign currencies  

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There are many different currencies in use around the world. The amount of foreign currency that your British pound will buy is determined by the current rate of exchange. Exchange rates can rise or fall from day to day according to changing economic circumstances.

Getting foreign currency

You can change your British pounds for the desired currency at some travel agents, at a Bureau de Change in airports and ferry terminals, on ships and at banks or some Post Offices. Not all currency exchange places will be able to supply you with coins in the currency you want, so it is worth checking if you will need coins for things like road tolls and luggage trollies when you arrive in another country.

Most frequently requested currencies (countries in the euro area and other short haul holiday destinations) are usually kept in stock, but for large amounts or currencies from countries farther afield, you will probably need to place an oder in advance of your trip.
The euro

Euro notes and coins have completely replaced the old national currencies in all transactions in the 13 countries that make up the 'euro area'.

The countries of the euro area are Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Slovenia. The currency came into effect on 1 January 2002. The UK, Denmark and Sweden are not part of the euro area.

There are seven banknotes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euro. There are eight coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent; and 1 and 2 euro. One euro is equivalent to 100 cents.

Euro notes are the same in all countries in the euro area. The coins are the same on one side and have a national symbol on the other. Any country's coins can be used anywhere else in the euro area (for example, you can use a Spanish 2 euro coin to buy goods in France).


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