Eli Orzessek is Travel's Digital Content Producer.

Ask Away: Always carry a bit of local currency

Our online guru Eli Orzessek answers your travel questions.
Free in-flight wi-fi is becoming more common with airlines. Photo / 123RF
Free in-flight wi-fi is becoming more common with airlines. Photo / 123RF

We are travelling to various parts of Africa, some more developed than others, and are wondering what is the best way to carry our money.

Our bank has said debit cards aren't valid anywhere in Africa. Will our eftpos cards work over there or are we better off to load up our credit cards and use them like cashflow cards? Although I imagine this will incur crippling exchange rate charges.


You are correct that debit cards or eftpos cards won't be an option in Africa. I asked Rob Keating at World Expeditions and he recommends using a Cirrus credit card - it's an interbank network of over a million ATMs in 93 countries. However, it's also a good idea to carry small amounts of local currency, in the unfortunate event that your card gets lost or stolen.

Remember to withdraw cash when you're in big cities or airports, as smaller locations might not have the facilities available.

I read in the news recently that Qantas is going to offer free in-flight wi-fi. I mostly fly with Air NZ and I was wondering if they had any plans to offer this kind of service?


I got in touch with Air New Zealand and it seems like the wheels are in motion. A spokesperson for the airline responded: "Air New Zealand continues to significantly invest in the customer experience and we are currently investigating options for inflight wifi and onboard connectivity for our long-haul fleet."

However, I still enjoy being forced to stay off the internet for the duration of a flight. I'm so distracted by social media on my phone that I only seem to be able to concentrate on a movie if I'm on a plane! Sad, but true.

I attempted to use Emirates' free wi-fi on a flight to Sydney last year, but so many people were trying to use it at once that I couldn't even get the speed to send out a tweet saying, "I'm on the internet on a plane". So even if it's available, it can get so slow that it's barely worth bothering.

We're going to be in the UK from June 15 to July 20, starting in Dover and returning the car to Heathrow. We're wondering about the cheapest way to hire a car for a month or more. Can you recommend any companies? And can we get any sort of senior citizen discount?

I talked to my contact at House of Travel for this one, as they work with a lot of rental car providers in the UK. Based on the information you've provided, they'd recommend DriveAway Holidays. DriveAway have itineraries based on where you want to travel and also offer a senior citizen discount. They'll help you brush up on the UK road rules, tolls, insurance and petrol prices.

Or if you're more keen on a New Zealand brand, they also recommend Ace or Apex. When you're booking your rental, be sure to pay close attention to the inclusions as part of your hire agreement, as this could make or break the ease of your transport around the UK. Have a great trip and stay safe on the roads.

Tweet us @NZHTravel or use the hashtag #NZHAskAway

Email your questions to askaway@nzherald.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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