Money advice - Riga

Credit cards are an increasingly accepted form of payment in Riga, although their acceptance is not ubiquitous. In addition there have been some instances of less reputable restaurants and shops stealing customers' details for the purposes of fraud. Best just to whip out your flexible friend in professional establishments and big brand shops. Outside Riga you may find it's hard cash only.

Since 1993 the Latvian national currencey has been the aptly-named Lat. The Lat has the enormous advantage for British tourists of not only being an easy name to remember and pronounce, but for also being almost exactly equal to one pound sterling, thus vastly reducing the time spent calculating how much the last round cost you. Of course the downside ergo is that the Lat is not monopoly money to be thrown around like the Vietnamese Dong. Spend wisely or incur the wrath of your bank manager! There are 100 Santimes to every Lat.

ATMS (Cash Machines)

ATMs are a common sight in Riga and you won't need a pair of binoculars and camouflage hat to find them. Having said that, venture outside the modern metropolis and into the surrounding backwaters and your piece of plastic will be as much use as sun lotion in Scotland. Stock up on Lats in the city if you're making a daytrip.

Travellers Cheques

Travellers' cheques? Get with the times! If you do insist on bringing travellers' cheques then you should be aware that most traders will not accept them as payment and banks usually charge 4 percent to cash them.

Bureaux de Change

There are plenty of bureaux de change in Riga, including at the airport, and in most large banks. As in most citys the most prominently placed don't always offer the best rates, so if you want to save a few Santimes then shop around.

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