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First business trip to London - Page 2

post #16 of 36
Here is the official VISA Exchange Rate:
http://www.corporate.visa.com/pd/consumer_ex_rates.jsp

Check with your Bank or CC for bank fees. It is usually (but not always) cheaper than to change at a Bureau de Change.
There is no such thing as a free lunch.
post #17 of 36
I suppose it just depends. On my last trip to the UK, I purchased an item that was 100 GBP when the exchange rate was 1.91 and it cost me $191. I'm not sure if MBNA absorbed the 1% charge or if the exchange rate was favorable enough to absorb the difference. For reference, I received money from an ATM during the trip in question and the exchange rate was 1.92 USD/GBP.

Don't forget to submit your paperwork to get your GST back if you make sufficient purchases.
post #18 of 36
Good advice all round on changing money.

For transport, you need to get an Oyster card for the Tube and buses. You will need to put down a GBP 3 deposit for the card, but it will make all of you travel MUCH cheaper. The pricing structure for public transport changed this year essentially to force people to prepay with one of these cards by making individual tickets prohibitively expensive.

Also, be prepared for everything in London to be expensive. Hope you have a generous expense account.
post #19 of 36
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for your help I'll be there about a week, so I'll take advantage of the weekly pass. And you're not kidding about things being expensive. I was researching prices on stuff in the UK, and I might not be doing as much shopping as I originally hoped. Still, should be a fun experience nonetheless.
post #20 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by boo
Thanks all for your help I'll be there about a week, so I'll take advantage of the weekly pass. And you're not kidding about things being expensive. I was researching prices on stuff in the UK, and I might not be doing as much shopping as I originally hoped. Still, should be a fun experience nonetheless.

Shopping is not cheap, but on certain purchases you can get your tax back

Food and drink varies as much as it does in the US. You can get cheap pints in dive pubs or pay 10 pounds plus for cocktails in town.

I know its cheesy, but I think a pub lunch with a couple of pints is one of the most satisfying things and can weigh in at pretty cheap.

But if you are on business, it's expense account time!!!

K

K
post #21 of 36
Ohhh, check your cell phone coverage and phone model to make sure that both work in Europe. Tri band phone, coresponding service, etc... Phone or charger should be dual voltage

Your laptop should also be dual voltage, should just need an adapter. Check to be safe.

If you need an adapter, you can pick them up at the airport or even at Walmart. I have a stack of "American Traveler" voltage converters. I buy cheap ones because I lose them.

Watch your pockets on the tube and if you roll into town. In the summer Oxford St, Regent St, etc are like cattle herds. Its easy to "lose" something. Likewise, dont flash your laptop or wallet or phone around. There is a rising spate of smacking people over the head and snatching their phone while they are talking. Saw it happen in SoHo a couple of months ago.

Last, dont get happy slapped!!

K
post #22 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradford
Remember that traffic comes from the opposite direction in London. So when you think you've looked both ways before crossing the street - look again. Americans tend to look left, right, left and then step - the problem is in England, the traffic comes from the right
Saw an American (well, his crying wife was certainly American) who seemed to have made that easily made mistake just Friday afternoon in London. Ambulances, blood, limbs in odd angles. Take the advice above seriously; I've had a few close calls on this account in London myself.
post #23 of 36
You mentioned your cell phone charger. Are you sure your cell phone will work in London?
post #24 of 36
I know some US GSM phones will work there, if you change the network selection, and if they're compatible with T-mobile. I know T-mobile's cost for using your phone overseas is prohibitive though, $0.40 per minute or something like that. When I was in Europe for an extended time I purchased an Austrian T-mobile SIM and it was like $0.15 to use it anywhere in Europe for the most part. I could even use my phone in the Canary Islands
post #25 of 36
ATM's, or if you are changing cash, try 'Marks & Spencer' (High St Dept Store), commission free and respecable rates.

DO NOT use 'Travelex' or any of the Airport exchanges, as they will 'rape' you on the rate.

Do you require any info on Bars/Restaurants?
post #26 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky Strike
Saw an American (well, his crying wife was certainly American) who seemed to have made that easily made mistake just Friday afternoon in London. Ambulances, blood, limbs in odd angles. Take the advice above seriously; I've had a few close calls on this account in London myself.

Though it's not a pleasant thing to see humor in, this reminds me of a funny story. I was viewing a flat with an agent, and I asked, what the main disadvantages of this flat are, he says to me;

"Well, you're pretty close to the A4"
"I'd say that's an advantage, though, I can get out of London quickly."
"Yes, most of the time, but every so often, an American tries to cross it during Friday rush hour (the A4, and this was quite a high speed and busy section of it) but looks the wrong way"
"I don't quite follow."
"Well, they look the wrong way, and next thing they know, they're shaking hands with a man with a white beard up in the clouds."
"I got that; but I still don't see the disadvantage"
"Well, ambulances come, the A4 is closed, and Marloes Road (the street on whence the flat was) is the only way through. So it gets jam packed."

It turned out I didn't buy that flat, not for that reason though. Rather, I felt Kensington was too far out; I chose Belgravia instead.
post #27 of 36
yes, lakshmi. aren't you busy trying to buy arcelor though?
post #28 of 36
Thread Starter 
I'll probably get some cash to tide me over until I reach my hotel, and use the ATM from there. Will definitely keep in mind re: walking across the street. I have a good health plan, but I'd rather not put it to the test. I've verified my cell phone will work on European bands, but for $.99/minute plus international long distance charges if I call a UK number. I'll look into pre-paid sim cards, and I'm pretty sure my phone is unlocked.

Any info on suggested bars or restaurants would be appreciated. I've always wanted to do the pub with fish & chips routine. I'm staying at the St. Martin's Lane hotel to give perspective on what part of London I'll be in.
post #29 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Luc-Emmanuel
yes, lakshmi. aren't you busy trying to buy arcelor though?
Lakshmi Mittal does not go for 2 bedroom flats, even if they are in Kensington
post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by boo
I'll probably get some cash to tide me over until I reach my hotel, and use the ATM from there. Will definitely keep in mind re: walking across the street. I have a good health plan, but I'd rather not put it to the test. I've verified my cell phone will work on European bands, but for $.99/minute plus international long distance charges if I call a UK number. I'll look into pre-paid sim cards, and I'm pretty sure my phone is unlocked.

Any info on suggested bars or restaurants would be appreciated. I've always wanted to do the pub with fish & chips routine. I'm staying at the St. Martin's Lane hotel to give perspective on what part of London I'll be in.


that's a nice part of town. I like eat in china town at least one night when I am in london, and you are not far. poon and Co. is very good, as is a little hole in the wall called "Canton" - there is a very british take on chinese food. I would suggest the crispy spicy beef, and the crispy duck, both very good and very specific to the UK in style.

I have't had fish and chips in that part of town - although there are plenty of fish and chip shops about. if you get into the financial center, there is a pub called "the poet" (actually 2 pubs very near by each other, I believe that the full name is the "water poet") that do pretty good fish and chips.

have fun
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