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Old 06-05-2015, 10:38 AM
 
2,143 posts, read 3,558,484 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachmouse View Post
You can cut costs in London a fair amount if you work it. A sandwich-fries-small soft drink or beer combo at a typical London chain pub will run you about six pounds (ie. about what it would cost in the States since you don't tip when you order at the counter and prices are VAT-included). You can plan out museums and other attractions so you're clustering the pay ones on the same days and using London Pass, and then saving the large number of free ones for days before or after the pass. And it you can tolerate a bit of a slog, taking the plain old tube from the airport to hotel saves a lot of money compared to cab or Heathrow Express train.
I planned out the itinerary incorrectly. We took the tube from the airport which worked out fine, I didn't do as much hotel research as I should have, but the hotel itself was nice and across the street from train station. No joke, but we had BK for lunch both days and went to this real nice Italian spot for dinner both nights. It was going to the airport that cost us 60 pounds, our flight was too early and the tube while it was open, would have made it a tight squeeze to get to the airport on time. Everything just looked and sounded expensive, especially when we came from Rome, and we could have gotten a nice meal for 20 euros. The 100 pounds per day sounds about right to be honest, might even suggest 150 pounds per day.
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Old 06-05-2015, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Middle of the Pacific Ocean
11,679 posts, read 6,281,571 times
Reputation: 11515
Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
I never said they were never an option. I do think it's beyond stupid to spend hours calling around or money and time to get to one that isn't very convenient. I also KNOW that in most of the US, an exchange place is not going to offer the best option.
But you're doing an awful lot to try to discredit a system that doesn't have to be expensive or inconvenient, seemingly bringing up every conceivable scenario where the bureau won't work for the OP, without actually knowing the OP's situation; that's the bizarre part about your posts. You don't necessarily have to spend hours calling around (seriously?) or substantial time/effort finding these places; and I explicitly gave the OP a potential option/provided an avenue to look elsewhere for exchange bureaus as she considers saving on exchanging currency. Also, what you DON'T KNOW (and neither do I) is whether the OP is in the same shoes as most people in the US where an exchange place doesn't offer the best option (what is the case for "most in the US" may very well be irrelevant to the OP, especially as she lives near several large cities and international airports). The OP may find that an exchange bureau, whether the location I mentioned in Manhattan or locations in Newark and Jersey City, is more convenient/cost-effective than other options. For the OP, that may not be "beyond stupid" (remember, this is ultimately about the OP).

Last edited by prospectheightsresident; 06-05-2015 at 10:58 AM..
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Old 06-05-2015, 11:00 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,583,712 times
Reputation: 13019
Quote:
Originally Posted by beachmouse View Post
You can cut costs in London a fair amount if you work it. A sandwich-fries-small soft drink or beer combo at a typical London chain pub will run you about six pounds (ie. about what it would cost in the States since you don't tip when you order at the counter and prices are VAT-included). You can plan out museums and other attractions so you're clustering the pay ones on the same days and using London Pass, and then saving the large number of free ones for days before or after the pass. And it you can tolerate a bit of a slog, taking the plain old tube from the airport to hotel saves a lot of money compared to cab or Heathrow Express train.
Tell me which London Pub chain you can get that type of a deal in. We ate at 20 different pubs while we were there in March and didn't see anything near that price point. When was the last time you were actually there?

The Tube doesn't run 24 hours (yet) and even when it starts in September, it won't be all lines. Anyone with a flight much before 10:00 am needs to use a cab or Uber to get to the airport, or stay at an airport area hotel. I'd also point out that LHR isn't the only airport. GTW and LCY also have flights to and from the US.

London Pass is not the best option for many. It certainly wasn't for us after we priced out various options.
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Old 06-05-2015, 11:02 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,583,712 times
Reputation: 13019
Quote:
Originally Posted by prospectheightsresident View Post
But you're doing an awful lot to try to discredit a system that doesn't have to be expensive or inconvenient, seemingly bringing up every conceivable scenario where the bureau won't work for the OP, without actually knowing the OP's situation; that's the bizarre part about your posts. You don't necessarily have to spend hours calling around (seriously?) or substantial time/effort finding these places; and I explicitly gave the OP a potential option/provided an avenue to look elsewhere for exchange bureaus as she considers saving on exchanging currency. Also, what you DON'T KNOW (and neither do I) is whether the OP is in the same shoes as most people in the US where an exchange place doesn't offer the best option (what is the case for "most in the US" may very well be irrelevant to the OP, especially as she lives near several large cities and international airports). The OP may find that an exchange bureau, whether the location I mentioned in Manhattan or locations in Newark and Jersey City, is more convenient/cost-effective than other options. For the OP, that may not be "beyond stupid" (remember, this is ultimately about the OP).
Just because I have time to post on the Internet it doesn't mean I can make phone calls. I spend a lot of time listening in on conference calls that I need to be on simply due to "rules" but don't need to participate in. Your tax dollars at work.
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Old 06-05-2015, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Silver Spring, MD
1,300 posts, read 1,095,032 times
Reputation: 1515
Quote:
Originally Posted by prospectheightsresident View Post
But you're doing an awful lot to try to discredit a system that doesn't have to be expensive. And you don't necessarily have to spend hours calling around (seriously?) or substantial time/effort finding these places; and I explicitly gave the OP a potential option/provided an avenue to look elsewhere for exchange bureaus as she considers saving on exchanging currency. Also, what you DON'T KNOW (and neither do I) is whether the OP is in the same shoes as most people in the US where an exchange place doesn't offer the best option (what is the case for "most in the US" may very well be irrelevant to the OP, especially as she lives near several large cities and international airports). The OP may find that an exchange bureau, whether the location I mentioned in Manhattan or locations in Newark and Jersey City, is more convenient/cost-effective than other options. For the OP, that may not be "beyond stupid" (remember, this is ultimately about the OP).
I think that your information about the exchange bureau was extremely useful. What annerk fails to realize is that even if the information isn't helpful to the OP is can be useful to someone else reading this thread. I like to think that threads like this should serve to both answer the OP's question as well as provide useful information to future readers. As you have mentioned people have heard general advice on this topic mainly take money out from the ATM when you arrive and that anything else is a waste of money so what is the person to do who wants or needs to have cash before arrival to do? In this thread we have learned ordering currency from your bank can be convenient and inexpensive especially compared to the common currency exchange companies, that most people agree are the worst option, but we have learned that there are bureaus out there that can offer rates as good as or even better than banks. We have also learned about other things to take into consideration like bank and credit card transaction fees, and to check with our bank to see if they have alliance banks.

The only useless thing I have seen is an attack of someone for providing information that a specific person may or may not be able to use even though it can of use to many others.
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Old 06-05-2015, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
7,680 posts, read 16,098,271 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
Tell me which London Pub chain you can get that type of a deal in. We ate at 20 different pubs while we were there in March and didn't see anything near that price point. When was the last time you were actually there?

The Wetherspoons in the O2 shopping centre just off the Finchely Road tube station last year. We were staying in the Swiss Cottage area- only 1-2 tube stops past Baker Street but much more of a normal neighborhood (open up the window of our hotel room in the morning, and hear the kids having PE at the adjacent early grades school) than a place with lots of tourists and tourist pricing. There was also a Pizza Express nearby where a good-sized pizza and entree salad that made for a meal for two set us back something like 18-20 pounds and a shiny new Wagamama that was also around the same price. Nando's chicken was even cheaper, but spousal unit doesn't digest spicy well so we didn't risk it.

Also a Mark's & Spencer right next to the Tube entrance and IIRC the grocery store across from the hotel was a Tesco if we were tired enough we just wanted to self-cater something back in our room instead of sitting at a restaurant.
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Old 06-05-2015, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
15,069 posts, read 19,002,971 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
You assume that everyone travels with at least one other person and has accounts in different banks.
No. Even when I was single, I had two debit cards from two banks, and two different credit cards.

In those days, I just kept them in separate places - one in purse, another in a pocket or locked in the hotel safe, or whatever.
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Old 06-05-2015, 01:06 PM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,583,712 times
Reputation: 13019
Quote:
Originally Posted by beachmouse View Post
The Wetherspoons in the O2 shopping centre just off the Finchely Road tube station last year. We were staying in the Swiss Cottage area- only 1-2 tube stops past Baker Street but much more of a normal neighborhood (open up the window of our hotel room in the morning, and hear the kids having PE at the adjacent early grades school) than a place with lots of tourists and tourist pricing. There was also a Pizza Express nearby where a good-sized pizza and entree salad that made for a meal for two set us back something like 18-20 pounds and a shiny new Wagamama that was also around the same price. Nando's chicken was even cheaper, but spousal unit doesn't digest spicy well so we didn't risk it.

Also a Mark's & Spencer right next to the Tube entrance and IIRC the grocery store across from the hotel was a Tesco if we were tired enough we just wanted to self-cater something back in our room instead of sitting at a restaurant.
Most of those aren't pubs. They are basically fast food like Pret A Manger, Pickles, EAT, etc. There's a big difference in the type and quality of the food with the fast food counter service places you describe, and a pub.

We stayed in a flat in South Kensington, a couple blocks from a tube stop in each direction and with Tesco, M&S, WholeFoods, and Waitrose within walking distance. We made about half of our meals in the flat, ate out the rest of them. It's funny that you mention the school children--we had several kindergartens and primary schools near us and could also hear them playing.
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Old 06-05-2015, 01:31 PM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
7,680 posts, read 16,098,271 times
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The folks who run Wagamama or Pizza Express would not agree they're on Pret-A-Manger level and find it rather an insult. Nando's is South African fast food though, I'll agree.
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Old 06-05-2015, 02:15 PM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,583,712 times
Reputation: 13019
Quote:
Originally Posted by beachmouse View Post
The folks who run Wagamama or Pizza Express would not agree they're on Pret-A-Manger level and find it rather an insult. Nando's is South African fast food though, I'll agree.
They aren't pubs. I've eaten at Wagamama here in the US and it's fast food in disguise. Pizza is pizza.
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