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Old 06-08-2015, 02:21 PM
 
32,055 posts, read 32,950,797 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcip View Post
I'm headed to England in july and was thinking of converting some cash to pounds before heading over. Suggestions on the best place to do this?
I don't exchange currency any more before an international trip. I just withdraw local currency/funds from a local ATM on arrival which most international airports have.
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Old 06-08-2015, 02:22 PM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,565,311 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shellymdnv View Post
So just register for their reward program before you leave and problem solved
Sure, easy to say now that you know. Not everyone does.
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Old 06-08-2015, 02:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chava61 View Post
I don't exchange currency any more before an international trip. I just withdraw local currency/funds from a local ATM on arrival which most international airports have.
What will you do if your ATM card won't work?
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Old 06-08-2015, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
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You can buy Tube tickets with a credit card at Heathrow if need be. Have done it with Amex, which seems to assume that if you buy a plane ticket somewhere, then you're actually going to go to that location and maybe use the card. (I've called to set up an international travel alert with them and had the automated phone tree tell me 'don't worry, we already know you're going there.')
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:44 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
This all assumes that there is no problem withdrawing from Barclays on arrival. I was unable to do so, and had to call BofA to get it straightened out, even though I had notified them before I left. So now tack on the cost on an international phone call, not to mention the aggravation. No matter what I would plan on arriving in London with enough cash for the first 24 hours--and more if you are arriving on a Saturday.

There are Barclays banks every 10 blocks in London, and they have a good presence in all major UK cities. Your US ATM card will work in any Barclays ATM (if it works) regardless of having a chip or not. I know this from recent personal experience.

On to the other items... It will cost about 6 pounds to get from LHR to Zone 1 on the Piccadilly Line. One option is to order your Oyster card in advance with some money on it, and have it delivered to your US address. It's over 50 pounds by taxi, Uber might save a bit, but you need to have the app on your phone and they might not pick up without a UK telephone number. With traffic congestion it's probably only going to save 15 minutes by car or cab. Second not taking the Express Train, rip off prices. The Tube is clean, safe, and comfortable enough.

If your flight home is earlier than 10:00 am, you will NOT be able to take the Tube back to LHR, it wouldn't stop in Zone 1 much before 5:30, arriving LHR at 6:30-6:45. Check in and security lines at LHR are notoriously long and slow, and you need a full four hours from the minute you walk in the door until your flight begins to load.
Thanks for the advice. Yeah, for peace of mind, I'd rather have a few pounds with me upon arrival, just in case. It's worth the extra bit of cash not having to worry about tracking down an ATM immediately upon landing.

Do I need to get the Oyster card in advance or can I get it upon arrival? I'm worried that even if I order it now, it won't get to me in time. My school recommended we take the Heathrow Express and made zero mention about the Tube so gave no guidelines about it. I'm looking for hotels/hostels near Paddington Station b/c we're doing a trip out to Bath to visit some places there. Will the Tube let me off close by? I'm cool w/ a longer ride and skipping Uber/taxis in favor of taking public transportation, especially if it's scenic.

My return flight leaves Heathrow at 4:45pm. Sounds like I should plan on getting to the airport by noon, huh?

I was thinking around 200 pounds would be enough for my needs (2 meals at local pubs, a few beers, some small gifts, other small stuff). Sounds good or insane?
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Old 06-09-2015, 07:15 AM
 
2,143 posts, read 3,556,728 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eevee View Post
Thanks for the advice. Yeah, for peace of mind, I'd rather have a few pounds with me upon arrival, just in case. It's worth the extra bit of cash not having to worry about tracking down an ATM immediately upon landing.

Do I need to get the Oyster card in advance or can I get it upon arrival? I'm worried that even if I order it now, it won't get to me in time. My school recommended we take the Heathrow Express and made zero mention about the Tube so gave no guidelines about it. I'm looking for hotels/hostels near Paddington Station b/c we're doing a trip out to Bath to visit some places there. Will the Tube let me off close by? I'm cool w/ a longer ride and skipping Uber/taxis in favor of taking public transportation, especially if it's scenic.

My return flight leaves Heathrow at 4:45pm. Sounds like I should plan on getting to the airport by noon, huh?

I was thinking around 200 pounds would be enough for my needs (2 meals at local pubs, a few beers, some small gifts, other small stuff). Sounds good or insane?
200 pounds for the week or 200 pounds per day?
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Old 06-09-2015, 09:07 AM
 
Location: Altadena, CA
1,579 posts, read 1,545,035 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graceC View Post
Only a fool would do that, so don't be one. You'll get much better rate by withdrawing at the ATM when you arrive in London.

I got hosed big time by Chase when I bought pounds and euros before my trip last month. I will withdraw monies via the ATM upon my arrival next time. I feel so crummy, I surely lost $150 using Chase.
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Old 06-09-2015, 09:10 AM
 
Location: Altadena, CA
1,579 posts, read 1,545,035 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eevee View Post
Thanks for the advice. Yeah, for peace of mind, I'd rather have a few pounds with me upon arrival, just in case. It's worth the extra bit of cash not having to worry about tracking down an ATM immediately upon landing.

Do I need to get the Oyster card in advance or can I get it upon arrival? I'm worried that even if I order it now, it won't get to me in time. My school recommended we take the Heathrow Express and made zero mention about the Tube so gave no guidelines about it. I'm looking for hotels/hostels near Paddington Station b/c we're doing a trip out to Bath to visit some places there. Will the Tube let me off close by? I'm cool w/ a longer ride and skipping Uber/taxis in favor of taking public transportation, especially if it's scenic.

My return flight leaves Heathrow at 4:45pm. Sounds like I should plan on getting to the airport by noon, huh?

I was thinking around 200 pounds would be enough for my needs (2 meals at local pubs, a few beers, some small gifts, other small stuff). Sounds good or insane?
I always stay in the Paddington area when I visit London. I was just there 10 days ago.

You can buy an Oyster card at Heathrow, or after you get off the Heathrow Express. Just go to Paddington station, and buy a card from the machine, or go to the station clerk.

I stayed at the Ashley London hotel on Norfolk during this visit. It's nice. Check it out at booking.com.

Good luck and have fun in London!
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Old 06-09-2015, 10:19 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,565,311 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eevee View Post
Thanks for the advice. Yeah, for peace of mind, I'd rather have a few pounds with me upon arrival, just in case. It's worth the extra bit of cash not having to worry about tracking down an ATM immediately upon landing.

Do I need to get the Oyster card in advance or can I get it upon arrival? I'm worried that even if I order it now, it won't get to me in time. My school recommended we take the Heathrow Express and made zero mention about the Tube so gave no guidelines about it. I'm looking for hotels/hostels near Paddington Station b/c we're doing a trip out to Bath to visit some places there. Will the Tube let me off close by? I'm cool w/ a longer ride and skipping Uber/taxis in favor of taking public transportation, especially if it's scenic.

My return flight leaves Heathrow at 4:45pm. Sounds like I should plan on getting to the airport by noon, huh?

I was thinking around 200 pounds would be enough for my needs (2 meals at local pubs, a few beers, some small gifts, other small stuff). Sounds good or insane?
You can buy it at LHR when you arrive. I buy in advance to have one less thing to deal with after a long, overnight international flight.

Heathrow Express is ridiculously expensive and not worth the time savings. You will take the Piccadilly line from LHR to Gloucester Road and then change to the Circle or District line going to Edgeware and get off at Paddington.

Can't help with a hostel, we either stay in a hotel or rent a flat.

I would definitely plan on arriving at LHR around noon. Plenty of places to have a meal or drink it you get there early. When you get on the Picaddilly line, make sure it is going to Heathrow. The line splits around Hemmersmith and if you are on the wrong train you'll end up up on the other side of Wembley. The trains you need to get on are are clearly marked for Heathrow--however not all of them go to all terminals and you'll need to get on one that does, or one that goes to the terminal you need. It's not as complicated as it sounds, you just need to be mindful.

The Tube isn't really scenic. out past Hammersmith much of it is above ground, but once you get towards London it's all underground. There isn't much to see except housing blocks, so you aren't missing anything by not taking surface transportation.

Two hundred pounds should last you a week if most if not all of your meals and admission fees are covered with your tour group. Plan everything costing 150-200% of what you'd pay for it in a medium to large city in the USA. London is the most expensive city I've ever visited--more expensive than NYC, Boston, or San Francisco by a considerable measure.
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Old 06-09-2015, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Chicago
6,021 posts, read 13,539,714 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DomRep View Post
200 pounds for the week or 200 pounds per day?
For the week. As mentioned, the majority of my trip is being covered by my school. I'm just spending cash on souvenirs, the occasional beer (or 4!), and a couple of meals not covered by the school since I'm getting there a bit early.
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