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First time to London - itinerary advice please

First time to London - itinerary advice please

Dec 8th, 2015, 01:00 PM
  #81  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,337
Good avice on service charges etc. You'd be considered a real PIA if you asked for it to be removed ( except if service is really awful ) although I have seen a local do it ( once). I'd never do it. More hassle than it's worth. For Americans the bill can sometimes be a bit deceptive. Remember if they have added the 12.50 % ( service charge) it will be indicated as such. That is considered to be the tip. You do not need to add anything else. I have seen on several bills an additional line for Tip ( to be added )This will be in addition to the 12.5 % service charge. Ignore that unless service has been exceptional...your kid threw-up and waiter had to clean up, you broke a couple of glasses etc. or had a food fight at your table.

I have on occasion left a small amount of change on table if wait staff has been really pleasant or helpful, but that should be in small change not something added to the credit card bill.
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Dec 8th, 2015, 03:18 PM
  #82  
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Join Date: Dec 2015
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Thanks Janisj! We will do it! Hubby was ok once I told him they serve spirits!!

We hate scenes Tulips so probably never do that. We are more likely to leave before being a PIA which we find truly horrific when we've witnessed it by others. Service like Paris then!

Should we make reservations for tea or is it possible to pop in at most places? I can't tell either online or reviews.

We just found out someone has gotten ahold of our credit card numbers and spent quite a bit shopping! Trying to cancel and obtain replacement cards before we leave but this is a true PIA!
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Dec 8th, 2015, 03:52 PM
  #83  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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>>Should we make reservations for tea or is it possible to pop in at most places? I can't tell either online or reviews.<<

Depends. If you just want afternoon tea at a patisserie or casual cafe or one of the museums etc -- no need to book. But most of the posh hotel 'special experience' afternoon teas need to be booked well in advance (it is probably already too late for your trip). At middle places (like the Wolseley and other nice restaurants) you would want to book ahead but not as far ahead as the major hotel teas (like the Ritz, Savoy, Claridge's and so on)
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Dec 8th, 2015, 04:36 PM
  #84  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
Any company should be able to FedEx you a new credit or debit card overnight. If any company tells you it's not possible - switch them for one with customer service.
nytraveler is offline  
Dec 8th, 2015, 05:23 PM
  #85  
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Janisj: going to start booking tonight! Will not hold my breath for any of those places at this late hour" Hope we get into a middle place!

Nytraveler: I am in agreement. They issued a new card when we went in (have not done that in years) but we've lots of fun paperwork to do now. Blah! Thinking of changing banks when we get back. The bank put a stop payment on us last week for a coffee but let someone out of town go over the daily limit (almost $1,000-bank says because transactions were done at similiar times) yesterday without calling us. Good thing it happened before we left!

It gave us a chance to let the bank know of our travel days too (almost forgot).
g8travels is offline  
Dec 8th, 2015, 05:33 PM
  #86  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,451
Did you check what foreign transaction fee your bank charges? Could be another reason to change.
thursdaysd is offline  
Dec 9th, 2015, 09:02 AM
  #87  
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Join Date: Dec 2015
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thursdaysd: Thanks!! Never even thought about that! I'm going shopping for banks.

We have over 30 "things to do" on every day whether holiday or rain/sunny so we're good to go! Unlike other holidays where we book most day trips a head of time we've decided to do a pantomime, listen to carols, walking tours and self guided walks as those will keep us fascinated every minute. When open we will squeeze in two or three museums. We just need to book a couple of afternoon tea reservations and we are set!

Again thank you everyone! You've been a trenendous help and I'm positive we will have a great time due to your wonderful suggestions and tips!! Happy travels!!
g8travels is offline  
Dec 9th, 2015, 09:14 AM
  #88  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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>> I'm going shopping for banks. <<

I personally wouldn't sweat it. You've already got enough on your plates. If you are happy w/ your current bank(s) the amount of foreign transaction fees will be a spit in the ocean compared to your other expenses.

For ATM/debit cards: By any chance do you bank w/ BofA? If so you won't have any transaction fees if you get your cash from Barclays ATM since the two are partner banks (though BofA fees are high if you use other banks). Or do you belong to a credit union -- most have no or very low fees.

Or - for credit cards: since you live in the Bay area this is a possibility - do you have a Nordstroms visa? Surprisingly they are the TERRIFIC. No foreign exchange fees at all. I have in the last year started using that as my primary credit card for foreign travel - love those Nordstrom Notes

I always take (at least) two credit cards and two ATM cards.
janisj is online now  
Dec 9th, 2015, 10:02 AM
  #89  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,451
@janisj - I think that's on the OP's to-do list for when they get back.

@g8travels - look at credit unions and Capital One
thursdaysd is offline  
Dec 9th, 2015, 01:28 PM
  #90  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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>>I think that's on the OP's to-do list for when they get back.
<<

Oh -- good. I missed that.
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