Just back from London - some free advice

Old Apr 23rd, 1999, 01:46 PM
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Just back from London - some free advice

GOOD DEAL: Travelcard on the tubes (subway). Pay for zones 1 and 2, within which you will find most of the tourist attractions. It costs 17.60 ($30.00) and gives unlimited travel for a week. Take passport size photo, but use a photo machine and save money over the passport photo places. If you travel beyond the 2 zones you buy a supplement at the station BEFORE you get on the train to avoid a fine.
LOUSY DEAL: The Tubes if you are in any way disabled, very pregnant, with small children especially with a stroller, the elderly, people with large packages, suitcases, etc. Forget it. There are few stations with elevators. There are escalators, but there are generally stairs before and after them. Most of Europe make no provisions for any of the above people with special needs.
GOOD DEAL "The Original Tour" has 4 different tours. You can get on and off the double decker buses wherever you like. Ticket is 12.50 and is good for 24 hours and includes tour spiels in a dozen languages. Good view on upper deck.
LOUSY YUK DEAL. Breakfast at the Dorchester Hotel. I got up one morning and said to myself: when's the last time you spent 19.50 ($33.00) for breakfast? Since the answer was never I hightailed it to the Dorchester, found myself the only man who was not a yuppie wearing a black suit and tie, and ordered the "breakfast grill" as gushed over in "Access London." I received a smallish orange juice, coffee, a few slices of toast and assorted buns with butter, scrambled eggs and 2 (yes!, count 'em, 2) strips of bacon and a small semi-grilled tomato. And, oh, yes, a sprig of parsley. That was a quick 33 bucks. Thank me for saving you $33.00.
GOOD DEAL "The Original London Walks. Great way to spend a couple of hours in byways that normally you wouldn't know about. Get their brochure at most hotels. They meet usually at entrances to tube stations. They offer dozens of such walking tours led by very well spoken, interesting people. If you can't find the brochure, the phone # is 0171 624 3978
LOUSY DEAL: Avoiding smoke in restaurants and pubs. You can't. Many places jokingly have a "no smoking" area in the back. When I humorously inquired if the smoke was prohibited from entering the area, the waitress looked at me as if I had a screw loose, which is what most smokers did if you dare bring up the subject of their smoke going into your lungs. And remember, there is very little filtered ventilation in most restaurants in the UK because of the cold weather so one cigarette keeps on giving and giving...they just don't have a clue over there.
FINAL COMMENTS: Use your credit cards as often as you can, which is most every place. You get the best rates. (Most Change places averaged between $1.67 to 1.71 to the pound, plus there's usually a service charge. My credit card conversion was about $1.59 to $1.62 to the pound with no service charge.) Plus, your credit cards give you a more permanent record of your transactions in case there's a problem. Don't waste your time with Travelers Checks. When I needed cash for incidentals I used ATM machines with no problem. Please e-mail me if you want any more info. I don't want to take up too much more room.
Old Apr 23rd, 1999, 07:03 PM
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Thank you for the "free advice". I will take heed. Concerning the Travelcard, is that good for the 2-decker red buses also? Where are they bought? Can they be charged? Are they good for only 1 person? What about a hotel? Two of us together, Mother and Daughter. Wish central, safe area. Nothing fancy. thanx!
Old Apr 24th, 1999, 03:55 AM
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The travelcards are absolutely good on the buses, too. Actually, they are even a better deal on the buses because you hop on and off whereever you want and see the sights inbetween. Unlike NYC, you CANNOT get a transfer on the buses. You must pay twice.

I bought the travel card for only zone 1 (a few weeks ago when I was in London) and left the zone 1 time. Brian is absolutely right, be sure to pay the supplement to another zone BEFORE you get on the train b/c there is a 10 pound fine for anyone without a valid ticket. They will NOT let you pay the difference in your fare. This rule applies to everybody, whether you are not trying to evade your fare and just made a mistake or not.

They can be bought at any station window and you MUST have a picture. (Cut up your face from an old photo. That is good enough and won't cost you extra or make you go out of your way). Yes, you absolutely CAN charge them.
Old Apr 24th, 1999, 04:50 PM
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Brian - thanks for the comprehensive and informative posting. We're going to England 6/22-7/16 -- ending with a week in London.
Old Jun 4th, 1999, 12:52 PM
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We're leaving for London this week and we want to purchase a Travelcard. I was wondering if it would be acceptable to photocopy our passport pictures. It would save time and money.
Old Jun 4th, 1999, 02:11 PM
Brian in Atlanta
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JoAnn, I wouldn't think this would be allowed, but you can always try! If it doesn't work, the photo booths in the station cost 2.5 pounds. Of course, you'll have to queue up again.
Old Jun 4th, 1999, 06:14 PM
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I've learned from posters on the AOL Travel Board, that reproductions of passport pictures are acceptable. Actually, I think virtually any picture is acceptable. The station attendants will even cut them down to the proper size

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