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Old 04-25-2012, 10:51 PM   #31
LionKingRules84
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Finally got my Samantha Brown rentals from Netflix and her shows are a great resource! Her weekend episode for London was great! Didn't even know of the Camden Market! Reminds me so much of local South Street in Philadelphia, although hopefully less trashy but we will see.
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Old 04-27-2012, 03:28 PM   #32
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How terrible is it of me that we leave in less than three weeks and I haven't even opened my Frommer's guides yet?!? I'm thinking 8 hours on a plane will take care of the reading, but I really wasn't "planning" anything more than a very few things - looking at the City of Knights & Lights itinerary, it didn't seem like there was all that much "free time on your own" to really get much in, anyway.., or am I really super behind in my planning? (I don't want to have a wish list, and then realize there isn't time for it... we're sort of content to let the guides show us the way for our first "European Adventure" )
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:57 AM   #33
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And, Harrods does take US Bank and Credit Cards. No need for British £'s at Harrods. Several other places accepted US cards as well.


Every place in Europe which accepts debit or credit cards accepts cards from the US. The only problem you may encounter is trying to use such a card in a machine (such as at a train station) which only accepts cards with a chip and pin, which most US cards don't have. Sometimes you will also have to hand your card to a cashier rather than running it through a reader yourself due to the lack of the chip.

You also need to make sure that your debit card has a 4 digit pin if you want to use an ATM.
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:37 AM   #34
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I know they will accept debit and CC cards, but Harrods, since the have a presence in the US, can charge in US dollars with no currency exchange fees. Kept me from having to using my chip and pin debit card.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:23 AM   #35
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I know they will accept debit and CC cards, but Harrods, since the have a presence in the US, can charge in US dollars with no currency exchange fees. Kept me from having to using my chip and pin debit card.
I wonder how favorable their exchange rate is? I have had cashiers in a number of countries (France, Italy, etc.) ask me if I wanted to charge my purchase in dollars or in the local currency. I don't think they need a presence in the US to do this. I always chose local currency as I don't trust the store exchange rate.

There are US credit cards which do not charge you currency exchange fees; Capital One is one of them. I try to use this card when traveling overseas.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:26 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by lost*in*cyberspace View Post
I wonder how favorable their exchange rate is? I have had cashiers in a number of countries (France, Italy, etc.) ask me if I wanted to charge my purchase in dollars or in the local currency. I don't think they need a presence in the US to do this. I always chose local currency as I don't trust the store exchange rate.

There are US credit cards which do not charge you currency exchange fees; Capital One is one of them. I try to use this card when traveling overseas.
I was asked this in Harrod's, when buying a pair of sunglasses.

These are sold in the states and are never "on sale".

Using a Capital One Visa, they were almost $100 less then they are here in the states.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:49 AM   #37
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Just returned from London/Paris. We never had a issue with our non chip cc. I did go to the ticket window at train station though because I heard it might be an issue in London. We used our disney visa for a lot of purchases and the exchange rate they charged was always the posted rate for the day, as well as a 3% foreign exchange fee. So for every "sale" on my statement I have a "fee". For example 20 pounds charged, was 1.61 to the dollar so $32.20 plus a fee of .97. We also took out cash twice in each country as to not have too much left over and used cash for food and for museum fees i knew ahead of time. TCF bank charged me $5 foreign atm fee everytime I took out cash as well as 3% fee on cash taken out as well. So, in hindsite getting a capital one card would have saved me some money

ps. we had a wonderful trip, a highlight was the new Disney Dreams show at DLRP Wow Amazing!!!!!!
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:53 PM   #38
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Since it doesn't seem to have been mentioned I've been watching Rudy Maxa's 'Europe to the Max' and while some of the ones I've rented are a bit old(about 8 for the England one) he visits places that neither Rick Steves or Samantha Brown visit. Thought I would recommend that in case anyone needs some ideas for either England or France.

I seriously could spend years going to either country several times, I especially am fascinated by France the most though.
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Old 06-15-2012, 03:26 PM   #39
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I have also seen rudy maxa's videos, from the library. He comes into my restaurant that I work at a lot and I always want to tell him about my travels and discuss european traveling, but I chicken out! (his hometown is in st.paul, mn so I see him a lot!) He's a great guy.
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:06 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by lost*in*cyberspace View Post
I wonder how favorable their exchange rate is? I have had cashiers in a number of countries (France, Italy, etc.) ask me if I wanted to charge my purchase in dollars or in the local currency. I don't think they need a presence in the US to do this. I always chose local currency as I don't trust the store exchange rate.

There are US credit cards which do not charge you currency exchange fees; Capital One is one of them. I try to use this card when traveling overseas.
In my experience you never do better selecting the home currency in these situations - the currency conversion is effectively an "up-sell", it just isn't disclosed as such, it's offered as a "convenience".

On the Chip and Pin thing, the various merchant agreements require that stores accept mag-stripe only cards from overseas cardholders, however most store clerks have been trained only to accept chip and pin. This is of course not an issue in places frequented by tourists, but if you are on your own and outside the centre of London things can go wrong.

I was once in need of an emergency Tuxedo in Windsor (long complicated story), and found one in a menswear store, flat out refused to accept a swipe card even if it meant loosing a reasonably sized sale - most common place I have been refused service because of lack of chip-and-pin cards has been in suburban independent 7-11 style corner stores.

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Old 06-28-2012, 08:10 AM   #41
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I was once in need of an emergency Tuxedo in Windsor

Matt

I have decided that I clearly need to rethink my career path so that it includes more stories in which I am required to purchase emergency evening wear in Windsor!

Laurie
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:14 AM   #42
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I have decided that I clearly need to rethink my career path so that it includes more stories in which I am required to purchase emergency evening wear in Windsor!

Laurie


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Old 06-28-2012, 08:12 PM   #43
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I have decided that I clearly need to rethink my career path so that it includes more stories in which I am required to purchase emergency evening wear in Windsor!

Laurie
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:29 PM   #44
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Speaking of 'evening wear in Windsor' wondering if some or all of the dinners on any ABD trip requires something nicer than say a nice clean pair of jeans and shirt. I'm assuming the most 'dressy' we will be expected to wear would be business casual? My husband will be fine but I only have so many 'nice' outfits these days. Just want to know if I should be shopping for dinner wear and if a mens suit would be necessary to pack for my husband?
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:37 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by LionKingRules84
Speaking of 'evening wear in Windsor' wondering if some or all of the dinners on any ABD trip requires something nicer than say a nice clean pair of jeans and shirt. I'm assuming the most 'dressy' we will be expected to wear would be business casual? My husband will be fine but I only have so many 'nice' outfits these days. Just want to know if I should be shopping for dinner wear and if a mens suit would be necessary to pack for my husband?
Business casual is perfect for dinner. You could even get by with good jeans and a nice top if you'd like. I tended to dress up a little for dinner. My husband wore khakis and button down shirts. Everyone dressed up a bit for the farewell dinner, most men wore sports jackets and women dresses or dressy pants, but it wasn't mandatory. A men's suit or fancy evening wear is not necessary. Enjoy your trip!
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