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Going back for the 1st time in 14 years!

Going back for the 1st time in 14 years!

Old Oct 17th 2015, 11:44 pm
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Default Going back for the 1st time in 14 years!

Ok, so as the title says I'm headed back home for a vacation for the 1st time in 14 years. I have a few questions for those who travel back a little more often than I do
I have a chip and sig card, after reading the chip and pin thread I surmise that I should be able to use that card just about everywhere with a few exceptions (unmanned machines, toll roads etc). Am I pretty accurate with this?
Apple pay? is it widely accepted? I'm trying to take as little cash as I can for this trip and use electronic spending. Do most pubs accept cards/Apple pay?
Probably the biggest question is what can I expect? I've talked to a few Brits recently and get different views from everyone (not that unexpected lol), but it has been a long time since I was over there.
Anyway I'm looking forward to a packed couple of weeks. I've got a few days in London the a trip up the M1 to see the mighty blue and white wizards (Sheff Wed) take on Forest then it's up to Scotland to see my parents and topped off with a trip to the Lake District for my 25th school reunion. Probably need a couple of weeks to recover when I get back
Thanks in advance for any info....
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Old Oct 18th 2015, 2:37 am
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Default Re: Going back for the 1st time in 14 years!

NFC/Apple pay is very common in the UK (speaking purely from a London perspective). Can't remember the last time I was in a pub that didn't accept cards etc.

The one thing you will have to prepare yourself for is the price of a pint... 4.50 - 5GBP was standard in central London when I left.
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Old Oct 18th 2015, 2:45 am
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Default Re: Going back for the 1st time in 14 years!

I hope you report back after your trip. I'm very interested to hear what you will have to say
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Old Oct 18th 2015, 3:21 am
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Default Re: Going back for the 1st time in 14 years!

5 quid a pint???? WTF
I'll give a write up when I get back.
Another quick question....
I have an unlocked iPhone that I want to use while I'm over there. Is my best option to get a sim at the airport or go to a store on the high street? I've looked at a few options but haven't nailed it down yet. I'll be looking for about 20 gigs of data and a few texts/minutes.
Thanks

Also, what provider will serve me best? I'll be travelling from London to Sheffield to the Highlands to the Lake District and back to London.

Last edited by explorerman; Oct 18th 2015 at 3:33 am.
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Old Oct 18th 2015, 3:01 pm
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Default Re: Going back for the 1st time in 14 years!

My experience this summer was that mobile internet coverage in the UK is surprisingly crap. Just FYI...
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Old Oct 18th 2015, 3:34 pm
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Default Re: Going back for the 1st time in 14 years!

I use my Chip & Signature card all the time in the UK. The only issue is that they *will* actually want to check your signature against the card, unlike 99% of the time in the US.

For my iPhone I have a 3 SIM card which I put £20 on when I arrive (I have to buy a voucher as 3's website only takes cards with a UK address) and then use that to buy the £20 add-on which is some large number of UK mins and texts plus unlimited data for a month. Add a bit more credit if you think you'll need to call or text the US while abroad.
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Old Oct 19th 2015, 6:54 pm
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Default Re: Going back for the 1st time in 14 years!

Originally Posted by rpjs View Post
I use my Chip & Signature card all the time in the UK. The only issue is that they *will* actually want to check your signature against the card, unlike 99% of the time in the US.

For my iPhone I have a 3 SIM card which I put £20 on when I arrive (I have to buy a voucher as 3's website only takes cards with a UK address) and then use that to buy the £20 add-on which is some large number of UK mins and texts plus unlimited data for a month. Add a bit more credit if you think you'll need to call or text the US while abroad.
We found that a lot of places would not take chip and signature cards. I highly recommend getting a chip and PIN card.
Contactless payments do not require PIN or a signature most of the time.

London buses do not take cash and only accept contactless cards.

Weatherspoons as £6 for curry and a pint.
I got an EE sim card from carphonewarehouse for £5 for a month. If you have US tmobile account its 20c/min and free 3g data depending on contract.
I recommend using HERE maps on your phone unless you have another GPS.
Waze traffic does not work very well in the UK

Capital One didn't charge foreign transaction fees, just used the Visa exchange rate

Last edited by mrken30; Oct 19th 2015 at 6:58 pm.
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Old Oct 19th 2015, 7:28 pm
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Default Re: Going back for the 1st time in 14 years!

I only have a Capital One card and all they do is chip and sig. My bank (credit union) hasn't even started sending out chipped cards yet.
I'm on att but my phone is unlocked so I just want a sim to get some service. Figured I'd use google maps or the apple maps apps for gps.
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Old Oct 19th 2015, 8:21 pm
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Default Re: Going back for the 1st time in 14 years!

Originally Posted by explorerman View Post
I only have a Capital One card and all they do is chip and sig. My bank (credit union) hasn't even started sending out chipped cards yet.
I'm on att but my phone is unlocked so I just want a sim to get some service. Figured I'd use google maps or the apple maps apps for gps.
I have capital one, you need to call them up and ask for a PIN. The person I spoke to was a bit confused, but I did manage to get a PIN . This was very useful when I had to return the rental car and the pump at the airport was unmanned and needed a chip and pin.

The reason for using HERE maps is you can download up to date maps and it doesn't require data.
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Old Oct 19th 2015, 8:35 pm
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Default Re: Going back for the 1st time in 14 years!

I can't remember the last time I was able to sign when using my card, everything is chip and pin. Contactless and Apple is becoming more available but still not everywhere, especially outside London, and Amex isn't accepted by lots of smaller places.
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Old Oct 19th 2015, 9:22 pm
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Default Re: Going back for the 1st time in 14 years!

In some places they 'can't' accept chip and sig, but do if they have to. However, I literally couldn't buy food in a Sainsbury's Local or, once, beer/food in a Weatherspoons (which has insanely cheap, though not particularly good, food specials as well as cheap booze). I do find it best to keep cash on hand just in case--Xoom is a reasonable way to transfer money without massive fees.

I didn't have ApplePay when I was there earlier in the year, but contactless is very common in London and I assume (hope!) it will work the same way as a card.

You can buy an Oyster card for London transport and it's brilliant. Presumably you won't have a car in London? The Oyster card will automatically cap out at the TravelCard rate each day. You just get one at the kiosk in the Underground at Heathrow and add money via your credit card--and yes, it will take chip only.

I bought my SIM card at Tesco but beware--you basically just put money on the SIM and THEN must select a plan or you'll use your data fast. I was very confused by the way they explained things (or rather, didn't) and sucked through all my data in about 10 minutes. When I called, CS was very kind and put all my money back. All newer phones are unlocked, BTW--at least we can thank Congress for SOMETHING.
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Old Oct 19th 2015, 9:42 pm
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Default Re: Going back for the 1st time in 14 years!

Originally Posted by SallyT18 View Post

You can buy an Oyster card for London transport and it's brilliant. Presumably you won't have a car in London? The Oyster card will automatically cap out at the TravelCard rate each day. You just get one at the kiosk in the Underground at Heathrow and add money via your credit card--and yes, it will take chip only.
You can use your contactless card in the same way on the tube and buses. I think Amex are the only ones doing contactless (tap and pay) cards that work in the UK. There are details on the TFL website.

the limit on contactless is max of 3 transactions per day, max of £20 per transaction.
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Old Oct 19th 2015, 9:57 pm
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Default Re: Going back for the 1st time in 14 years!

[QUOTE=mrken30;11775037]You can use your contactless card in the same way on the tube and buses. I think Amex are the only ones doing contactless (tap and pay) cards that work in the UK. There are details on the TFL website.

Not sure if contactless would cap out in the same way as an Oyster card, though?

Apple Pay should work fine wherever they take it.

BUT whatever you do, make sure your credit card provider(s) knows where you're going and when. Otherwise they will cut your card off within hours, and it is a real pain to get it sorted.
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Old Oct 19th 2015, 10:03 pm
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Default Re: Going back for the 1st time in 14 years!

Not sure if contactless would cap out in the same way as an Oyster card, though? It caps out in the same way.

https://tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/contactless

You need either an oyster card or contactless card per person.

When you use your contactless payment card to travel you will be charged an adult-rate pay as you go fare each time you make a journey. All the features of pay as you go on Oyster are available if you use a contactless payment card, and you also benefit from daily and Monday to Sunday capping.
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Old Oct 19th 2015, 10:07 pm
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Default Re: Going back for the 1st time in 14 years!

Something else to do, setup google voice or similar in case you need to call the US , for instance your card gets blocked. I used vonage, but it means you can make a call where ever there is wifi and it wont cost a fortune. We did find that there were a lot of places with wifi available.
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