Is it the first time you travel to London? If so, it is normal that you have many doubts about what you should do and what not. Especially when paying at restaurants, cafes, pubs, hotels, supermarkets, etc., ignorance of local customs is what leads tourists to need advice beyond cultural information. In this article we try to solve this type of doubt with some very useful tricks.
Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.
When eating out
There are many restaurants, pubs and coffee shops where you can go to dinner or have a drink in the British capital. However, as a consumer you must be careful, since in some establishments they could get over ready if the tourist is clueless.
This is something that happens in all the great capitals of the world where there is a large influx of tourists every day. To avoid any type of abuse, it is better to be prevented.
If you are going to ask for water, it is best to ask for a jug of tap water. Nobody is going to look at you badly for it, since it is quite common.
In this way, you will save a considerable amount on the bill, since ordering a jug of tap water is free. The only condition to be served without any problem is to consume, that is, to have ordered some food.
Some restaurants, on the other hand, have the habit of refusing to serve the consumer if they consider that what they have requested is insufficient. Although it is not usual for this to happen, nobody can force you to ask, so if necessary you could get up and leave the site if you do not want to ask for more and, therefore, spend more money.
The same goes for the issue of tip: Leaving a tip in London is not mandatory. You should not be alarmed by it when you go out for lunch, dinner or drink, since nobody is going to force you to leave anything if you do not consider the service to have been satisfactory enough.
This also applies to hotels and other accommodations, but in the case of pubs it is usually not customary to leave anything. In any case, some have a boat enabled for those who want to leave a donation.
Both hotels and restaurants are required by law to expose their price list to the public. If not, you are entitled to request it and have one shown.
Otherwise, perhaps this establishment is not entirely recommended, since in this case it may be exorbitant prices. The same goes for the schedule in which certain services are served. cheaper menus: must be clearly indicated.
However, you should keep in mind that in some establishments they use a kind of trick to deceive tourists. Consists in return change putting on the plate the coins below and, on top of them, the bill and the bills.
In this way, if the tourist is in a hurry, he will simply take the tickets and leave quickly, leaving the coins on the plate. Therefore, we advise you to always check it.
You should also know that, if you are going to order wine, the letters are usually not very clear. By this we mean the following: imagine that you order a bottle of wine at a relatively good price, but when paying you find that the price is double what it put in the letter.
This is because many establishments set the price for half a bottle, not whole. In addition, they are required uncork the bottle in front of the client to know that its content corresponds to the brand tagged.
Book in hotels
Usually, tourists book in a hotel, B&B or any other London accommodation via Internet, telephone, letter or fax. Whatever the chosen route, the most common is that they ask for an amount on account as a guarantee.
However, no law specifies the obligation to pay this amount. If paying, you must keep in mind that it must be a reasonable amount, which does not exceed 25-30% of the total amount.
Also, keep in mind that it is a firm advance, that is, an amount that will not be returned in case of cancellation of the reservation, unless the hotel indicates otherwise.
In cases of force majeure, such as accident, death or illness, they also usually agree to return this amount to us. Some establishments also agree to return it under prior agreement, notifying within a certain period. If it is the hotel that cancels, then they must return this amount.
When paying this amount by debit or credit card, it could happen that they made you a pre card authorization. It is a payment system through which the hotel verifies that it is a card suitable for making reservations.
Airline companies usually do this when booking a ticket. It is a request that is requested from the card issuing bank and through it you can do the following:
- Verify that the card is valid and active: that it exists, is not expired, is not blacklisted, etc.
- Check that you have sufficient funds to face the operation that is being requested.
- Request that the requested amount of the card balance availability be blocked.
In the latter case, it could happen that the guarantee is charged on the one hand and, on the other, that we retain the total amount of the number of nights booked. It is only a retention on our card, not a charge. This block will have a limited validity period, which is usually 3-7 days, depending on your bank.
After this time, the bank releases the retained balance and the blockage disappears. If you use a debit card, our advice is that you have sufficient balance or, otherwise, they could leave you the account temporarily in negative numbers.
On the other hand, they cannot force you to book several room nights if you just want to spend only one. Similarly, they cannot force you to have breakfast, eat or dine at the hotel.
This is considered by law as a "subordination of service provision", so it is illegal and punishable by fine. Another thing is that the hotel offers half board or full board. Find out well before booking about whether it is a hotel or a hotel-restaurant. What is legal is to charge a sleeping supplement accompanied by a child.
Like restaurants, hotels are required to inform their guests about prices, the category of the premises and, where appropriate, the type of cuisine they offer.
If they cannot do it in person, they are also obliged to do it over the phone. Whether born of them or not depends on the professionalism and disposition of each one, but you have the right to claim it.
Another very useful tip for staying in London is to opt for hotel chains. It is a way of ensuring certain conditions, such as those related to hygiene rules, which are usually very strict in these establishments.
The issue of hygiene in independent accommodation in London is very relative, so if you give importance to this, it may be a good option. Now, you won't find any for less than £ 80 a night.
If you travel with children
Many are the parents who organize a trip to London with the best of intentions, but they end up not taking full advantage because they are overwhelmed by the immensity of the city and the energy of the children. There are numerous places especially interesting for children depending on the time you are going to be in the city.
If you are going to travel to London with children, our number one tip is as follows: prepare a adapted itinerary to your interests
The tourist and monumental center is a good option to start, starting at Trafalgar Square. You can take them to take a look at the British units of measure recorded in the lower part of the Nelson column.
Afterwards, visiting the National Gallery is always a success and is also free. Near this area is Saint James’s Park, where you can take a simple walk or even skate.
Take them to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, the residence of the Queen of England. The change takes place at 11:30 a.m. every day, although in winter it is every two days.
Go see the Horse guards great entertainment is sure for children, who often have fun trying to cheer up the impassive sentinels who continuously monitor the entrance. Afterwards, you cannot miss the London Eye, Picadilly Circus, Convent Garden … The following article may be useful: London maps.
The most important thing when touring London with children is not to load the day too much. Also, try using public transportation to get around the city; if you go to everything on foot, the children will get tired before and London is very big.
If you enter museums, it is also not advisable to visit each and every one of the rooms, as children will be overwhelmed before. Also, do not forget to wear comfortable shoes and raincoat.
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