Please sign in to post.

Keeping track of Tube updates & Thomas Exchange

Hello,

I'm going to the UK for the first time next week. My tour will be ending in London where I plan to spend 4 days. I know from TFL there will be some closures the weekend I am there due to planned works. What will be the best way to keep track of changes in the Tube service? On another thread someone mentioned a strike on Sunday (no date was mentioned), but I didn't see that info on TFL's site. What would be the best way to keep up to date on any pending strikes?

On another note I see that Thomas Exchange is popular for exchanging money. Googling brought me to Thomas Exchange Foreign Currency/Thomas Exchange UK and Thomas Exchange Global. Are these 2 companies the same? Their branch locations are different.

Thank you in advance!

Posted by
16883 posts

I only see one thread mentioning Thomas Exchange in the past year, and it's not a recommend for getting pounds, but for changing them back if you took too many out of the ATM. You can find many more threads recommending that you just use a debit card to withdraw cash from ATMs upon arrival. See also https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/money.

TFL's web site maintains a timely news page, as well as closures are displayed in stations, particularly when they affect the lines serving that station.

Posted by
5532 posts

I have used Thomas Exchange for all my foreign currency for years before I got a special credit card for use abroad last year.

I don't know about Americans changing dollars to pounds, but for us Brits, they offer the best exchange rates around - always better than the cash rate that the banks offer. You can check out their rates online. I think both companies are the same, but if in doubt, go for the UK website. They have been around for years and are fast and reliable.

If you can get an American credit card similar to the one I have, this will be the cheapest way of getting cash, assuming such a thing exists. You don't want to be carrying lots of cash on you.

Posted by
4674 posts

These days you need to reserve online to get the best rates at the likes of Thomas Exchange or ICE as their 'off the street' prices are now degraded. They are however better value changing from sterling into other countries rather than the other way around. Cost can be as low as 0.5% from the mid rate for that. Not as good as the best banks from an ATM but a lot better than the worst.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you for the tips!

I'll look at Citymapper and keep an eye out for the station boards.

My bank doesn't have a relationship with a bank over in the UK. The fees plus, the low withdraw limit didn't make ATMs attractive to me. I'll ask the bank to raise my limit to reduce the ATM visits. As for using my credit card for cash, the cash advance fees are high so I don't want to go that route.

I'll keep Thomas Exchange in mind. Their online rates look pretty good and if I have time to reserve I might go that route.

Posted by
27709 posts

I've had Citymapper on my phone for some time but have never used it until today, on a trip from London to Kingston upon Thames, and onward to the Garrick memorial to Shakespeare.

I wasn't as happy with it as I had hoped I would be.

In London, where I had decent data from 3G it was OK. (I don't get 4G on my stone-age iPhone 4s) but when I got to Kingston and was suffering in GPRS land it was SO slow. I would have thought that it wouldn't so much data.

The results seemed solid but I neded the answers much faster.

It didn't have anything shown along the river at all beyond Kingston, so if I hadn't known where the Garrick Manor and memorial is it wouldn't have helped.

It certainly did know (and got with only 4 letters typed in) where my riverside Busaba Eathai was.

Posted by
5532 posts

Thomas Exchange offer much better rates than the Post Office and they don't charge any commission.