The Chronicle of the Horse
MagazineNewsHorse SportsHorse CareCOTH StoreVoicesThe Chronicle UntackedDirectoriesMarketplaceDates & Results
 
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 49
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 5, 2011
    Posts
    891

    Default Tips for Traveling Overseas?

    I've been saving for a trip to England (research for a novel) for over a year. I have a 3-week window of opportunity in May before summer semester starts. But the last vacation I had (if you can call it that) was when I was 13, and my parents took the camper to Missouri.

    So I'm looking for good tips, websites, things to look out for, etc. in terms of traveling, especially to England. I'm going to Oxford, hoping to rent a small flat near the city center within walking distance of everything, and taking small day trips out to Glastonbury, etc. But it's getting through Customs and the airports, packing, etc. I have trouble with! So any hints, tips, advice, etc. would be very welcome as I try to figure out if I can really do this on my own or not.

    Yes, I already have my passport.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    land of enchantment and chile
    Posts
    1,419

    Default

    Check out Rick Steves website. www.ricksteves.com He does Europe through the backdoor. Lots of good advice about what to take for least amount of luggage and tips to see stuff in that area. His books are good guide books too.


    5 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 2004
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    923

    Default

    If you have long hair buy a spray-on conditioner like Infusium once you arrive. Often in England water pressure is achieved through gravity. You shouldn't have any trouble traveling to and in England by yourself, you speak the language and driving isn't necessary, rail travel is very convenient. As long as you can read a map you should be fine. Oxford is lovely, I could probably kill 3 weeks just there, and it is a commuter town so you won't have a hard time getting to other places from there.
    Take versatile clothing that is easily washed so you can do laundry while you are there. Roll your clothes, they take up less space that way and won't wrinkle. In order to avoid travelling with fluids you can always purchase what you need when you arrive, or if you do want to bring your own most pharmacies have a section with the permitted sizes.
    Have a wonderful time! I spent my early childhood in England and have made several trips back, I love it there. You should take me because every time I go the weather is good
    Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar. 1, 2003
    Location
    Happily in Canada
    Posts
    4,868

    Default

    Get a guidebook or two from your library. I liked browsing them before going, for tips on things I'd never have thought of.

    Get a carry-on sized suitcase, and limit yourself to that. Pack 3-4 weeks in advance, and see what you really need. Don't forget that GB is a pretty similar western nation to the US - you can buy more shampoo or another T-shirt when you're there, if you need to. Try to pack things that don't wrinkle and are easy to wash/dry.

    If you have too much stuff for the return trip, you can mail some home, or buy another suitcase/duffel. No big deal.

    Read up on how to reduce/avoid jetlag. Otherwise your first week there will be a drag! Bring earplugs for the plane, try to get a window seat (you can cram up against it to sleep).

    Get a money belt for your passport, tickets etc. You don't have to (GB is a civilized country) but I found it handy to know where my most important stuff was, and to keep it safe and handy during the actual travel parts (airports, trains etc.) until I was settled.

    Figure out in advance what you're doing about a phone (can yours travel or should you pick up a cheap pay-as-you-go when you're there)?

    Talk to your bank/credit card co. and tell them when you're going. Otherwise you might find yourself with a hold on your credit card because it's being used overseas!

    Take photos of all your important ID (passport, credit card, etc.) and email them to yourself & a trusted friend/relative. This will help if yours get stolen or lost while traveling.

    Find out what emergency procedures are in the foreign country (such as, do you call 911 or 999?). Make sure you have travel/health insurance.

    Talk to your doctor about your prescriptions. Since GB is a civilized country you likely don't have to worry about specific vaccinations before you go!
    Blugal

    You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 6, 2005
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    223

    Default

    More guide-book sites that are very helpful:

    Frommer's (http://www.frommers.com/) has a good tips & tools section--but also very good forums (like here!) where you'll learn more specifics and insider stuff.

    Lonely Planet (http://www.lonelyplanet.com/england) too



  6. #6
    Join Date
    May. 28, 2006
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    3,129

    Default

    Get one of those power converters. Their outlets are different than ours....DON'T plug anything into the wall unless you have a converter!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 29, 2007
    Location
    TN
    Posts
    1,870

    Default

    My most extensive travel was in Central America, so my experience is in poorer areas with (probably) more risk of pickpocketing etc.

    I agree with the versatility packing. Don't bring a skirt that goes with exactly one shirt of yours. Scarves are your friend-lightweight and can dress up almost any outfit.

    I really liked using compression stuff sacks (like this, which you can probably find cheaper elsewhere) to pack clothes, although you do run a wrinkle risk.

    Bring a pair of shoes that are either waterproof or dry quickly, it really sucks to soak your only pair of shoes. But if it does happen to you, stuff them with newspaper and change the paper frequently.

    I liked Lonely Planet's Thorntree forums for local advice. Typically when I go somewhere I'll look up a few things to do, then ask around once I get there. Of course this is easier if you're staying in hostels because there's more interaction with other travelers.

    If you're adventurous, check out CouchSurfers. You don't have to stay at someone's house if you don't want to, some people are willing to just show you around town in exchange for some conversation and a coffee/drink. They're usually people who like to travel themselves and are interested in different cultures. Just use your common sense and stick with someone with a lot of positive reviews.

    At least in Central America, I usually left my passport in a safe place (home, or in a locked safe at the hostel) and carried around a photocopy of it in my wallet. That way if it got stolen, no big.

    I preferred to use cash because my debit & credit cards had pretty big charges for international use. So I'd get a fairly large sum of money out at an ATM close to my apartment (minimize big transaction fees), then partition it out as needed for trips. When traveling (especially in touristy areas) I always made sure my money was split up in different places.

    In my experience, a lot of people dress up more in public (and particularly in cities) than is common in the US. For example, in Costa Rica I'd get a total stinkeye for wearing yoga pants and sneakers. Not sure how it is in the UK, but just consider bringing some nicer outfits.

    I love traveling, so feel free to PM if you have any more questions!
    "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

    Phoenix Animal Rescue



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar. 28, 2006
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    3,373

    Default

    You're going to have a wonderful time!!!!

    My biggest tip is to PACK LIGHT. Since you are renting a flat, which is the same thing I do when I travel over there, you can do laundry there, so you don't need to bring everything under the sun. I can fit my entire 2 week trip's worth of clothing into a carry on size suitcase. I put my camera, purse, laptop and snacks into a backpack, so I don't have to check any luggage.

    Will you be renting a car? The driving is a little mind bending at first, so make sure you get an automatic. The last thing you need to be worrying about is shifting on the wrong side while driving on the wrong side of the road. Also, if you are driving, a GPS is on your "MUST HAVE" list. Even if it doesn't always send you the way you wanted to go, you're never truly lost!

    Have a GREAT time!!!!!
    Family Partners Welsh Ponies - Home of Section B Welsh stallion *Wedderlie Mardi Gras LOM/AOE http://www.welshponies.com
    Click here to buy: A Guide To In Hand Showing of Your Welsh Pony



  9. #9
    Join Date
    May. 8, 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    6,814

    Default

    Don't buy a guidebook; they are too heavy. I buy Lonely Planet PDFs and only buy/print the CHAPTERS for the specific areas of a country I am planning to travel to (you buy them by the chapter from the LP website). Print them two pages to A4 page, double sided, and you can make notes directly on the page.

    Check out public transport before you go, so you have a good idea how it works. May cities offer a "Tourist Card," so you get discounted mass transit travel/discounts on entrance into museums. Many of them are total rip offs, CHECK basic mass transit fares before you buy the "tourist discount."

    In the UK, mass transit is quite pricey; so think about where you will be going and how you are going to get there before you go. Otherwise, the stickershock will kill you. I was in England a year ago, and we have vowed to never go back because it was so expensive.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2005
    Location
    between the mountains and the sea, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,936

    Default

    Public Transport in England is great but unfortunately has become horrendously expensive very recently. If staying in Oxford, check into buses. They will be cheaper than trains by far and nearly as efficient.

    I love Oxford - its my hometown! You will love it too. Watch some Inspector Morse on PBS before you go :-D. The only "downside" of Oxford is it is SO touristy and extremely international because of the university. If you want to experience true England make some weekend excursions. I recommend anywhere in the South Downs area or the town of Lewes, which is stunning and very "British." Make sure you go punting! If renting a flat falls through for you there is an excellent YHA just by the train station. Its very modern and clean and even if you don't stay there stop by the bar to meet people.

    I know Oxford really well and actually have a close friend who will be working there this summer, so feel free to PM me!
    "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
    "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr. 5, 2011
    Posts
    891

    Default

    Thanks so far, everyone! You're making me feel WAY more comfortable with this idea!

    Reynard Ridge -- good point. I'll have to check with the Oxford Tourism Board and/or City Guide (I already get it on Twitter) about that. I know they have a good bus system, so maybe I can get a week pass.

    rideagoldenpony -- thanks for the vote of confidence! I am NOT planning to drive, though if I could fit it in, I would love to find someone who would give me a driving lesson! My fondest hope is to take a cab to the train station, a train to Oxford, and walk or take the bus the rest of the time. (Train to Glastonbury, probably.)

    kateh -- thanks for the valuable advice, esp. regarding the shoes! I can't wear cheaper shoes, so I'll have to try to pack two pairs for sure, thanks for the reminder. And I will definitely check out those two websites.

    talkofthetown -- definitely! Most flats already have hair dryers, so I will need adapters for the cell phone and laptop, and camera charger.

    cai -- thank you! I will check those out. Have the Frommers' guide on the way from Amazon, so the website should be a good companion to that. Or vice versa, maybe.

    Blugal -- thanks for the tip on jetlag -- I'm only planning to be there about week, so I definitely don't want that! My BlackBerry is global (or so Verizon told me, they'd better be right) so I will need to check with them and make sure that gets activated. I have a feeling I will be shipping back many, many things . . .

    Rooty -- thanks for the tip and the vote of confidence! I know I can do this, I love England and I've read all the travel books and I watch almost nothing but BBCA. I should be fine, you're right!

    marianne -- I forgot about Rick Steves! Thanks for reminding me.

    I guess I have some reading to go do now. Thanks!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 5, 2011
    Posts
    891

    Default

    Event4Life -- thank you! I'm sure I will become close friends with the buses and my walking shoes. I can probably only afford a week there, but my hope is to see as much as I can before I have to come home. And then save up for another trip. I'm hoping I can get a reasonable flat since May is a bit before the real tourist season seems to start up.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 24, 2001
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    2,546

    Default

    If you're just charging a few things, check into different options from the manufacturers. I know at least with Apple, you can get different plug attachments for the existing power cord (which is just a USB end anyway) rather than buying an adapter/converter. And make sure what you're getting is an adaper/converter, not just the plug, because electricity can run at different voltages different places; I forget whether England is one of them, because when I was there last, I wasn't worrying with electronics beyond a camera. If you go the adapter/converter route rather than item-specific adapters, get one of the fixed ones, not the ones that let you swap out for different countries, because IME, the fixed ones work better.

    As for packing, pack versatile clothes that tend to go together. England is a lot less fashoinable day-to-day than somewhere like Paris, but think basic and classic, and you'll more than likely blend in. Darkish pants, or khakis, plain shirts or sweaters, no tshirts or things with logos.

    I never, ever have carried my passport around on my person while travelling. I've always left it in the house or hotel, and taken a photocopy along with me. Especially if you're renting a property rather than staying in a hotel, you personally are much more likely to be robbed than your lodging broken into. When I went abroad for six months, I made sure my parents had copies of my passport/visa and driver's liscense, but otherwise have never worried about it.

    Do have some idea how to get in touch with the US Embassy/Consultate, just in case of emergency.

    If you've got an international-capable phone, you may still need to contact your cell provider to activate it to work overseas. For instance, my iphone would have worked from the Bahamas last year, but I didn't bother activating for that, because I didn't need it to sit around on the beach. Going back to France or England, where having data/GPS access as well as phone would be very helpful, I'd activate it.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct. 29, 2007
    Location
    TN
    Posts
    1,870

    Default

    JenEM's post reminded me, if you have an iPhone a lot of people I know switched to skype for their international phone calls. It used to be free video calls over an internet connection, but their phone rate is very reasonable as well.
    "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

    Phoenix Animal Rescue



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2004
    Location
    Pottstown, PA (East Coventry)
    Posts
    3,070

    Default

    Get travel insurance such as:
    http://www.travelguard.com/
    http://www.medexassist.com/

    Some health insurance does not cover you outside the US. Even if it does the travel insurance can help you find a doctor/hospital and guarantee benefits if necessary. Their assistance lines are normally 24 hours unlike your US based health coverage.
    Travel insurance will frequently cover you for medical evacuation back to the US if you need it. Which can be anything from upgrading your airfare to First Class because you have a broken leg and providing a non-medical escort to help you with your luggage & wheelchair. Or it can be an air ambulance complete with medical professionals.

    Some travel coverage will provide for trip interruption where if a family member back home dies or gets ill and you need to fly home early some of those expenses are offset.

    Lost/stolen baggage coverage.

    If the worst happens and you die abroad, travel insurance will pay for and arrange to repatriate your body. (Morbid- sorry).

    Political and security evacuations, not that you are likely to need this in the UK. This was helpful for many travelers during the Arab Spring and with the earthquake and aftermath in Japan.

    This is one of the products that the company I work for underwrites. In interest of full disclosure, TravMed is one of the ones that my company underwrite some of their products. TravelGuard is a competitor. I am sure there are other companies.
    It is generally pretty inexpensive.

    Have fun in your travels.
    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)



  16. #16
    Join Date
    May. 2, 2011
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    3,195

    Default

    Look at vrbo.com or homeaway.com for good deals on rentals. I second Rick Steves as a good source for info and there are forums for specific countries so you can ask questions and get good advice. Have fun!
    "How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?" Julian Lennon


    1 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar. 30, 2009
    Location
    CA to Costa Rica to WI
    Posts
    885

    Default

    I have not traveled to England, but I left for Costa Rica with two week's notice and it was my first foreign trip alone.

    At the airport, just remember that they're made for people traveling. I speak very very little Spanish and was able to get through customs and everything just fine. You speak the language so you already have a HUGE head start.

    In my experience: on the plane, a little before you land, the flight attendants will come through with customs papers. You just answer the basic questions, but it will be helpful if you have your passport and flight information handy. After landing, you'll pass through the first checkpoint in the airport. This is where they'll check your passport and one of the papers you filled out on the plane. Next you'll head to baggage claim and collect your baggage (if you have any). From there, you'll head to your next customs stop where you hand someone your other paper (that includes questions about what your luggage includes) and throw all your belongings on a scanner for them to check. After that, you're done!

    Just read the signs and follow the crowds. If you have any questions just ask a nice looking employee or fellow traveler (people who look like they're traveling for business usually know what's up). It's really quite simpler than you might expect.

    Good luck! Have fun!
    Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

    Fourteen Months Living and Working in Costa Rica



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar. 28, 2006
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    3,373

    Default

    If you at ALL can extend your trip for longer than a week, I really recommend it.

    The day you arrive (which will be the day after you leave), you will be exhausted -- and that takes up two of your days. The next day will be better, but it's still hard. By the third day you'll be doing much better, jet-lag wise.

    Then the day before you fly home, you're packing, getting ready to go -- and we usually go stay in a hotel near the airport to make an early departure easier. That day gets pretty eaten up. So you really lose three days at least -- and if you're only staying a week, there's sooooo much to see and do! You definitely won't feel like it is long enough.

    10 days is my personal minimum (after having done shorter trips), but 3 weeks is my ideal length! I can't always afford to go for that long, but it is a great length of time.

    If you prepare your own meals at your flat, you'll save quite a lot over eating out. (DO try the bacon while you are there! I have a permanent love affair with it!!) I actually think that groceries are pretty affordable there, and I actually love perusing their different brands and kinds of food.

    Amazon has the adaptors you'll need for your electronics (or you can look for them at the airport). As someone mentioned above, get the kind that is JUST for the UK plugs, not the ones that are adaptable to all different kinds. The multi country ones do not work everywhere and can be a real hassle.

    I usually use my debit card for most transactions, and take some cash out of an ATM when I arrive. This has been a good strategy for me -- and if I have any cash left over at the end of a trip, I save it for next time.
    Family Partners Welsh Ponies - Home of Section B Welsh stallion *Wedderlie Mardi Gras LOM/AOE http://www.welshponies.com
    Click here to buy: A Guide To In Hand Showing of Your Welsh Pony


    1 members found this post helpful.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2005
    Location
    between the mountains and the sea, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,936

    Default

    Any of the London airports you fly into will have a lot of helpful employees, and they are usually very friendly. Just follow the crowds once you leave the plane, it is impossible to get lost!

    Plan how you are going to get from London to Oxford before you arrive in London. If you are flying into Heathrow it is easy. Follow signs for the Piccadilly underground line, change at Green Park onto the Victoria Line and Victoria Train Station is your next stop. The bus station is next door to the Victoria train station. Bus tickets are easy to buy online in advance. For tube tickets if you are going to spend a day or more in London I highly recommend an Oyster card. It is not like the package deals RR described which are for tourists, it is what the locals use. Just go up to the window (at the tube station) and ask for one.

    Good luck, have fun planning, and I am so incredibly envious. I'm not going to be in England until Christmas .
    "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
    "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2011
    Location
    Warren County, NJ
    Posts
    1,087

    Default

    Bring a washcloth if you use one. Seems to be a foreign thing oversees.



Similar Threads

  1. Microchips for traveling overseas?
    By SkipHiLad4me in forum The Menagerie
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: Nov. 7, 2012, 06:19 PM
  2. Going to school overseas -- Who's done it?
    By Alex and Bodie's Mom in forum Off Topic
    Replies: 33
    Last Post: Nov. 12, 2011, 04:37 PM
  3. Why do people buy overseas?
    By clivers in forum Eventing
    Replies: 32
    Last Post: Mar. 7, 2011, 05:08 AM
  4. Those who purchased a GPA overseas...
    By Tap2Tango in forum Hunter/Jumper
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: Apr. 5, 2010, 02:38 PM
  5. Shipping Overseas
    By DQ Eventer in forum Eventing
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: Nov. 15, 2009, 04:53 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •