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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 1999
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    Someplace Wet
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    8,311

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    http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/

    train from Paddington to Oxford can be as inexpensive at 5L when purchased in advance.

    Be aware advance purchase tickets must be used on the exact trip or forfeit. I love taking the train, they are fast and efficient

    England is stunningly easy to travel in and I am sure you will have no issues. Keep your clothes simple, focus on excellent walking shoes. Leave the fashion shoes at home.

    You will get rained on.

    Customs is nothing , They ask where you are going and chitchat while the computer tells them stuff. I have never had my bags inspected either going or coming. Your bags will go through a X ray inspection with you present.

    The underground ( Picadilly line) takes you into London in 1 hour, If you are not spending time in London ( why not???) then buy a simple fare from the computer, you dont need a pre-paid card.
    _\\\\]
    -- * > hoopoe

    www.meanderingwa.blogspot.com



  2. #22
    Join Date
    Apr. 5, 2011
    Posts
    959

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    Quote Originally Posted by JenEM View Post
    If you're just charging a few things, check into different options from the manufacturers. 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.
    Yes, I will have to check with Verizon to make sure I can get the adapter for the BlackBerry and to get that switched over -- when I talked to them about it last year, they said it wasn't a big deal, I just needed to call them ahead of time and tell them when I wanted it done and when I was returning. I HAVE to have my phone, so not activating it isn't an option.

    Packing light -- God, I am a clothes horse, so that will be tricky! And May in Oxford could be either 70 degrees and sunshine, or 40 degrees and snow showers. I'll have to keep an eye on that and pack closer to the trip!



  3. #23
    Join Date
    Apr. 5, 2011
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    959

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    hoopoe -- thanks for the link! That will be so useful. I just hope the planes arrive and depart on time; if not, that could screw up my tickets. I can't wear fashion shoes, so it's good-quality athletic shoes for me all the time.

    I would LOVE to spend time in London, but I suspect that would be another week in and of itself, knowing me. The British Museum, the National Gallery, Piccadilly, Kings Cross Station (I must have my photo at Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, after all!), and for some inexplicable reason, I would love to go see the old German Embassy. Just the historian in me, I expect . . . and of course, if the stars aligned (and they hardly ever do for me) a trip to Guildford would be the icing on the cake!



  4. #24
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    Apr. 5, 2011
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    959

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    Quote Originally Posted by kateh View Post
    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.
    I have a BlackBerry, actually -- and no one in my family would understand Skype! I really suspect that they will only call me in emergencies.



  5. #25
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    Apr. 5, 2011
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    959

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    SonnysMom, thanks so much. I really hadn't considered traveler's insurance, but you're right, I will need it. I'm practical; I know I could be run over by a Morris Minor while there.



  6. #26
    Join Date
    Apr. 5, 2011
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    959

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    Kathy -- homeaway.com is the one I've been looking at most, and airbnb.com. I'm still looking for a good flat near the city center that isn't a. horrendous, or b.) horrendously expensive. The hotels near the center are very expensive, and the cheaper ones are too far away to make them viable options. I want to really be able to go anywhere on foot and immerse myself in the city life, go exploring, take the tours, etc. My main character will be living there for at least a year, so I need to know what she needs to know.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jan. 24, 2009
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    134

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    I've travelled to England by myself, in fact I'm there right now (by myself on Easter wah )... I find that sometimes you may get a customs officer who is very into their job (as they should be I suppose) so make sure you have all the details of your trip to appease them.

    I agree with what was said about Oxford being very touristy and perhaps not authentic British. If you ever fancy meeting another COTHer in a very authentic English town you can look me up in Cirencester.

    Feel free to PM with any other Q's!



  8. #28
    Join Date
    Apr. 5, 2011
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    959

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wonders12 View Post
    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!
    Thank you! I always have this fear that I'm going to be the one dragged into a back room and questioned for hours on end. Or get lost and end up on the tarmac somewhere.



  9. #29
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    Apr. 5, 2011
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    Event4Life -- thanks again for the great advice! You need to start a website for people visiting England.



  10. #30
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    Apr. 5, 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by pony baloney View Post
    Bring a washcloth if you use one. Seems to be a foreign thing oversees.
    Really? I'll keep that in mind, thanks!



  11. #31
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    Apr. 5, 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideagoldenpony View Post
    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.
    It's taken me so long to afford a week-long trip, but you're right, I have been worrying about jetlag and how that will affect my trip. I'll have to see what I can do about extending the stay to about 10 days instead. I'm not sure when I'll be able to afford this again, and I want to see as much as possible while I'm there. I had originally planned to do a week-long summer course at Oxford and then spend another week, but I wasn't really "feeling" anything they were offering this summer for some reason.

    My thought was to definitely eat in as much as possible, but I keep hearing about the great pub food; I will probably have to try it at some point. And thanks for the tip about Amazon; I'd never have thought of that one!



  12. #32
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2007
    Location
    ....in a classroom in Fl, by the ocean
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    3,954

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    Since you are taking two pairs of shoes, I know this sounds silly, but wear your bigger of the two pairs on the plane so you have the smaller pair in your luggage.

    I have traveled overseas many times, (but I am not a frequent flier like some of our CoTHers are).

    Put in a backpack:
    camera, purse stuff (passport, tickets, printed out itinerary with flight numbers, walking directions, wallet, lip balm, sunglasses, phone, etc) laptop or what ever your computer device is that you will be using, charger and adapter, snacks (dried fruit, water bottle) You do not need a large backpack but I also toss in a clean pair of underwear and very small toothbrush and travel sized toothpaste, eye stuff, my contact case, and my glasses and hair brush/comb. If something goes missing. All you will have is the stuff on your back. and a sweater and scarf. (Planes are chilly sometimes)

    In my luggage, if I am staying for more than my travel sized toiletries will allow, I do bring multi-use bathroom products. (shampoo+conditioner, deodorant, body wash. all in one plastic baggie)

    I like to make sure ALL of my clothes match. I picked up two pairs of these pants one in grey and one in black. They are light weight, you do not sweat, they can be hand washed in the evening and air dried over night and they are smart looking WITH pockets! http://athleta.gap.com/browse/produc...&pid=819227002

    No matter what time of year you are in England, it will be chilly, at least at night, you will not need shorts (also the mark of an American tourist). Jeans are heavy. If you need jeans wear them on the plane (again taking up less space in your luggage).

    I can not stress enough that ALL your clothes should match and be interchangeable. I would take 5-6 days worth of clothes with a bunch of different pashimas to change up the color.



    Take:
    2 batteries for your camera charger
    SD card
    laptop/chargers and adapters
    I would get a prepay phone if you really needed it Or do all your contacting with Skype or email. ( have traveled without a phone and its not so bad so long as you have a laptop)

    I also like the pacsafe purses. I used this one and it had plenty of room for a water bottle, small one person umbrella, my wallet, map for exploring, wallet, sunglasses and camera in a case. http://www.zappos.com/pacsafe-citysa...handbag-walnut

    Have FUN!!



  13. #33
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003
    Location
    Deep South
    Posts
    14,870

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    You don't need to take anything more than what you'd need here, and lugging stuff on trains etc really sucks. You can buy what you need when you need it. Take a flight that leaves the US early evening. Eat a good dinner with a stiff drink and sleep all the way. You'll arrive ready to go in the UK morning. Cameras and such can be a problem through customs. Enjoy Oxford and take advantage of what it has to offer, like libraries, and a host of interesting things centred around the University. Oxford is not too far from Blenheim, Stoneleigh(BHS), Warwick Castle, and Stratford on Avon. All are worth a look. There is a bus service from LHR to Oxford that is a lot easier than schlepping in to London and out again.
    http://www.tourinaday.com/oxford/hea...to-oxford.html
    ... _. ._ .._. .._



  14. #34
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2011
    Location
    Englandshire
    Posts
    600

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    Morris Minor? Doubtful. More likely to be run over by a cyclist in Oxford

    I hope you have a great time, so much to see. You must have a look around the colleges, beautiful buildings. And if you are into museums there are some amazing ones in Oxford. And there's the Uffington White horse which is nice.

    (plus, if a washcloth is what we call a flannel, of course we have them!)



  15. #35
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2011
    Location
    Englandshire
    Posts
    600

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    Quote Originally Posted by MunchingonHay View Post
    No matter what time of year you are in England, it will be chilly, at least at night
    True. We are having rubbish weather right now, late spring. May could either be blazing hot or more of the same. Definitely bring a light waterproof jacket, imo.



  16. #36
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003
    Location
    Deep South
    Posts
    14,870

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loopy View Post
    Morris Minor?
    They were made in Oxford. (Started 1912)
    ... _. ._ .._. .._



  17. #37
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    Jan. 4, 2011
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    Englandshire
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    I know that. But the roads aren't exactly heaving with the things any more



  18. #38
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003
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    Deep South
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    Quote Originally Posted by pony baloney View Post
    Bring a washcloth if you use one. Seems to be a foreign thing oversees.
    Washcloth = Face Cloth
    ... _. ._ .._. .._



  19. #39
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    Apr. 5, 2011
    Posts
    959

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baby View Post
    I've travelled to England by myself, in fact I'm there right now (by myself on Easter wah )... I find that sometimes you may get a customs officer who is very into their job (as they should be I suppose) so make sure you have all the details of your trip to appease them.

    I agree with what was said about Oxford being very touristy and perhaps not authentic British. If you ever fancy meeting another COTHer in a very authentic English town you can look me up in Cirencester.

    Feel free to PM with any other Q's!
    Thank you, I may just do that!



  20. #40
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    Apr. 5, 2011
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    959

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loopy View Post
    Morris Minor? Doubtful. More likely to be run over by a cyclist in Oxford

    I hope you have a great time, so much to see. You must have a look around the colleges, beautiful buildings. And if you are into museums there are some amazing ones in Oxford. And there's the Uffington White horse which is nice.

    (plus, if a washcloth is what we call a flannel, of course we have them!)
    How true. And I can't imagine a Morris Minor anymore without also thinking of pianos falling out of the sky at random. I will be touring at least a handful of the colleges, to get a feel for them (my main character is a student, but I haven't quite decided which college; narrowing it down to New College, Hertford, Balliol, and a few others that meet the criteria, so those will be the ones I'm most interested in joining the tours of.



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