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Planning a trip across the pond, tips/suggestions/whatever


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#1 Timan

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 23:02

So I'm getting serious about planning a trip across the pond, to Great Britain. This will be my first trip aboard, and going to use this time to explore the usual tourist things, see the sights, and meet up with the god awful :rofl: Neowin staff & members if they're still willing. So need some input...

Current dates planned, May 6-13~ not looking to spend too much, so if something can be done on the cheap side, the better.
  • Flying from Norfolk, VA to London, I'm sure I'll have to stop somewhere else along the way, but whats a good time to buy a ticket. Currently running about 950$. Also whats a good airline.
  • Now, I would like to see more than just London. Only reason I'm specifying this place, its seems to be the easiest one to plan for. So what are some good places to check out? Is it worth it to take a 2-3 more days and goto Ireland/Scotland?
  • Any recommendations on reasonably priced hotel? Don't plan on staying in a hostel or bed and breakfast. There are so many to choose from, so many with low and high ratings, getting a bit lost at what to pick.
  • Transportation, everyone is telling me stay away from taxis. So is it worth it to get an Oyster travel card?
  • Hows the weather during the time listed above? shorts? short sleeve? umbrella (joke)?
  • What are the must see places, museums, football games (if they're even going on at that time), architectural bits, etc?
  • Then lastly, what are just some tips in general, I know it'll be a bit on the expensive side, with the dollar being crap. Also what type of charger would I need for my gadgets? Worth getting a pay as you go simcard when I land, or keep my current carrier?
Hopefully that wasn't confusing, but any help would really be appreciated. I am really up for anything. Maybe we can get a Neowin meetup setup or something :p who knows.


#2 1941

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 23:10

Don't go on The Titanic II :)

#3 Hum

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 23:14

Dress warmly.

#4 Detection

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 23:17

In London pretty much everything is expensive, people saying to avoid taxis, I would say avoid the underground

If you have a bit if cash then London can be great, but for a cheap holiday it wouldn't be my first choice, there are places like Madame Tussauds wax museum which was pretty cool last time I was there, The London Dungeons I remember being good, was a long time ago though

You can jump on a tour bus for a few £ and see all the main attractions in London though

Always take an Umbrella to the UK :p

Scotland can be a beautiful place to visit, especially the borders imo, never been to Ireland

#5 jakem1

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 23:38

Get an Oyster card and add a weekly travelcard for zones 1 and 2 to it. You'll then be able to travel on all buses, trains, trams in central London for the duration of your stay. I think you have to pay a £5 deposit on the card but you're entitled to a refund when you leave.

It's hard to say what the weather will be like in May - some years it's warm and some it's cool. I would probably expect temperatures in the mid to high teens (centigrade). As Detection said you should always carry an umbrella but make it a small, light one because it doesn't rain that much or that heavily in London and you probably won't need it.

If you do plan to travel outside London then be prepared to spend a lot if you take the train. Train travel in the UK is terribly expensive.

London can be expensive but museums and art galleries are free so you an see a lot as a tourist without spending too much. Some of the top galleries/museums are:
  • The National Gallery
  • The National Portrait Gallery
  • British Museum
  • Tate Modern
I'd also recommend seeing Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, take a cruise down the Thames, maybe go on the London Eye, Tower Bridge, St James's Park will be lovely in May. There's loads to see and do. To be fair, a week's not a long time to spend in London because there's so much to do. I probably wouldn't try to go anywhere else in such a short time.

London's a great city to walk around because it's flat and it's full of winding streets full of surprises. The 88 bus is a great alternative to a tour bus because it passes through all the best bits of central London for a fraction of the price - of course there's no commentary :). Football is expensive and it can be hard to get tickets to at short notice. I'd buy tickets now if you really want to go.

I hope that helps and hope you have a great trip.

#6 Tom

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 15:28

Manchester.

I'm pretty much the only attraction here.

#7 Redmak

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 15:30

Amsterdam

#8 OP Timan

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 15:31

Amsterdam


Where 2$ gets you some fun with the admins...

#9 OP Timan

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 15:36

snip


Awesome suggestions,

Now what about outside of london, I'm up for going anywhere.

#10 Tom

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 15:40

Good airline - British Airways / Virgin Atlantic.

Tips: Don't buy anything like electronics whilst you're here. They're miles cheaper in the US. Stay away from taxis as they can be expensive, however if you feel the need to go to somewhere directly, search for private hire firms - they're significantly cheaper than the black cabs (which charge by time, not distance).

If you want to get around on the train you can check prices here: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/

Places to see: There's a pretty good science and technology museum in Manchester. Few other ideas of what to do there here: http://www.tripadvis...er_England.html

#11 +Aheer.R.S.

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 15:45

REMEMBER!!! We drive RIGHT hand drive cars, mostly manual transmission, on the LEFT side of the road :p

#12 Hum

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 16:08

Manchester.

I'm pretty much the only attraction here.


LOL

#13 Detection

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 16:08

You'll need a 230v > 110v converter thing with a plug like these for this socket for your adapters / chargers etc that you bring with you

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#14 +zhiVago

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 16:14

but whats a good time to buy a ticket.


I'd say it's as early as possible.

Is it worth it to take a 2-3 more days and goto Ireland/Scotland?


Of course!

Any recommendations on reasonably priced hotel? Don't plan on staying in a hostel or bed and breakfast. There are so many to choose from, so many with low and high ratings, getting a bit lost at what to pick.


imho once I settle on the price bracket, the most important criteria when choosing a hotel is how "fresh" it is, in other words, how recently it's been built/renovated. It's two-three years max for me because there are so many to choose from :)

Then lastly, what are just some tips in general, I know it'll be a bit on the expensive side, with the dollar being crap.


You should buy the pounds locally before leaving, from the bank you are dealing with to avoid the fees. And if you pay with your USD only visa/mastercard, expect to see a 5% surcharge for each transaction. Another option is to withdraw cash from plastic once or twice when you are London (but it's riskier coz what if it doesn't work?). Also, make sure you have international blocking deactivated on your visa/mastercard. Oh and here's one more thing: if you have a 6-pin password on your visa, convert it to 4-pin.

Worth getting a pay as you go simcard when I land, or keep my current carrier?


Get a local one. Unless you have a special international roaming plan, the charges will be enormous (about a dollar per minute lol, and if you call back to the U.S or if you receive a call from home - $5).

#15 +Nik L

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 16:25

Look @ Delta for transatlantic flights.



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