Friday, September 14, 2007

First Time Trips

On October 16th, I'm leaving for a two week "backpacking" tour of the UK. It will be interesting to see how different it feels from my first trip there when everything was so new, so mysterious. Before I left, I got all kinds of advice like, wear all black, don't wear white athletic shoes, and for heaven's sakes, don't talk! (some were concerned about my melodious southern accent)

Well, when I got there I found out that all that advice is a bunch of hooey. In fact, I wore so much black that a college student that I shared a seat with on the train asked me if I was a lawyer!

For all of you who are thinking about going to the UK for the first time, I will spend the next few postings on giving PRACTICAL TIPS FOR YOUR FIRST TIME TRIP to the United Kingdom

I'll start with some ideas for you to do in preparation for your trip. Today I'll address planning.

  • Go to your fav local bookstore, buy a cup of coffee (or whatever) and grab a travel guide book like Let's Go (for the budget minded traveler) Frommers, or Lonely Planet. These are the ones I have used. There are many more. Just go to the travel section. Enjoy the moment and read about all the places you want to go. You will find a treasure chest of information. What to see, how to get there, where to eat, sleep, entertainment, tourist traps to avoid, what to do to protect yourself, and much more! The books will list attractions in surrounding areas. You may find more "must see" things.

  • Go to That is a GREAT sight for planning your trip.

  • If you don't have one, get a MySpace account. I didn't want to miss a thing on my first trip to the UK, however, no one can see all of England in the span of one week! For that matter, a year! So I knew I had to make the most of what little time I had, and who better to ask about the "must sees" than the locals? So I went to my MySpace and hit the "browse" button and indicated I wanted to see all the women with pictures from the UK who were between the ages of 40-70. I figured this would help weed out most of the crazies out there! Then I read their profile and if I was comfortable with them, I emailed them this note: Hello, I'm Linda Apple from the United States. I will be coming to your country in a few months. If you have time, would you mind writing me your opinion of the sights that are a "must see?" I'm interested in history, architecture, gardens, and I am a writer. I got a lot of great responses. Two of the ladies were particularly gracious and we continued to communicate. By the time I got to England, I had two tea dates! Now, two years later, I still keep up with them!

This is enough to start with. Next post I'll give more Planning Tips.

How about all of you who have traveled to the UK? Do you have any tips to share?

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to send them.


Rod's Duck Farm said...

Just like ducks ... migrating around here and there. You probably knew David & Natalie White at Toastmasters. They have now moved to the UK to work at whatever it is they call Wal-Mart over there.
Quack, Quack!

Janet Grace Riehl said...

How did they respond to your Southern drawl in Merry Old England?

Ellen Withers said...

I've purchased a guide book and have been promised a trip to "Merry Old England" by my husband. We were going in the spring, but now I have the opportunity to travel to Germany in June on business, so will use my vacation visiting Germany and Austria.

I want to know all the details about England to plan for my postponed journey. Keep us posted about it...especially whether they like our drawl over there.

Jan said...

Thanks for the good information, Linda! The other links you provided were helpful too.

The one thing I wished I'd done better before we visited London a couple of years ago was to become more familiar with the currency, exchange rate, etc. I often felt clumsy, and well, dumb, when I was trying to count out money for a purchase!

Hope you have a great time on your backpacking vacation.