Wednesday, September 26, 2007

GETTING ROUND ABOUT THE UK

Neal and Olivia patiently wait in the tube for the next train to come along. Yeah, right!

Have you ever heard of a roundabout? It is an evil circle of traffic confusion. We have them here in the US, but in the UK they are even more wicked because the vehicles drive on the left side of the road!

Roundabouts are only one of the many reasons I refuse to drive in Britain. Heck, if I can’t walk on the sidewalk without running into people, can you imagine me behind the wheel, much less in a cyclonic pattern of a roundabout? Lord have mercy!!!

If you are the brave sort, rent a car. That way you wouldn’t have to depend on anyone and your schedule would be your own. However, in the best interest of my fellow man, I prefer someone else doing the driving.

Following are the ways I traveled during my first trip to London in 2006:

Rail Passes: I purchased a Britrail pass. You can only buy them online. Go to http://www.britrail.com/. They offer seven plans to suit most needs. For instance, if you know that you are going to travel to a new destination every day it is best to get a consecutive pass because they are cheaper. If you are going to a destination and staying a few days before leaving for another, then you would do better with a flexipass. If you are going to stay in the vicinity of London, then you would need a London Plus Pass. There are plans if you are going to one country and staying there, like Scotland, or if you want to visit all of Britain. Also, if you want to see all of Britain plus Ireland the pass includes the ferry ticket.

Since I was staying in the London area I chose the London Plus Pass, enabling me to travel to Oxford, Cambridge, Arundel, and Dover. For my trip coming up in October I chose the flexipass since our travels will take us all over England and Scotland.

Buy an Oyster! An Oyster Card is the most economical and easiest way to get around in the tube, on busses and trams. Go to: www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/oysteronline/2732.aspx

Taxi! I would only take one if I had no other choice. Be careful about taking taxi’s to airports. EXPENSIVE! They not only charge for the distance, they also charge for the suitcases. Proper etiquette is to talk to the driver first before getting in.

Be mindful of Bank Holidays, public holiday’s when the banks shut down. It is typically more expensive to travel during those days. For a schedule of these days go to: www.dti.gov.uk/employment/bank-public-holidays

This week I’m tagging along with my husband on a business trip in Branson, MO. We are staying at the Chateau on the Lake—a great place by the way—and I’m taking time exploring the best way to get to Ireland. Frankly, I’ve been pretty frustrated because it is expensive both moneywise and timewise. A friend had mentioned flying to Ireland on a small airline like Ryanair or Easy Jet. After looking at their websites and reading comments made by some who flew on Ryanair, I’ll admit, Iwas skeptical about this option. However, as fortune would have it, while on the Chateau’s patio looking over the lakeI met three lovely people from Ireland.

Bat and Peggy are from Dublin, Peggy’s sister, Sheila, is from Northern Ireland. Peggy said they fly on Ryanair and have had reasonably good experiences. Of course, any time you fly on any airline there will be frustrations. I went back to my room and checked the price of tickets. They are about the same as a ferry ticket, but instead of traveling ten plus hours the flight would only take around an hour (barring the normal airline delays.)

I’ll do some more thinking on this. I may just see how things go when I get to the UK and decide whether I'll go then.
So now that we’ve covered travel options, do you know how to pay for your souvenirs?
Next tip, Pounds, Pences, and where to get them.

1 comment:

Devona said...

The Chateau is a great place to relax! Did you get to do any of the Branson attractions while there?