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United Kingdom Travel Tips

4.0 stars

Insider advice for your United Kingdom vacation


puretravel
PureTravel Argentina Adventure Holidays 1 stars
Argentina activity and adventure holidays include history, culture, walking. climbing, trekking, sports, water activities, cruises, wildlife and nature. All travel tours provided direct by specialist local and responsible tour operators. Go direct, save money and give something back.

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puretravel
PureTravel Thailand Adventure Holidays 5 stars
Thailand activity and adventure holidays include history, culture, walking. climbing, trekking, sports, water activities, cruises, wildlife and nature. All travel tours provided direct by specialist local and responsible tour operators. Go direct, save money and give something back.

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puretravel
PureTravel Tanzania Adventure Holidays 5 stars
Tanzania activity and adventure holidays include history, culture, walking. climbing, trekking, sports, water activities, cruises, wildlife and nature. All travel tours provided direct by specialist local and responsible tour operators. Go direct, save money and give something back.

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quativia
Hospital Parking in the UK 1 stars
I have visited the UK, lived in the UK and left the UK. One of the worst features of the UK is that you pay for everything! Taking the crown I believe in obscene behaviour of parliment is the charging for parking at hospitals. The NHS never runs to time with a minimum of 2 hours delay, but if you are late, you miss your appointment. So you feed the meter (despite your ailment or broken neck) to find you have to either face a ticket for running over time which was not your fault or you have to pay double in the first place allowing the nurses time to have their tea-break. Emergencies are not graced either, you don't pay, you will be fined and instead of a night in hospital, its a night in the cell. So before you visit any British hospital, make sure you have small change and that the baby or the heart attack waits until you've fed the meter!

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JamesH
TEFL
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Hi, I was just wondering if there is anyone out there who has done or is working as a teacher teaching English abroad and if they have any advise for someone thinking about it. I'm tempted to do a TEFL or CELTA here in England and then go teach. Does anyone have any advise as to good courses to take? - there are so many on offer it gets a bit confusing when you look into it. Also, which countries are good to work in, I do lots of surfing so would love to combine that with teaching, but maybe this is unlikely as most tefl jobs won't be by the sea but in the cities...right? The countries I've thought about are Costa Rica, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Portugal, Spain, Australia. Any information would be much appreciated. James

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shreena
British Beaches 5 stars
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Don't be put off by the stereotype of grey pebbly beaches! The UK has a lot to offer in the way of sand, sea, and sun.

Britain is full of interesting seaside resorts, from the sandy beaches of Whitby bay, to the pleasure-fests of Blackpool and Brighton. Why not do a tour of the southern coastline? Rent a car and work your way round from Dover's white cliffs to Newquay's surf-ready sea. If you want a working holiday, these shores will be full of opportunity. Cities, bars, boutiques, farms, and festivals line the coast, and there is something of interest to be found for everyone.


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shreena
Cheap Travel within the UK 5 stars
With the range of budget airlines – easyJet, Ryanair et al – has come an equally discounted selection of domestic travel options. Travelling in the UK can still easily be an extremely cheap option. National Express tickets can be bought from just £1, and if you don't mind (potentially) slumming it, www.megabus.co.uk offer one way bus tickets that can be bought for a mere £10 on the day of travel, and their sister company www.megatrain.co.uk can get you from Manchester to Glasgow on a Virgin Train for just £3 – bargain! Combine this with an earlybird Travelodge booking, or a basic but clean backpackers’ or St Christopher’s Inn hostel, and you've just bagged yourself a week away for around £50. Not to mention the savings that come with biking, hiking, and car hiring. At this price, the time you spend travelling in the UK can be almost limitless.

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soulchaser
So you wanna be a travel writer? 5 stars
Doesn’t everybody?! Well, if you can write well (and that takes a lot of practice as well as natural style), you also need imagination and determination. Lots of determination. Keep your eyes out for stories while you’re travelling. If you spot one, follow it up and find out as much as you can. Take names and addresses, emails and phone numbers. You’ll only have one shot to get all the information you need to back up a story and make it sellable. Take lots of pictures with a camera that has at least 8megapixels, on the highest quality setting. An article that comes with good photos is far more likely to sell.
The truth is, you’re unlikely to be published in a national mag unless you’ve got clips (copies of previous publications) to prove yourself, so aim low and get published before you start going for the big time. Publishers want solid quality, not necessarily originality, so keep your creative juices in check until you’re established. Think about in flight mages as a good starting point. Contact the office or look on the website for contributors guidelines and follow them to the letter. Then email or snail mail (as requested) the editor with either your idea (included in your cover letter introducing yourself) or full article. Remember to tailor your article to the publication you’re approaching. Try to match it in style and length. If they use info boxes, include them.
I’d really recommend the Lonely Planet Guide to Travel Writing as a good starting point. Also, ww.travelwriters.com is a great resource.
Remember, perseverance is key. You’ll have a lot of rejections before your first yes unless you’re very lucky, no matter how good you are. Just keep trying and you’ll get there in the end.


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soulchaser
Drink locally 5 stars
The same goes for eating locally, really. I drank myself near to death in a basement bar in Bulgaria once while my two friends cavorted with their lady friends. I had the worst flight of my life back home in the morning, but I made fantastic friends with the barmen who revelled in my enthusiasm for the local liquors. Again, where in the world am I ever going to come across those drinks? Maybe somewhere, but maybe nowhere. I drank a bar dry of the most delicious rum in existence while in a bar in Cuenca, Ecuador, and I’ve never seen it since. But I talk about it – boy do I talk about it! I can still taste that sweet Nicaraguan Gold today....

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soulchaser
Eat Locally 5 stars
So you’re in Outer Mongolia, you’ve just got off the worst bus ride of your life. You’re tired, thirsty and ravenously hungry. Near the bus stop are the ubiquitous golden arches and you feel yourself being drawn into the clean, cool, safe environment that is oh so familiar and comfortable. STOP! You’re not in Outer Mongolia because you wanted to be comfortable! Turn around and no doubt there’ll be a filthy looking bloke cooking god only knows what on his little wheely grill thing. That’s what you’re going to eat. Why? Because the little differences in the McDonalds around the world are not interesting, to anyone, honest. In fact, if I met someone who had been to Outer Mongolia and started telling me that the chips in the McDonalds there are way too salty and the burgers are made from yak, I’d simply walk away. In contrast, a story about how a starving a travel weary fellow made himself violently ill by eating the grilled innards of a yak foetus on the side of the road, all in the name of exploration, deserves a nice cool pint!
Now go, my children, and eat the world!


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soulchaser
Study Abroad 5 stars
While we’re on the subject, have you ever considered doing a correspondence course? They really are great. If you’re British and you don’t have a degree yet, then you will get it paid for by your local LEA (Local Education Agency). I’ve been studying for a degree in Environmental Science with the University of Exeter which has been fantastic. I was in India last year and all I had to do was download the course docs onto a flash drive and then do the writing in my hotel room. All the research can be done online these days, as through your course you’ll have access to all the online copies of journals you could ever wish for. So a couple of hours downloading stuff from an internet cafe and you’re away. It’s a really exciting and rewarding way to study.

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soulchaser
Travelling with a laptop 5 stars
I’ve done this, and it was great, but only because I had a purpose for it. I was doing a correspondence course and needed my laptop to do the assignments. It was heavy and cumbersome to cart around, but I need it. And so, to everyone who needs to travel with a laptop (if you don’t need to, then don’t!), here is my advice.
Keep it with when you’re travelling. That might sound obvious, but if you’re using a daysack and rucksack, keep the laptop in your daysack. Never advertise its existence, so don’t use a laptop carry bag or anything like that. They’re pretty bloody durable these days, with few moving parts to break, so just keep it in your daysack and you’ll be fine. Don’t leave it on show in your room for the cleaners to find. If you can, use the hotel/hostel safe and ask for a receipt. All obvious things, but it’s worth reminding yourself everyday to not be complacent about something that really matters if you lose it. I’d have lost years of work with that laptop if It had been stolen, so don’t forget to use the internet to back up any work you’re doing, or burn CDs and send the home.


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soulchaser
In Place of your Guidebook 5 stars
The number one travel tip that I would like to offer up for your worldly-wise consideration is this: in place of your supposedly all seeing all knowing guidebook, buy a big fat paperback history of the country or place that you’re visiting. Buy it a while before you go and settle into reading it. Read the end first, so you know the recent history of the place, then get stuck into the real history of the place. You’ll learn so much more while you’re there if you know the soul of the place, and you’ll probably come up with dozens of places you want to see because of events that happened there. You’ll know about the birth of the cities you’re in, the religion and how it developed, the different cultures and sub-cultures etc.
Supplement this by reading Amnesty International country reports and getting up to date with the current political climate. All of this will inform your travel and give you loads to think and talk about. Travel is the best education, but only if you’re prepared to learn.


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soulchaser
Your Guidebook is not your friend 5 stars
Now I’ve struggled with this one for a while. I always intend to travel without a guide book and then I get scared when I realise I know nothing about the country or where to go, and so I take one. For the rest of the trip I barely look at it and I carry around this useless brick, and whenever I do get it out and use it I’m almost instantly reminded of why they’re rubbish.
Travel, for me at least, is a journey of discovery. I know that sounds corny, but that’s what it was when the explorers were out there going to new lands and meeting new people, and that’s what we can do when we go around the place. Just because something’s already been discovered by somebody else, doesn’t mean we know it ourselves. We might think we do because we’ve seen it on tv or read about it, but until you get there, smell it, feel the air, eat the food, drink the local hooch, meet the people, you don’t know it at all, and when you do all those things for the first time, it’s exhilarating. It is discovery. Guide books ruin that. They tell you stuff so you think you know it already. They tell you where to go, but the locals would have told you that anyway, among a number of other things.
Guidebooks are not definitive. Just because a hotel isn’t in the book, doesn’t mean it’s not just what you need. Just because the guy who wrote the book liked the food somewhere, doesn’t mean you will. Write your own guidebook! What’s more, when you follow the guidebook, you’re following someone else’s journey, and you’re doing it with everyone else who has the same guidebook and budget as you.
Yes it’s unnerving arriving somewhere and not knowing where you’re going to stay, but it’s also exciting, and when you find a good place it’s great, and if you find a dump then it’s a funny story for the morning.
So basically, guidebooks are definitive, they’re subjective, they ruin the real essence of travel, and they’re heavy!


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soulchaser
Minimising weight - Clothes 5 stars
Come on. Do you really need that many pairs of pants (that’s undies to you yankies), let alone trousers (sorry, pants!), tops, coats, shoes (shoes?! Why so many?!?!) for this trip? Think bare minimum. What you need is something to wear while your other clothes are in the wash, and that’s it. You need hard wearing clothes that can deal with the dirt and the grime and the sweat and the tears of travel without falling to bits and making you look homeless. Depending on where I’m going, I’m looking at one pair of trousers (pants) and one pair of shorts, both multi purpose, then a couple of t-shirts or one shirt one t-shirt, a fleece and a jacket. 3 pairs of pants (undies) and socks, one pair of solid trainers or boots and maybe flip flops. No more than that, except maybe a hat.

As long as you wash yourself and your wardrobe regularly you’re cookin’ on gas.


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soulchaser
Minimising weight – Post stuff home! 5 stars
I contend that it is a false economy to carry stuff that you’ve bought around with you in a bid to save money by not posting them home. That is, it works out more expensive if you don’t post your purchases home. I’m not much of a shopper, so I don’t really have to worry about this, but going back to my original post about travelling light, the more stuff you buy, the more you will spend on transport, hotels that are closer to where you want to be and so more expensive, drinks to cool off, etc etc. If you must must must buy stuff, then include postage costs into your budget while you’re shopping and just get rid of it.

OR – replace your old gear: when you by something new give something equal in weight away to one of your hostel drinking buddies.


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soulchaser
Minimising weight - Books 5 stars
I love to read while I’m travelling, but books are heavy things, so play the game of leaving yours at a hostel when you’re done with it and picking up something else. It’s also a nice idea to write little messages on the inside of the covers too. It’s amazing how far these things travel in such short spaces of time. Also, leave your guide book at home. I’ve written another post about whether or not you should travel with a guide book, so check it out and see what you think. If you agree with me then you’ll have saved yourself around a kilogram of weight. Journals on long trips quickly accumulate too, so try posting them home as you finish them.

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soulchaser
Minimising weight - rucksacks 5 stars
OK, so given that I want to travel as lightly as possible, how do I go about minimising weight? Well, firstly think about what sort of rucksack to take. Manufacturers want to convince you to buy their product so they add all sorts of straps and zips and compartments that you just don’t need. They add cost and weight to your bag. So try to find a basic one that fits your back, made out of strong but lightweight material. Remember, you’re not climbing the Eiger, you need something that will put up with being slung about and sat on, but not much worse than that. Two benefits of having a cheaper rucksack apart from weight and cost are that you won’t be such a target for thieves, and there is usually less stuff to go wrong with them. I’d recommend a top pouch with access to the bottom as well, a couple of side pockets and maybe a pocket on the top as well. And while we’re at it, if it doesn’t come with a waterproof cover tucked away somewhere, buy one and stick it in the top pocket in case you need to go walking in the rain.

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soulchaser
Travel Light 5 stars
This is one of my fundamental rules for travelling. If I’ve got a heavy bag or three to carry around with me wherever I go, where am I really likely to go? Nowhere that involves any amount of carrying my own stuff, that’s where. What’s more, how am I going to get between places? If I’ve got a little pack that I can sling around on one shoulder, then I have no problems getting on a crowded bus amid the heat and the stink of a sweaty tropical city. So I get closer to the place and its people and I a save money, because I’m not taking taxis everywhere. Maybe I walk from the tube station to my hostel or hotel once I’ve arrived, giving me an instant insight into the place. These are the moments that making travelling what it can be, and by carrying too much stuff around you miss out on all of them.

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soulchaser
Sarong 5 stars
Sarongs are great! Remember that it’s all about keeping the weight of your bag down. A weight-free traveller is a care-free traveller! The best way to do that is to find lightweight pieces of kit that have multiple functions. So a sarong doubles as a towel, an item of clothing, a beach spread thing, a picnic blanket, a head scarf, a separator in your hostel dormitory (just tie it across your bed if you’re on the lower bunk), a blanket, a bandage, a bag to carry things like dirty linen in .... the list is really as long as your imagination.
The hitchhikers guide to the galaxy says that the towel is the most useful piece of kit you can have – for us earthlings it’s the sarong!


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