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Five Tips For Travel In Britain

Edited by Evelyn Hannon

American Journeywoman, Claire Durst is an older adventuress and solo traveller. Here are her excellent practical words of advice...

I just got back from a three week trip traveling around England (side trip to Edinburgh) by train, mostly alone, staying in b&bs and guest houses, taking tours out of the cities I stayed in. I'm an experienced solo traveller, and at almost 80, experienced at being older. It was a greatly rewarding experience. Here are five bits of advice I'd like to pass along to other JourneyWomen no matter how old you are.

In small guesthouses, the single room is at the top of the stairs (think maid's room). While it often provides a good view and privacy, it's pretty awful to wrestle a suitcase up to it, and some people may have trouble with stairs. Be warned if this can be a problem for you.
If you can manage a backpack at all and are used to it, consider using it as your main "suitcase." Getting a big roller bag on and off a train is awful. You can usually get luggage carts at large stations/airport etc. Just hoist your backpack on at the last minute. Then take a little roller bag as a carry on if you have to have one.
Before you go through airport screening, empty your water bottle but take it along. Fill it after you get through the screening. Prices of water at airport kiosks can pay for a lovely cup or two of tea at your destination.
showerWherever you stay, before she or he leaves the room after carrying your bag in, get your host/porter to explain the shower. In eight different guest houses I encountered eight different ways to turn on or use the shower. In one you had to pull a cord outside the shower on the wall to turn on the hot water. I live in a retirement village. Cords in the wall there mean "call for help." What was I supposed to do, on the third floor of a top-rated B&B, stark naked, with a male host? I took a cold shower!! Someone should write a book showing the different kinds of showers, like one explaining different coins.
Seriously consider taking day-trips using local buses. Trains even in England go through uninteresting areas and have hedgerows on either side. But local English buses (be sure to sit on the upper level) take you through neighborhoods you'd never see otherwise. For example, I was enchanted, in York, to see bright yellow bicycles on almost every lawn. They were commemorating the Tour de York bicycle race the day before. In England, the Information Station helpers will help plot your journey and even print off what you need to do, on train or bus. Or, you can use an app on your iPad, like, to plot your own way.

A London Pub For Every Occasion

A London Pub London is packed with pubs, but finding a really good one is not always easy. Divided into 22 sections to suit every whim, this hardback pocket book written by Herb Lester Associates suggests pubs for cold days and for sunny ones; pubs with cats and pubs that welcome dogs; pubs for parties and pubs when you just want to be alone; pubs where you can have breakfast and some you’ll never want to leave. The guide is weighted to the centre of town, the part of the city in which all Londoners have an equal share, where friends from the south and north of the river meet on common ground.

Random House Group ISBN 978 0 091 95827 5


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