Sep 21st, 2002, 06:36 PM
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Alright. I am a teenager who is bored with New Jersey. I would really like to go to London over the summer, but I am afraid that a month or two there would be far too expensive. I would be going with my parents. In April my family and I went to Ireland and after only a few days I was prepared to live there. And I don't think that it is the vacation I miss-- but the actual country. While my parents are putting my brother through college now, they still realize, thankfully, that I wouldn't enjoy a trip as throughly as I did again within only a few hundred miles. I wish I had family there, but unfortuneately-- I don't. I'm sure that families go on vacations on a "fair" budget without leaning on family-- right? I am sure that this probably is the most common question asked on these messageboards, but I should think it's one of the most important. I also realize that the summer months are the busiest times for European travel. Oh, and I was also wondering if a teenager could just walk out of a hotel alone in London and be relatively safe-- well, just as safe as New York, anyway? When we went to Ireland there were few opportunities to just leave the hotel and wander around the towns and cities. We were on a tour, a very scheduled one, so we had few chances or little energy to just start walking around towns. Thank in advance for answers.
Sep 21st, 2002, 07:50 PM
Jim Rosenberg
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London is both safe and expensive, comparatively speaking. Not knowing your parents' situation, a month or two might be a lot of time for them to cut loose.

Perhaps you could check out foreign exchange programs -- such as AFS -- and plan to put international experiences into your future educational plans. Eventually, (like the rest of us here), you will have to take matters into your own hands. I might add that you already have a head start over many of us who didn't have the opportunity to travel internationally while growing up.

If you research the possibilities and visualize how you can make things happen for you looking forward, then there is a very good chance that they will. Be practical, strategic and patient -- but relentless!

Sep 22nd, 2002, 04:46 AM
Posts: n/a
Most of London is at least as safe as most of New York, and there are TONS of things for a teen to do.

For economical long-term vacations, you should look into home exchanges. We stayed in London in a 5-bedroom townhouse for 3 weeks, and also had the use of the family car -- for free! If your family's home is within a reasonable commute ot NYC, you won't have any trouble finding an exchange. Late fall is the time when many of them are arranged, though, so It's time to start thinking about it.

Many people find the concept of home-exchanging to be scary, but remember -- while that other family is in your house, you're in theirs! Go to any of the home exchange web sites, and you'll learn a lot. I would strongly recommend that for your first exchange, you switch with an experienced family; some have done literally dozens of exchanges. Try or
Sep 22nd, 2002, 01:23 PM
Posts: n/a

Many colleges in England rent their dorm rooms to tourists during the summer. The cost is considerably lower than a hotel and I suspect you're young enough to deal with sharing a bath and less than fancy amenities.

I know there are websites that discuss these kinds of arrangements; it's something you might want to consider. You might even want to think about actually taking a summer course. It will provide you with instant companions and valuable experience.
Sep 22nd, 2002, 04:50 PM
Posts: n/a
Wow, thank you. I had never heard of any of those ideas before. All seem really good and sensible, especially that house exchanging thing- very interesting. Thanks again.
Sep 23rd, 2002, 06:34 AM
Dave White
Posts: n/a

Yes, London can be an expensive place to stay, but you've gotten some good advice here about less expensive options. University dorms can be a really good, low cost way to go. One web site to look at--and there are many others--is:

Click "accomodations" on this page

Regarding safety in London. My teenage son spent several days touring London on his own this summer while us parents went our separate ways in the city. Granted, my son knows the Underground system and can get around London pretty well, but I was not really concerned about his safety. London is realatively safe for a large city.

The problem for a first time visitor is that London is huge and the streets are not in neat, numbered blocks like New York. So it is easy to get lost. Take a good map and it is also easy enough to ask directions since the locals speak English--maybe a little differently, but its no harder to understand than a "Jersey" accent (just kidding).

Enjoy your trip, if you can swing it

David White

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