Moving to the UK

Jul 17th, 2011, 08:59 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 4
Moving to the UK

I am moving to London with my husband and three year old sometime in 2011 and will be working there for a year. We want to do extensive travel all over Europe during our time abroad (hitting as many countries as we can). We will have some vacation time during the year, but are looking at trying to see as much as possible during weekends. What is the most cost effective way for us to travel as a family and make the most of our new home? We are savy travelers so any advice is appreciated.
alisteff is offline  
Jul 17th, 2011, 09:19 PM
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The budget airlines. Try either or for cheap flights.
kybourbon is offline  
Jul 17th, 2011, 09:28 PM
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Part of what I posted on the OP's other thread (posted on the Travel Tips forum)

>> . . . As for your general question, the 'most effective' mode of transport will depend on specifically where you are going. Trains are best for some journeys, flying is best for others -- and renting a car is the only effective way for a few destinations. . . <<
janisj is offline  
Jul 17th, 2011, 09:54 PM
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"are looking at trying to see as much as possible during weekend"

Be very realistic about what you can really see over a weekend.

If normal working hours are till 5.30 (and few London office cultures tolerate short-term workers disappearing any earlier: it's astonishingly easy for expatriate colleagues to get a reputation as workshy tourists), you'll struggle to get a flight much earlier than eightish. Given the hour you will lose to time change, that means you'll arrive at your continental hotel just in time to go straight to bed.

Unless you (and the three-year-old)like getting up before four on Monday mornings, you need to leave by mid-afternoon on Sunday. So you've effectively got 36 hours. Fine for Britons wanting a bit of cheap booze, a couple of decent meals and a few hours meandering around a photogenic marketplace: but don't delude yourself you actually see Lithuania in those 36 hours.

By American standards, you have lots of real holiday time. We have relatively few public holidays here, and plane fares hit the stratosphere during those holiday weekends.

The best way to make the most of your new home isn't to delude yourself you acquire much useful experience hanging round Luton airport departure lounges weekend after weekend. It's actually getting to know a new culture properly: in this case, wall-to-wall exposure to Radio 4, joining local activities, reading tabloid newspapers and making use of London's formidable resources of theatres, choirs, clubs and human resourcefulness
flanneruk is offline  
Jul 17th, 2011, 11:51 PM
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Further to Flanner's post, there is so much to see within a 50-mile radius of London that I would focus most regular weekends on London and environs. Further away but good for a weekend are York, Chester and many others.

Save the longer trips for long weekends and vacation time.

Airfares will be high over UK holidays but nothing compared to what flying from the States would cost. For budget airlines we've had good experiences with Easyjet out of Gatwick and Flybe from Southhampton (good rail connections). Just carefully follow all the T's and C's.

Enjoy London, what a great experience! Very haooy for you.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Jul 17th, 2011, 11:53 PM
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Welcome to the UK!

I agree that Friday - Sunday doesnt give much time but there are some trips that you CAN do over a weekend.

Paris/Lille - easy on the eurostar, book 4 months out for the cheapest price

Amsterdam - we took the overnight ferry on Friday and then returned on the overnight ferry Sunday night and went straight to work on Monday, no problem.

Lots of places in Britain - York, New Forest, Bath...

As for methods of transport - there are lots of cheap airlines that are perfectly fine (watch out for hefty luggage charges if you are over limits etc)

In the UK, trains are great, but to get to some areas you may need to rent a car.

jamikins is offline  
Jul 18th, 2011, 01:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
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"watch out for hefty luggage charges if you are over limits etc"

You have to watch out for hefty luggage charges if you take any hold baggage. Some are now charging around £30 each way. For a weekend, you should get away with cabin baggage, but your three year old may not qualify for his own allowance, depending on the airline.
Lifeman is offline  
Jul 18th, 2011, 03:10 AM
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Keep an eye on the UK media for info on short breaks. The major broadsheet papers have special supplements, and the tabloids (and even some local papers) will do occasional cheap fare promotions.

My own paper is full of tips and ideas:
PatrickLondon is online now  
Jul 18th, 2011, 09:38 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 4
Thanks so much everyone for the great advice and great links to discount airfare. I plan to travel all around the UK and take full advantage of being there. I have travelled all around Europe in the past, but didnt get much time in the UK so im really looking forward to that.
alisteff is offline  
Jul 18th, 2011, 09:57 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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I agree with everyone that says to focus on London and the surrounding areas, saving the big trips for long weekends and holidays. There are several! Here's a link to the 2012 calendar. As you can see, if your employer gives Christmas Eve off (some do, some don't) Christmas and Boxing Day make a five day weekend. In June the Bank Holiday is combined with the Diamond Jubilee, giving you a four day weekend.

One thing to think about is that children start nursery in the UK at 3. Children are given five 1/2 day sessions a week. If your chosen nursery is more expensive than the gov't set rate you just pay the difference. This is optional of course, not mandatory. It really is play based -- no one is sitting toddlers at desks to do sums! It may be a good way to put down some roots, make some mum friends, experience the culture in a different way. This also gives you a couple of hours each day to explore on your own! Although you are foreigners, I think if you pay council tax (sort of like property tax) you should be eligible. We're expats and our son attended nursery using this plan.
BKP is offline  
Jul 18th, 2011, 05:45 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2011
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Thanks for the info about school for my 3 year old! Currently, our son is enrolled in Montessori school here in the states and we would like to continue with this in London. What a huge difference if we could get some of that cost covered- you guys are clearly doing things right! We are excited for this adventure!!
alisteff is offline  

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