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Teen traveling to England and Ireland

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Jan 18th, 2013, 08:25 AM
  #1
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Teen traveling to England and Ireland

I have a 21 year old studying abroad in Newcastle England from Jan. to June. I have a 17 yr old who wants to visit her sister for 2 weeks at the end of June. My college age daughter will be out of the dorms by then, and I'm not sure about them touring England and Ireland alone. Any thoughts? Do I let the 17 yr old go? If so, suggestions where to go and what to do on a budget. Safety is #1 concern. My 17 yr old loves the seashore so any trips to the coast would be helpful. They are open to suggestions such as molding the trip to Scotland and England to avoid any issues with traveling and booking places to stay in Ireland.

So I need to know:
1) Is this feasible and safe?
2) Where to go in England, where to stay and how to travel in the country (bus, train)
3) Would England and Scotland be more feasible than England and Ireland.
4) The entire trip would be pretty low budget.....
5) Are Hostels safe?
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Jan 18th, 2013, 08:37 AM
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1- Totally both IME
5- totally both IME if one exercises any kind of good judgment

To get around the UK look at the bargain BritRail Youthpass for folks under 26 - trains are a great way to get around - buses are too but they may take longer and are not as comfy for long-distance travel IMO - there is a National Bus Pass however that is also a great deal.

For lots of great info on British trains and passes (and alternatives like deep discounted advance tickets) I always spotlight these IMO superb sites - www.nationalrail.co.uk - sample fares and easy enough to book online discounts, which however are train-specific usually and may well not be able to be changed or refunded - most younger folk want more flexibility to chose which trains they want as they go along - a BritRailpass lets them hop on any train anytime - just show up -
other nifty sites - www.seat61.com; www.ricksteves.com and http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id11.html.

For info on the National Experess Xplorer Bushttp://www.nationalexpress.com/coach/offers/britxplorer.aspx Pass:
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Jan 18th, 2013, 08:50 AM
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If the 21 yo has the maturity and sense to be sent off to foreign lands on her own, why wouldn't she be able to travel around such lands with her sister? And considering that they'd be bopping around the UK (Scotland > Ireland would be my pick) where the vast majority of residents speak some semblance of a language they'll recognize, it's only your own fear holding them back. It's not like the student housing in Newcastle is fortress-safe. And it's not like your first daughter won't wander around the country on her weekends.
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Jan 18th, 2013, 09:11 AM
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BigRuss....the question isn't about the 21 yo travel around the country...it's should a 17 yo be allowed to go and travel around with the 21 yo.
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Jan 18th, 2013, 09:20 AM
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LaS - I think I would say, after constant trips to Britain for years now including one when I was on my own at 19 - eons ago so things may have changed but what I would say

If you allow these two siblings to travel around the U S without worry then UK would be fine - less, much less to worry about in the UK than the US IMO.

There are many 17 yr olds traveling around in British hostels and on trains, etc.

I really can't think of many potential problems as long as a modicum of maturity and discretion is involved. Anyone can get in trouble anywhere if they do silly things.

I just cannot imagine what real problems ordinary acting folks that age could get into.
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Jan 18th, 2013, 09:36 AM
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My first suggestion is to put most of the responsibility of the planning on your daughters. It'll be their trip, and they'll get much more out of it (and if they've done their own research, they'll be better able to handle the surprises that will inevitably happen).

That said, I'd have fewer safety concerns about this trip than any similar one in the States, as long as your daughters are reasonably mature and use common sense. Public transport will be easiest, as car rental companies either won't rent to or will charge a large surplus to the girls because of their ages. That makes Ireland tougher to do - they'd be limited to cities like Dublin or Belfast, or day tours of the Ring of Kerry or the like.

I did two weeks of traveling Europe with friends when I was 19, no help in planning from my parents, and it was one of the best things I ever did. It's not at all the trip I'd plan now, but it gave me tons of confidence for future traveling. Looking back, I'm sure my parents were really anxious (neither of them are travelers), but they let me do my own thing and I'm grateful.
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Jan 18th, 2013, 09:43 AM
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PalenQ
Is England/Scotland preferable to England/Ireland for a 12to 14 day trip? Do you have any advice on accommodations? Are there a couple of locations they could stay and just do day trips?

I was thinking one spot in northern England close to Scotland and another near London.

What coastline trips would you recommend?
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Jan 18th, 2013, 09:46 AM
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Thank you jent103...that certainly makes a lot of sense. So if they were to do...say England/Scotland....do you have suggestions of sights, accommodations? I know they'll want to do the touristy places, but one of the girls loves the ocean and I'm wondering what you'd recommend?
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Jan 18th, 2013, 09:56 AM
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There are a bunch of options but I might look at http://www.visitnewquay.org/activities/surfing which is down in Cornwall and "annhig" might be able to give you some ideas.

If big sister has been in Newcastle whe will know about the surfing up there http://www.bbc.co.uk/tyne/features/2.../surfing.shtml there though I understand that "richards" (think cockney rhyming slang) are a bit of a problem

More seriously have a look into the "tall ships race" which normally docks in this part of the world in the summer, go to Cowes on the Isle of Wight and if she uses some contacts at the University whe might get to sale at Cowes week.http://www.cowes.co.uk/Cowes-Week-20...announced.aspx

Other than these events its just boring old castles, mountains, museums (Portsmouth is a good base for a bunch of sea based museums) and shopping.
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Jan 18th, 2013, 09:57 AM
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Is England/Scotland preferable to England/Ireland for a 12to 14 day trip?>

Rather subjective but to me England/Scotland would be my choice - better public transporation - far better as the UK is much more dense thus more public transports - the nicest part of Ireland to me is the rugged West Coast where they still speak Gaellic as a daily tongue but it has sporadic bus service along it.

Edinburgh itself is a very nice safe city - they could do day trips from it to St Andrews - a seaside university town (Prince William went to college there) and just a neat old town about an hour by train and or bus and also to places like Sterling - ancient castle and venue of Braveheart type battles in the vicinity - neat old town.

Not sure what typical young adults would like about a spot in northern England - Lake District is great but not that many younger folks bopping about IME - consider a city like York, again one of the nicest British cities with lots of easy day trips to do via public transportation, etc.

Actually I think they cannot go wrong in UK - older daughter may have heard of nice places to go - it is the experience that is important but I think a bigger city's youth hostels are a great place to meet others, etc.

I would get a copy of Let's Go Britain for them - in London staying in university residences are also popular and there is a neat hostel in Holland House, in part of an old royal palace, night next to Holland House proper -a restored Tudor, I think, residence, in a nice area - upscale South Kensington.

I would be more leery of some private hostels like those of the notorious Astor group, if it is still around that are more like flop houses - be wary of any such hostel or cheap hotel say in the Earls Court area - these are fine for Aussies or New Zealanders who are a bit older and working in London but not the more wholesome typical youth hostel.
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Jan 18th, 2013, 10:05 AM
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I'm assuming that a 17 year old is about to go away to college - and could certainly do a trip like this on her own - never mind with an older sister.

I think your fears about safety are totally overblown and there's no reason they shouldn't organize the trip and go wherever they have the money to pay for.

If you're paying tell them the budget and just let them go.

(When we traveled with our DDs they trundled around London and paris during the day by themselves part of the time when they were 15 and 12 - and went out to student hang outs at night when a couple of years older.

In most states the 17 year old could get married - she's certainly old enough for a little vacation in the center of the civilized world.
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Jan 18th, 2013, 10:10 AM
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Perfectly safe to say in youth hostels http://www.yha.org.uk/ and http://www.syha.org.uk/.

For getting around also consider a young persons railcard which gives a third off rail fares http://www.railcard.co.uk/

As well as national express, megabus offers cheap fares by bus http://uk.megabus.com/

In effect Newcastle has its own beach at Tynemouth -surfers all year round and don't overlook the beaches in Northumberland - Holy Island, Bamburgh Castle as well. Alnwick Castle.

Just down the road is Durham, an hour south by train is York. Whitby is lovely. Across to the west is the Lake District. Edinburgh is 90 minutes away by train. Really depends what your daughters are interested in.
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Jan 18th, 2013, 10:16 AM
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I'm not familiar with much on the coast of the UK; Cornwall is what I think of first, but I've not been myself and don't know how easy it is to do via public transport. London and Edinburgh would be on my not-to-miss list, though I'd be surprised if your older daughter doesn't make it up there during her semester. As Pal said, the Lake District is beautiful, but not the most popular destination for your daughters' ages, so that may or may not be of interest. Bath, Oxford, Cambridge, and York are all popular places to check out. Depends on their interests, really.

I'd say most youth hostels are safe. Many, if not most, have gender-specific rooms, and some have twin rooms that the girls could have to themselves (those will cost more than a dorm-style room, though). The YHA hostels adhere to stricter regulations than independent hostels, so you might steer them toward those, but I've stayed at several independent hostels and had no problems. It's one of those things where you just do your research. There are review sites which will give the girls an idea of whether a particular hostel is known for being a party sort of place or not.
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Jan 18th, 2013, 10:22 AM
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One other thought - I stayed at this hostel in Edinburgh about six years ago, and felt perfectly safe. *If* it's still the same sort of place it was then, I'd absolutely stay there in your daughters' situation. It's in a great location.

http://www.smartcityhostels.com/

In London, I've stayed in two of the very Astor hostels PalQ said were "notorious" - not sure why they'd be considered such unless they've changed in the last five years or so, but they were fine when I stayed there. The Museum location is the best, in my opinion. As above, they'll need to check out current reviews.
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Jan 18th, 2013, 11:00 AM
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http://www.yha.org.uk/
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Jan 18th, 2013, 11:53 AM
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And as your daughter is studying in Newcastle a particularly apposite article that may be of interest

http://tinyurl.com/acwbtsp

and to highlight that it was a wise decision

http://tinyurl.com/a23uqgs
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Jan 18th, 2013, 11:58 AM
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jent - perhaps the Astor group has gotten better in the past several years - so I was remiss - I got reports from folks who stayed in the Museum one several years ago that it was like a refugee camp - but like all hostels it seems now they are becoming more upscale - appealing to today's more well-heeled youth traveler - hostels are becoming much nicer across the board.

And yes there are plenty other options apart from the 'official' HI hostels - the original International Youth Hostel system began in fascist Geramny I believe long ago - both private hostels like the Astors and many other municipal and state-funded ones - again Let's Go Britain keeps up very well on hostels and I would use them as a good guide for good safe hostels - I'll have to read what they say about the Astor hostels and I will revise my take on them - what was true several years ago I should not think was automatically valid today.
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Jan 18th, 2013, 12:05 PM
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" the original International Youth Hostel system began in fascist Geramny"

Not so, the youth hostel movement predates the rise of the funny little man with the moustache (and I don't mean Charlie Chaplin)
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Jan 18th, 2013, 12:46 PM
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<>

You missed my point completely. You trust the 21, why wouldn't you trust the 21 with the 17? They are sisters and would look out for each other, no?

<>

Sofar: there's nothing funny about Hitler and even "charming" deprecations of him are misguided.
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Jan 18th, 2013, 12:48 PM
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Well, my information is also a little outdated, but of the two times I've stayed in one, the worst we encountered was a tipsy, overly friendly guy in the computer lounge. They're geared for young travelers from all over, so it's a different crowd than the Marriott for sure. But both locations were clean and felt safe at that time. Might very well be better options, though.
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