Travel Roundup: England, Part I

An iconic symbol in Britain–the red telephone booth

If you follow me on social media, you know that Brad and I traveled to the United Kingdom the last two weeks of February.

For me, and I imagine many of you, part of the fun of traveling is the planning.

In the months and weeks leading up to our departure, I collected and researched travel recommendations. I found many helpful resources. In Part I of this “travel roundup,” I’m sharing a few of my favorites.

I’ve mentioned before how much I appreciate Rick Steves’ guidebooks. Just like I have favorite writers that I want to emulate, Steves is the kind of traveler I want to be like. He digs into a neighborhood, city, or region, going beyond the tourist traps. His recommendations are consistently good and helpful. As a result, I purchased only one book in my planning for this trip and it was his Great Britain one.

For the rest of my planning, I searched online.

What I wear on a trip is important to me.

So I was happy to discover the Travel Fashion Girl one night while I was thinking about what to pack.

The past couple of years I have been on a quest to pack less. It’s even become a bit of a joke in our family. They poke fun at me as I obsess over bringing a smaller bag, even for trips when the size of my luggage doesn’t really matter.

My goal for this trip? Carry-on luggage only. In addition to my suitcase, I brought a weekend bag, filled with reading material, some snacks, and a few toiletries I wanted on the plane.

My luggage was just right.

My wardrobe consisted of 3 pairs of pants, 5 tops, two scarves, and 3 pairs of shoes. I mainly wore my black ankle boots (not fancy boots, but warm ones I could walk and hike in), and my black slip-on Clarke tennis shoes. At the last minute, I threw in a pair of ballet flats in case I wanted something a little fancier. Given the weather, I should have left them at home. I only wore them once.

The only adjustment I would make for next time would be to pack a lightweight jacket and a hat. Towards the end of our trip, cold and snow descended on London and a casual jacket would have provided another layering option. I also wished for a knit hat. My coat came with an attached hood, but I didn’t like walking around with the hood up all the time.

As far as what to see and do on our trip, I discovered Finding the Universe, which provided ideas of where to go and how much time to spend in various spots. They actually have a two-week itinerary for the UK. Their suggestions gave us a solid starting point for planning. Steves also provides itinerary suggestions based on different lengths of stay in his book and on his website.  

I’ll say more about lodging in Part II of this post, but I discovered a new option on this trip.

Our final three days were spent in London, an expensive city to say the least. As we contemplated where to stay, a friend recommended I check out Premier Inn, specifically Hub by Premier Inn. Their unique offering to the world of lodging is small, yet stylish rooms that maximize space.

What this means for you, the traveler, is that you can stay, say, 200 yards from Westminster Abbey—a prime location—without breaking the bank. Our room and breakfast cost just under $140 dollars a night.

Westminster Abbey–right outside my hotel!

Yes, our room was tiny. But we didn’t plan to hang out there. We had a comfortable bed, a roomy shower, and for a modest charge, a delicious, full breakfast each morning. Plus, we were close to the Tube and, like I said, Westminster Abbey.

I’m standing in front of our “bathroom,” but this photo gives you a good sense of what I mean by small.

This was a happy find in terms of trip planning. Would definitely recommend.

In next post, I’ll share some specifics about the places we visited and some of the lessons I learned about traveling.

Until then, cheers!

 

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About alwaysorange

Writer, teacher, wife and mother. Lover of the good, the true, and the beautiful. Also, dark roast coffee, home-cooked meals, good books, spending time with my family, and planning for vacations.
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