Hugh & Mary Bowden’s Trip
England, Wales and Scotland (July, August 2018)
Mary and I have just celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary. In legal terms that is a “double life sentence”!!
In all those very happy 25 years we have always travelled with our children Nick and Sophie and have had great fun and memories from those times together.
I have been telling clients who will listen to me that they must prepare a "Bucket List” to ensure they plan and do the things they want to in life before it is too late.
Two years ago I took my own advice about planning our UK trip. This one being with just me and Mary. Six weeks alone with my wife and no children.
Set out below are planning and tips which made our trip proceed without any problems:
- Planning: This is as much fun and builds the excitement and anticipation as it is essential.
- Budget: We set a budget for our airfares, accommodation, car hire, drinks & food and entertainment. Sounds like an accountants travel tip but it means there are no surprises or big credit card bills that you can’t pay when you return and doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the trip
- Travel Agent: We used a travel agent to book our airfares and insurance only. They have more options and deals than we could ever get on the internet.
- Accommodation: All our UK accommodation was booked on the internet through booking.com and homeaway.co.uk. Our preferred accommodation was apartments and cottages so we could be self-catering as an option and more independent. It gave us more space – bedroom, living area, kitchen and bathroom. It was a great option and all our accommodation was of a good standard.
- Car Hire: While the UK is well signposted a GPS in your car is still essential. Most hire cars don’t have those as standard equipment and will cost GBP21 per day fitted. We selected a car option that had one already fitted even though it was manual drive so avoiding the additional cost. The Hertz lady said the GPS was part of the “UPSELL”.
- Local Travel (London): Oyster cards for London underground and buses are a must. They cost GBP5 to buy and you load whatever amount you want on them. We organised this before we left and received them in the post. The maximum you can spend in a day is GBP6.90 regardless of the number of train or bus trips in a day. You can top them up over there as needed and also bring them home and use for your next trip, they don’t expire.
- Heritage Society: If you plan on visiting the many heritage landmarks in the UK and you have joined the heritage society in NZ, or join in the UK, admission to many landmarks is free or discounted. Well worth doing, even though we didn’t.
- Britain Rail: Book in advance from NZ and get your tickets posted to you before leaving. We booked London/Ashford and Cambridge/London and the discounts for pre-booking were massive.
- Pre-Book from NZ: All our Accommodation, car hire, Britain rail and oyster cards were all booked from NZ, months before our trip. We didn’t book for the Edinburgh castle tattoo or any of the popular stage shows in London and found all booked out when we were there. People booked a year in advance for the tattoo and months in advance for the popular London shows.
- Finally, A Diary: Every day I wrote up a diary on what we did and where we went in detail. As you get older it helps you to remember what you did!!
That is one great trip off the “Bucket List”. We are working on the next.