Suggestions/advice for semester in England?

<p>Kid will be studying abroad in England next semester. No decision made yet on how to handle money over there -- establishing bank account there, or utilizing existing credit card and U.S. bank account. Any advice or suggestion?</p>

<p>Also, any advice regarding Eurail pass vs. local flights for traveling to and within Europe over break? Or other helpful suggestions?</p>

<p>My credit union's ATM has absolutely no fees when used abroad. Does yours?</p>

<p>Ryan Air can be really cheap provided, 1) you plan far ahead in advance, and 2) carry minimal luggage. Eurail passes (I think there are student passes through ISTA) can be very economical if doing a lot of travel in a short amount of time.</p>

<p>It's easier to get the train pass thing that flying within Europe. It's also cheaper and the time to get to the destinations are the same either way. Also talk w your bank about using the card abroad. Usually you just notify your bank that you'll be using the card in Europe and then they'll 'unlock' it.
I go to England often to visit my family and there train services are excellent very easy to get around.
Also for phones I suggest your kid get a cheap phone there and a calling card. Phone calls are cheaper from UK to US. US to UK is pricey so maybe use Skype to KIT as wifi will be available to your kid wherever they may be staying.</p>

<p>Sent from my iPod touch using CC</p>

<p>Sent from my iPod touch using CC</p>

<p>Iceland Air has some great flights to to UK, depending on the convenience of the airport. My DD flies to the UK regularly and finds it to be the best. They are very much like SWA in attitude. Best of all their hub is Iceland, all the flights from Europe & NA arrive about the same time, if one is delayed, the departing flight is help to allow the connections to be made. Last year during the snow storms, DD had no connection issues when friends were stuck all over due to missed flights.</p>

<p>Of course, if the volcano blows, that is another story!</p>

<p>D1 was in London for training for 3 weeks. She bought a sim card with unlimited data and local service, and very cheap international call. She was able to pop it into her iPhone with no problem.
She used her American credit and debit cards while she was over there.</p>

<p>W4 - My daughter will also be in England next semester (she leaves on January 9th). She has both a credit and debit card from our bank. She went to AAA last week and exchanged $200 for pounds. I know that she plans on purchasing a phone when she gets there. We are going to skype, text, and Facebook.</p>

<p>ps - She will be in Cheltenham at the University of Gloucestershire.</p>

<p>D2 spent a semester in London last year. She got a no-foreign-transaction-fee credit card from Capital One and her regular bank debit card worked just fine (and no currency exchange fee like AAA charges).</p>

<p>She got a disposible phone from Orange with quite reasonable overseas charges (six cents a minute iirc). There are apparently places where phones may be donated to womens shelters over there when you're done with them.</p>

<p>She did a fair amount of travelling while there. Within England/Scotland/Wales, she used the bus and train system, but flew to Ireland (actually ended up taking the ferry one way due to weather delays) and the continent for really low fares on multiple occasions. (She was paying for these herself, so you KNOW she found the best deals!)</p>

<p>Skype works well for phone calls, but her housing involved a limited amount of bandwidth and Skype used up a lot of her minutes, so we limited that to only a couple of occasions. Facebook is great for photos.</p>

<p>My D did a semester at U of Edinburgh, and signed up for a free Travel Blog. It was a great help - and fun - for her to post her pics and post about her day. She said it was almost like talking to us when she wrote, and helped make up for the time difference. She has it now in full color as a coffee table book. Free</a> Travel Blog - Blog your Trip - Travellerspoint</p>

<p>re: Money - She took travellers checks, and opened an account after she found out her local address, and had proof of courses. </p>

<p>She loved the experience! Good luck to you and all that get to do it.</p>

<p>My son is leaving on Sunday for a semester in London. We got some British pounds from American Express so he has some cash when he hits the ground. Otherwise he'll use his ATM to get out money. Bank of America doesn't charge foreign transaction fees when used at Barclay's banks. Otherwise, he'll use a credit card to charge items. Be careful to get one that doesn't add a foreign transaction fee -- such as certain Capitol One cards, JP Morgan, etc. He has an unlocked iPhone that he's bringing and plans to stop at Carphone Warehouse after he arrives to purchase a Pay as You Go sim card. His flat will have wifi, so he mostly needs the phone for data and texting away from wifi. Otherwise, calls to us can be made via FaceTime or Skype for free and free texts via iMessage on the iPhone over wifi.</p>

<p>I wish I was going!</p>

<p>Take a picture of the sun since you may not see it there.</p>

<p>Your child might find this helpful: <a href="http://extras.**************.com/studyabroad/europe/england/inside-scoop.aspx%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://extras.**************.com/studyabroad/europe/england/inside-scoop.aspx&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Edit: obviously this site doesn't like the link I posted. If you google the inside scoop to study abroad in England, this should pop up.</p>

<p>If you want a EURail pass I think you usually have to purchase one before leaving the US. These passes are only good value if doing a lot of train travel in a short period of time eg a month of travelling in countries covered by the pass (there are different sorts of pass and they don't cover every country in Europe). Such a pass is usually very poor value if only travelling at weekends. Also, they do not work on Eurostar (ie through the tunnel from England to France), so that would be an extra expense. In addition, this student may be hundreds of miles from London even if they wanted to go through the tunnel to continental Europe (England is small, but it's not that small). So actually, for short breaks flying usually wins. </p>

<p>I recommend you look at
Ryan Air
Easy Jet
german wings</p>

<p>Also consider that BA, Air France and Lufthansa actually often have good deals, especially when flying from smaller local airports. Heathrow is often the most expensive airport to fly out of, so look for flights out of Luton, Stansted, London City (all 3 of these are near London. Stansted very near Cambridge), Birmingham (convenient for Oxford), Southampton (convenient for Oxford and the South coast), Manchester, Leeds-Bradford, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh (these last 5 convenient for North of England and Scotland). You might also come across John Lennon airport. That is Liverpool in the north of England (I think there is a Robin Hood airport too...).</p>

<p>As noted above, there are high baggage fees and luggage restrictions on many European airlines, especially the budget ones. Read the small print! Also, a budget flight may land miles away from your preferred destination, so further travel costs may be incurred which do not make it cheap. eg Some cheap flights for Copenhagan actually go to Malmo, which isn't even in Denmark (it's in Sweden, and you have to cross a bridge by train to Copenhagen).</p>

<p>For travel within the UK, I recommend purchasing a 16-25 rail card, which will get the owner a 1/3 reduction. Linked below.</p>

<p>16-25</a> Railcard - Make Epic Savings on rail fares</p>

<p>UK long distance train tickets are a bit like airline tickets. The price goes up closer to the time of departure. Cheap tickets are released about 12 weeks in advance (London to Scotland costs over £200 walk up fare, but can be just £20 in advance for example). There are many train companies and they all have their own websites. However, they all sell tickets for ALL train journeys (except some historic steam railways). So I just use East Coast because they don't charge a booking fee and allow foreign cards.</p>

<p>Cheapest</a> Train Tickets for the East Coast > East Coast</p>

<p>I actually learnt most of the above from the tripadvisor forums when I first moved to the UK so I highly recommend them (and still use them).</p>

<p>Son did a study abroad in London in 2005. He got his cell phone there (Orange Mobile) and just bought time on it which is available practically on every corner. You can use a U.S. phone but may need to get it unlocked. We thought it was easier to just use the Orange Mobile one. He did several trips during school breaks all arranged while he was IN London. As noted Ryanair offers specials (DS went to Spain and the "special" for that was paying the taxes on the airfare only...less than $100 round trip). We got him $200 worth of Euro to take with him so he would have some "local cash" when he got off the plane. He had a B of A debit card which was used at Barclays with no extra charge. Not sure if they still do that or not.</p>

<p>Re: train passes...wait and see. It's less expensive to buy them once there. Plus your son may not actually want or use one. My kid thought he would want a eurail pass but in the end never needed it for the travel he did.</p>

<p>I've never been a fan of spend one or two nights in a place and move on and have never ever in 30 years found the Eurorail pass to be worth it for the traveling I want to do. One thing about Ryan Air is that they allow very little luggage, but if you have a home base and are traveling on weekends they are a great deal.</p>

<p>While I agree that it may be more convenient to take the train, it is not always cheaper. When I traveled around Europe 3 years ago it was much cheaper (if you buy your tickets ahead of time) to travel by air. For example, I paid about $90 from London to Istanbul, $60 from Athens to Prague, and $50 from Prague to London. Train travel between these cities would have cost much more. I flew Easy Jet a couple of times and liked it. I imagine that it is like flying Southwest Airlines (based on what I have heard since I have never actually flown on Southwest).</p>

London to Istanbul, $60 from Athens to Prague, and $50 from Prague to London. Train travel between these cities would have cost much more.


Not to mention these trips would take several days by train so it is not really feasible for these trips for a weekend only. London to Istanbul is more than 1500 miles! However, London to Paris by train for example (2 hours) is actually quicker than flying (less than 1 hr flight but allow 1 hr each way to get to airport) if you take into account the time taken getting to the airport from the city centre at each end. It depends where you are going. Also, sometimes you can go on overnight trains (usually not included in rail passes) which saves you paying for accommodation for 1 night. The only regular "sleeper" train of this type in the UK though is London to the scottish highlands, as far as I know. I've never actually been on it but I have seen it often at Euston station at night and always think I should try it. Basically Eurostar not being included in any rail passes (as far as I know) makes rail passes not really worth it for any journey starting from the UK.</p>

<p>To me, the thing about a eurailpass is convenience. Granted, it's been 25 years since I used one-- but for my first trip abroad it was just wonderful to be able to grab whatever train I wanted without standing in line for a ticket. Now I'm older, less spontaneous and more comfortable with travel....but for a young adult the convenience made it very worthwhile.</p>

<p>A friend's D spent last summer in England. As international texting was not free for her, she and her family communicated primarily via Twitter. Each family member had a Twitter account and D could easily tweet from her phone (no internet access needed.)</p>

<p>Basically she would send a text to her twitter account, which can be accessed online or set up to be sent to her followers. This method also allows others (such as grandparents, classmates, friends back home) to follow your D on her adventure.</p>

To me, the thing about a eurailpass is convenience.


But extremely inconvenient in England where the pass DOES NOT WORK! (feel free to check website Eurail</a> - Travel Europe by Train with your Eurail Pass |
You can get ba Brit Rail pass but it appears this student wants to travel round contiental Europe rather than the UK, which means in most cases starting the journey with a flight in any case.
Official</a> BritRail Pass - British Rail, England Train Tickets</p>