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Posted: 12/12/2013 8:54:09 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/12/2013 9:35:50 AM EST by Barney_Calhoun]
I'm in the beginning stages of planning a 3 week trip in June. So far I know I want to arrive in London, spend maybe 3 days there seeing the British Museum and the typical tourist attractions of the city. The remainder of the trip I hope to make my way through Wales, up to Scotland, over to Ireland and fly home out of Dublin. I'm traveling alone, so I'm planning to stay in hostels.

At this stage of planning, I'm thinking of transportation and the possibility of a rental car. Looking on Hertz's website, I see the weekly rates are very reasonable, although I know gas is expensive. Without calling, I wasn't able to determine if mileage is included in the rental cost. Anyway, considering I would have 2 weeks to explore England/Wales/Scotland, would a rental car be the best option or is transportation around the islands easy without a car? I've never been to Europe, so any general tips on where to stay, what to see, etc would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers!
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 8:55:29 AM EST
Take a jacket
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 8:55:53 AM EST
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Originally Posted By Desert_AIP:
Take a jacket
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He's from Idaho. He'll be fine.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 8:58:24 AM EST
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Originally Posted By Subnet:
He's from Idaho. He'll be fine.
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Originally Posted By Subnet:
Originally Posted By Desert_AIP:
Take a jacket
He's from Idaho. He'll be fine.



I'll be the dork with a goofy smile and raincoat watching the changing of the guard.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 8:58:25 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/12/2013 8:58:55 AM EST by b00by]
Irish girls are very feisty and loud.

British girls seem more reserved and proper
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 8:59:54 AM EST
Watch out for the muslim ghettos.

Seriously, find to where they are, and stay the hell away from them.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 9:00:01 AM EST
Bring your golf clubs.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 9:02:38 AM EST
Fucking roundabouts are the devil. I fucking Clark Griswold one of those for five minutes.

Bath is a great town to visit.

Stonehenge was simple but moving because of its significance.

The fields of rape attacked my allergies like nothing else I've ever seen.

Link Posted: 12/12/2013 9:03:35 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/12/2013 9:09:27 AM EST by Crsswift70]
Get the supplemental insurance if you rent a car. I've been to Ireland twice and needed it both time. Once was my fault, the other was when a trash truck decided to back up on my hood (while i was in it). I used Dooley's rental i think it was, no questions asked either time. Hit the Cliffs of Mohr (sp?) if in Ireland, spectacular. I also like the Giant's Causeway. Bed and breakfasts in Ireland are in every single town and village and are great. Simple accommodations, but free breakfast each morning and friendly local family company. You can get a book that lists every one of them with numbers and addresses. Best thing was, you just showed up at one you liked with no prior warning needed. They always had rooms for us, but you CAN call ahead if you know where you are stopping.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 9:04:37 AM EST
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Originally Posted By b00by:
Irish girls are very feisty and loud.

British girls seem more reserved and proper
View Quote



I'm reading, "spend more time in Ireland".
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 9:07:56 AM EST
I spent a week in Dublin alone walking around taking in history and hospitality. Nicest city people you'll ever meet.

Food is a little bland by American standards, they do not have real bacon, and a hamburger tastes like meatloaf.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 9:23:33 AM EST
Don't get drunk around any jihadi gangs/groups.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 9:27:23 AM EST
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Originally Posted By Crsswift70:
Get the supplemental insurance if you rent a car. I've been to Ireland twice and needed it both time. Once was my fault, the other was when a trash truck decided to back up on my hood (while i was in it). I used Dooley's rental i think it was, no questions asked either time. Hit the Cliffs of Mohr (sp?) if in Ireland, spectacular. I also like the Giant's Causeway. Bed and breakfasts in Ireland are in every single town and village and are great. Simple accommodations, but free breakfast each morning and friendly local family company. You can get a book that lists every one of them with numbers and addresses. Best thing was, you just showed up at one you liked with no prior warning needed. They always had rooms for us, but you CAN call ahead if you know where you are stopping.
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What was your experience with driving there? Is traffic terrible? Was finding a place to park an adventure in itself? I once took a cab ride in South Korea that would give Dale Earnhardt Jr a run for his money.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 9:28:22 AM EST
Just got back from 8 days over there last week. We stayed in Dublin and flew to Edinburgh one day and Wales another. Didn't need a car in the city center of any of those cities. There are "Hop on Hop off" buses that will take you throughout the town and allow you to just catch the next bus.

We had a rental for Ireland, and whenever we went outside of the Dublin City center it was great. It only took me a moment to get used to driving on the other side of the road but it became natural after the first day. I wouldn't have attempted driving in Edinburgh, that place is CRAZY for traffic! Gas was about 1.80euro/1.30GBP per liter ($10/gal), but we drove our rental (Renault Clio) over 600 miles on a single tank, so it didn't seem that bad. Get the higher insurance coverage, one small mistake can be the difference between 150GBP or 1500GBP deductible.

Food is the other thing that can break you quickly. We weren't paying attention and had a cafeteria style lunch that ended up costing 30euro ($45) one day, while a nice sit down steak dinner only cost 25euro that night. Shop around and avoid anything that looks too "touristy". We learned to ask locals where a good place to eat is, and they usually sent us to somewhere off the main drag, but saved us $$$

Tipping is not as big of a custom over there, 5% is a good tip, 10% will get a questioning "are you sure, mate", and 15+% will get you their daughter's hand in marriage...

Plan each day with a single "must see" event/location/attraction, you will be hard pressed to get from one place to another with time left to see a second place thoroughly.

We're planning another trip over there around May/June this year, and instead of staying in one place and taking day trips like we did last time, we're going to stay in one area for 2 nights and then move onto another area for 2 nights, and so on. We tried to do too much stuff on the last visit and weren't able to get half of it done.

Since you're planning now, keep an eye on the exchange rates and order currency when the Dollar is weaker. Talk to your credit card companies and find out which cards have a "currency exchange fee". Some merchants will allow you to pay in USD or GBP, we used the lower interest card for anywhere that would allow us to pay in USD, and the "no fee" card for places that wouldn't., it probably saved us $40 in fees and interest.

Good luck and safe travels!
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 9:38:41 AM EST
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Originally Posted By Barney_Calhoun:


What was your experience with driving there? Is traffic terrible? Was finding a place to park an adventure in itself? I once took a cab ride in South Korea that would give Dale Earnhardt Jr a run for his money.
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Originally Posted By Barney_Calhoun:
Originally Posted By Crsswift70:
Get the supplemental insurance if you rent a car. I've been to Ireland twice and needed it both time. Once was my fault, the other was when a trash truck decided to back up on my hood (while i was in it). I used Dooley's rental i think it was, no questions asked either time. Hit the Cliffs of Mohr (sp?) if in Ireland, spectacular. I also like the Giant's Causeway. Bed and breakfasts in Ireland are in every single town and village and are great. Simple accommodations, but free breakfast each morning and friendly local family company. You can get a book that lists every one of them with numbers and addresses. Best thing was, you just showed up at one you liked with no prior warning needed. They always had rooms for us, but you CAN call ahead if you know where you are stopping.


What was your experience with driving there? Is traffic terrible? Was finding a place to park an adventure in itself? I once took a cab ride in South Korea that would give Dale Earnhardt Jr a run for his money.
we just came back from a week there and i second everything crsswift70 said. get the walkaway insurance with dan dooley in ireland. do the ring of kerry. go to galway on the west coast, derry in the north. the only place we didn't like so much was belfast, but every place else was wonderful. eat your meals in pubs, with a pint. when you get to dublin, turn in your rental and take the bus everywhere. downtown dublin was really cool and lots of history. we stayed at the http://www.merrionhotel.com, but that may be out of your budget. while in dublin, go to trinity university and see the book of kells. very cool and the library is spectacular. in the countryside, it's hard not to see a castle, as they seem to be everywhere.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 9:39:25 AM EST
Don't even bring a pocket knife

And don't eat the Queen's nuts
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 9:42:18 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/12/2013 9:43:13 AM EST by cd97tj]
I'd look into flying in and out of Dublin, can be considerably cheaper. The UK tacks on an air passenger duty that can be significant.. Dublin is also an easy airport and you can clear us customs there.

Dublin is nice, west coast is nicer. Galway, Connemara, The Burren, etc.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 9:52:02 AM EST
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Originally Posted By cd97tj:
I'd look into flying in and out of Dublin, can be considerably cheaper. The UK tacks on an air passenger duty that can be significant.. Dublin is also an easy airport and you can clear us customs there.

Dublin is nice, west coast is nicer. Galway, Connemara, The Burren, etc.
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If I flew into Dublin, how long would it take to travel to London from there?


Thank you all very much for the info!
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 9:58:12 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/12/2013 10:05:28 AM EST by Luchs]
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Originally Posted By b00by:
Irish girls are very feisty and loud.

British girls seem more reserved and proper
View Quote


Pfft. Not when they're sloshed.

Seriously, the British are really good at binge-drinking to the point of being facedown on the sidewalk, unable to walk, throwing up in bins, in a way I've never seen in the US.



That's the only SFW pic I can find, too. In many others, they've lost clothing and dignity.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 9:59:16 AM EST
Stay to the left.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 10:01:59 AM EST
There is a ferry/rail option from Dublin to London. Not sure of the time though. Taking the train to Belfast then flying to London or Manchester can sometimes be cheaper, as northern ireland is the UK, making the APD a lot less or nonexistent.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 10:09:07 AM EST
From Dublin airport, we were at Edinburgh Airport in an hour on a 737, and we were at Cardiff Airport in an hour on an ATR 72 prop plane.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 10:09:32 AM EST
depends on what you're about when you get there. I went to see armour, swords, castles, and redheads and some famous pubs, your mileage may vary. Driving and parking were a bitch, next time I went I bought a britrail pass and took buses. MUCH better than finding parking - getting tickets - parking fines - losing the damn car after losing myself (blame famous pubs and redheads).
England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland are all very different, I'd do a little research and find out what appeals to you (bring along an 'English' enterpreter haha if you know one). HIDE your money and travellers checks from the damn gypsy pickpockets in something under your clothes and use your bag as bait. If you stay in hostels bring a lightweight cable and lock your shit to something secure - like a bedframe - cable through sleeves of rainjacket etc. Sleep with your passport and money in your pillowcase or put it in your skivvies. When forced into a dark corner alley by thugs go crazy cowboy American and it just may save your ass.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 10:12:36 AM EST
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Originally Posted By arex:
depends on what you're about when you get there. I went to see armour, swords, castles, and redheads and some famous pubs, your mileage may vary. Driving and parking were a bitch, next time I went I bought a britrail pass and took buses. MUCH better than finding parking - getting tickets - parking fines - losing the damn car after losing myself (blame famous pubs and redheads).
England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland are all very different, I'd do a little research and find out what appeals to you (bring along an 'English' enterpreter haha if you know one). HIDE your money and travellers checks from the damn gypsy pickpockets in something under your clothes and use your bag as bait. If you stay in hostels bring a lightweight cable and lock your shit to something secure - like a bedframe - cable through sleeves of rainjacket etc. Sleep with your passport and money in your pillowcase or put it in your skivvies. When forced into a dark corner alley by thugs go crazy cowboy American and it just may save your ass.
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Especially on trains. They are full of Roma doing the bump-excuse-me-while-other-picks-pocket crap.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 10:15:21 AM EST
The Imperial War Museum.

You will spend all three days there.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 10:15:46 AM EST
The only place I have ever had an issue with Gypsies was in Spain, never in Ireland. The young drunks outside the pubs in say Temple Bar are more of an issue, as well as the punks that also hang out around there looking for tourists.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 10:20:16 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/12/2013 10:22:57 AM EST by RogueSpear2023]
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Originally Posted By b00by:


British girls seem more reserved and proper
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Until they get drunk then watch out


While you are there find some Muslim patrols and show them how Americans kick ass.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 10:22:24 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/12/2013 10:27:13 AM EST by Luchs]
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Originally Posted By cd97tj:
The only place I have ever had an issue with Gypsies was in Spain, never in Ireland. The young drunks outside the pubs in say Temple Bar are more of an issue, as well as the punks that also hang out around there looking for tourists.
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That's another piece of advice. Never look like a tourist.

Looking at a map on a cheap tablet (bring a plug adapter) makes you look like a person looking at a tablet. Looking at a foldout map makes you into a mark.

Battered backpack or messenger bag, not free bag with logo from travel promo, all that.

Also, learn currency slang if you've never been there before, so you're not standing there going when a vendor asks for two quid for your drink.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 10:34:13 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/12/2013 10:37:43 AM EST by Crsswift70]
Driving isn't an issue, but getting used to the "wrong" side of the road might be the first day or two. I drove all round that country and hit every coastal area as well as most of the sites inland. I wouldn't say driving was any more hazardous than here, and maybe even safer as you can go a long way and not see another car when driving around the countryside. My buddy and i were mostly interested in the Celtic sites, scenery and castles. As others have said, in the big cities don't drive. Parking was limited and the congestion could get bad. Northern Ireland is a whole other country, literally. The people were different, the culture was different... everything. The only thing i really found interesting were the "remnants" of the fighting that took place there (Belfast). There are old murals in remembrance of IRA heroes and the police stations look like Fort Knox. They still paint the poles in the different areas to denote if you are in a catholic or protestant area. At least they were 10 years ago. Food is bland and can be expensive so try to eat in pubs as others have suggested.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 11:02:29 AM EST
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Originally Posted By Luchs:


Pfft. Not when they're sloshed.

Seriously, the British are really good at binge-drinking to the point of being facedown on the sidewalk, unable to walk, throwing up in bins, in a way I've never seen in the US.

http://imgpic.gmw.cn/dt/2012-08/15/20120815141417_5017.jpg

That's the only SFW pic I can find, too. In many others, they've lost clothing and dignity.
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Originally Posted By Luchs:
Originally Posted By b00by:
Irish girls are very feisty and loud.

British girls seem more reserved and proper


Pfft. Not when they're sloshed.

Seriously, the British are really good at binge-drinking to the point of being facedown on the sidewalk, unable to walk, throwing up in bins, in a way I've never seen in the US.

http://imgpic.gmw.cn/dt/2012-08/15/20120815141417_5017.jpg

That's the only SFW pic I can find, too. In many others, they've lost clothing and dignity.


You say that as if it's a bad thing?
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 12:22:49 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Luchs:


That's another piece of advice. Never look like a tourist.

Looking at a map on a cheap tablet (bring a plug adapter) makes you look like a person looking at a tablet. Looking at a foldout map makes you into a mark.

Battered backpack or messenger bag, not free bag with logo from travel promo, all that.

Also, learn currency slang if you've never been there before, so you're not standing there going when a vendor asks for two quid for your drink.
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Originally Posted By Luchs:
Originally Posted By cd97tj:
The only place I have ever had an issue with Gypsies was in Spain, never in Ireland. The young drunks outside the pubs in say Temple Bar are more of an issue, as well as the punks that also hang out around there looking for tourists.


That's another piece of advice. Never look like a tourist.

Looking at a map on a cheap tablet (bring a plug adapter) makes you look like a person looking at a tablet. Looking at a foldout map makes you into a mark.

Battered backpack or messenger bag, not free bag with logo from travel promo, all that.

Also, learn currency slang if you've never been there before, so you're not standing there going when a vendor asks for two quid for your drink.



That's gonna be difficult. I'm of Scots-Irish heritage, but I don't own an outfit that doesn't include a Georgia Bulldogs cap and worn out jeans. I'm as redneck as my sentence structures indicate.

The main interest I'll have on the trip will be as mentioned above, seeing ancient sites like Bath, Stonehenge, the Celtic sights like Hill of Tara and the various stone circles.
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