London, UK: An American Tourists Guide -
Award-winning travel guidebooks
Home Florida - Walt Disney World Caribbean - Disney Cruise Line California - Disneyland Resort Anywhere and Everywhere! Travelers Store Message Boards PassPorter's Club Help!
  About Us  |  Customs Office   |   Register Your Book   |   Book Updates   |  Newsletter  |  Articles  |  Photos  |   Follow Us on
Globetrotting Planning Articles

Globetrotting Traveling Articles
52 Hours In the Cairo Airport
A Guided Tour
A Real National Treasure
A San Francisco Treat
A Trip Back In Time
A Trip Back In Time
Adventure to Washington, D.C.
Adventures by Disney
Adventures by Disney
Airline Security
Amish Country
An Insider's Guide
An Insider's Guide
Arlington National Cemetery
Bath, England
Buckingham Palace
Busch Garden Africa's SheiKra
CARES Child Restraint System
Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio
Celebration, Florida
Charleston, South Carolina
Costa Rica Adventures by Disney
Discovering "America's Finest City"
Disney's Vero Beach
Dover Castle
Driving Through The Night
Escape Into Alcatraz
Explore Alaska (From The Comfort of Your RV!)
Explore Alaska (From The Comfort of Your RV!)
Flying to Europe for a Disney Cruise
Flying to Walt Disney World from the West Coast
Flying Upper Class
Flying with Kids
Fort Sumter
Greeter Programs
Harry Potter's
Helsinki, Finland
Hershey, Pennsylvania
Hilton Head Island
Hong Kong Disneyland
How to Handle A "Bumpy" Flight
I Dream Of Hawaii
In a New York Minute
iPhone, I Travel
Kapalua, Maui
Keeping Kids Happy on Long Car Rides
Kent, England
King Tut and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs
Las Vegas
Las Vegas for Families
London, UK
Los Angeles
Madison County, New York
Molto Italia
More Than Bridges
My First NASCAR Experience
Nashville, Tennessee
National Aquarium
New Orleans
New York City
Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls, Ontario
Not Your Average Bus Tour
On the Road to Walt Disney World
Oslo, Norway
Passport Update
Playing the Waiting Game
Port Canaveral, Florida
Prince Edward Island
Redondo Beach, California
Salem, Massachusetts
Small Is Beautiful
Small Is Beautiful
Southwest and JetBlue
St. Louis
Stockholm, Sweden
The Amtrak Auto Train
The Auto Train
The Emerald Isle
The Globe Theatre
The Grand Canyon
The Great Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains
The Other Side of the Falls
The Quest for the West
The World's Loveliest Castle
To Rent or Not To Rent
Tokyo DisneySea
Tokyo DisneySea
Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions
Traveling Carry-On to Walt Disney World
Traveling With Extended Family
Using Orlando's "Other" Airport
Vermont by Bicycle
Viva Italia!
Viva Italia! Part 1
Viva Italia! Part 2
Viva Las Vegas!
Vive la Difference
Washington D.C.
What To Do While Waiting for a Flight
When Does Your Walt Disney Vacation Really Begin?
When to Visit Walt Disney World
Windsor Castle
Winter Wonderland
Your First Trip to Universal Studios Orlando

Globetrotting Lodging Articles

Globetrotting Touring Articles

Globetrotting Dining Articles

Globetrotting Making Magic Articles

Globetrotting General Travel Articles

View all PassPorter articles
Article Tools
Print Article
Download PDF
View Photos
Visit Forum

London, UK: An American Tourists Guide

Photo illustrating International Travel - Traveling
by Sue Kulick, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 10/9/2008

Cool Tip: Click here to get a FREE PDF version of this article, fully formatted to print and put into your PassPorter Deluxe Binder!

Filed in Articles > International Travel > Traveling  

My husband and I recently traveled to England for a week long holiday. It was a fabulous trip! It was the first time we had traveled out of the country (except for ports of call on cruises), and we weren't sure what to expect. It was a learning experience, and I'd like to share some of my insights with you.

We are seasoned stateside travelers. I can find discount airfare at 30 paces with my eyes closed. I have no fear of the unknown when it comes to traveling. And we are somewhat laid back about plans. While I generally book my Disney resort at the 11- or 7-month window (we are Disney Vacation Club owners), everything else sort of comes along in good time. We quickly found out that this strategy doesn't really work when traveling overseas.

Our first lesson was in regards to airfare. We debated whether to fly British Airways out of Philadelphia, or Virgin Airways out of Newark. I bookmarked both sites and checked and rechecked flight times, prices, and availability. Meanwhile, our hosts in the UK began to wonder if we were seriously going to make this journey. Now, I had no doubt. After all, I farewatch Southwest until the planes come home, and then wait even longer for a good fare. We have been known to book our airfare with less than 60 days till travel date. Well, not so when you are traveling overseas. While you can get cheaper fares if you decide on a last minute getaway, overseas airfares tend to do only one thing ... GO UP! So lesson one was this: When you see the fare you want, grab it. It's not going to go on sale anytime soon.

After we booked our airfare, we booked our resort. This was relatively painless for us, as we did a DVC exchange, but then we needed to book our final night at the airport. And so began lesson 2. When I googled "Heathrow Airport Hotels," I got 289,000 hits! So I decided to try a different approach. I picked a resort chain that we have had good luck with (Marriott), went to their web site, and typed in Heathrow Airport. Ah, that was much better, and they gave a AAA discount! Lesson two is this: If you are staying in a different country, give yourself a level of comfort by going with a hotel chain that you trust.

Lesson three had to do with keeping in touch with the folks back home. I am the sole caregiver for my elderly father, and while I have an extensive support network, I still needed to be in touch. A call to my cell phone company confirmed that if I was traveling to the outer banks of Mongolia, I would have had coverage, but in the UK, I did not. I needed to rent a worldwide phone that would provide me with service while traveling. And, the fine print that I didn't read was that it needed to be activated with my cell number forwarded BEFORE WE LEFT THE STATES! That explained why I spent the entire trip from Heathrow to the hotel trying to contact our hosts without any success. Luckily, I was able to activate it at the hotel using the land line in the room. A rather frustrating (and expensive) lesson!

Lesson four has to do with finances. We had decided to do the bulk of our trip on one credit card, since they would give us the best exchange rate and we wouldn't have to carry too much cash. This is a two part lesson: First of all, call your credit card company before you go and tell them where you are traveling and for how long. They put a note on our account so that our cards would not be flagged.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Bernie Edwards photo
Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Bernie Edwards

Jeff Galloway, runDisney consultant, speaks to the crowd at the 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend - photo by Belle*

Our trip would have been a mess if our credit cards had been frozen in a security measure while we were thousands of miles from home. And the second part of this lesson only applies if you live in a rural area like we do. It was almost impossible to exchange money. The post office didn't do it, none of the local banks did it, the one Wachovia that we have in town would have done it but I did not have an account there. Our local AAA didn't do it, and neither did our credit union. I finally decided to make a road trip to Lehigh Valley Airport (about an hour away) and on the way, remembered the AAA regional office. I stopped in, and YES! They did currency exchanges! If you are thinking about overseas travel, don't wait until the last minute to exchange your currency, as your options may be quite limited.

The last lesson had to do with the trip itself. I was a bit apprehensive about traveling in a foreign country, even one that shared the same language. But once the trip began, I began to relax and realize that this wasn't all that much different than stateside travel. There are lots of things to see and do, and you won't get to do them all in one trip. People in all countries react to you as you react to them. Be friendly, respectful and courteous, smile and say "Please" and "Thank you," and you will get it back in kind. So the lesson learned here is to treat the locals like you want to be treated in your hometown. Follow that advice, and you will have a great vacation!

Read all about our UK adventure in the PassPorter Message Board Globetrotting trip report forum.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Bernie Edwards photo
Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Bernie Edwards

- photo by Belle*

About the Author:
Sue Kulick is a resident of the Pocono Mountains and an avid Disney fan. She and her husband, Steve, live in a log home with their Golden Retrievers, Cody and Belle and their cat Tigger.

Related Links:

Traveling Carry-On to Walt Disney World - Avoid Those Baggage Fees last updated 3/2/2011
New York City - Something Old, Something New last updated 01/02/2009
On the Road to Walt Disney World - Doing "The Drive" last updated 01/20/2009
Airline Security - 10 Important Tips and Reminders last updated 1/21/2009
Sick at Sea - (But Not Sea Sick!) last updated 5/14/2009

Reader Comments:

So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)

Updated 10/9/2008 - Article #111 

Read additional articles from

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  



We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2014
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


RSS General PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - Globetrotting: General Travel Planning
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Planning a trip around the globe, or just away for the weekend? Ask questions and share experiences! Forum Sponsored by

Winnipeg, Canada
by Ashli
9 Dec 2014 at 2:51pm
Now that the draw for the Women's World Cup 2015 has happened, I know I'll be spending 7-10 days in Winnipeg next June. Anyone been there before and...
(click title above to view replies)

Does anyone take a vacation to somewhere just because flights are cheap?
by Huntermom
26 Nov 2014 at 8:40am
A client just told me she was able to get fares to INdia from Boston for $700./00 round trip. It makes me want to plan a ytrip even though I...
(click title above to view replies)

North West- any must see's or travel tips?
by B.M.
23 Nov 2014 at 1:40pm
This coming summer, we will be traveling to the North West. I've been planning this trip for quite some time.... and now the time has come to...
(click title above to view replies)

Total Visits: 3173

PassPorter ~ 1998-2014 ~ 16 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
News & Updates
Message Boards
Concierge Desk
Books & E-Books
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.