Tower of London

Tower of London

Monday, June 29, 2009

Packing Crisis Averted (Maybe)

Okay, so I owe a HUGE thank you to Heather, my cousin's girlfriend, because now I can actually breathe when I think about packing. She is a travel guide and spends at least half of her year everywhere except home. She not only calmed me down, but gave me specific instructions on how to avoid lugging way too much stuff around Europe. And surprisingly, I can still take a little more than I initially thought and I was not that far off track in what I wanted to bring.

For anyone who is going to travel, make sure you pack two days worth of clothes and extra shoes in that carry on as well as anything of value or that you don't want to replace. A little birdie told me that airlines and international travel don't bode well for many suitcases. I for one don't want to find myself having to worry about a change of clothes while freaking out about how the airline is going to find my luggage.

So, for now, I have calmed down a bit. There is still 10 days before I leave, so I am sure that will change soon. For now, THANKS HEATHER! My back and my bags thank you too!

More Soon,

Monday, June 22, 2009

It's All About the Pounds

There's so much to do! I can't even begin to talk about packing right now without having a panic attack, so I am jumping to something else important on the to do list-money!

The UK still uses pounds, not euros. I knew this early on, but it just occurred to me today that they must have different denominations of the pound, just like we do of the dollar. So, I went to my old friend Google and this is what I came up with: UK Money

I am going to have to spend a little time with this page. Between the conversion and trying to figure out which money to hand over, I am a little nervous about cash in my summer homeland. I think Holly and Jess said it best in recent planning notes about our trip. Summed up, we are going to have to spend money on this trip and since we have to spend it, what better place than London!

Let me give a fair warning to anyone who is going overseas: figure out how you are going to use your money long before you leave!!!!!!! I was looking at different credit cards and debit cards to see where I would get the best deal for my money. I understand that everyone charges a fee for foreign transactions, but some of the banks are just ridiculous. I looked at one big American bank because it had tons of branches in the UK thinking it would be practically free since they were already there. Imagine my surprise and disgust that they would charge me $5.00 for EVERY debit and cc transaction. I would end up spending more on fees than on transportation for the entire trip.

In the end, it was actually my own wonderful bank, a credit union, that would give me the best deal. I was concerned that there would be problems or more fees because it is only 5 branches vs. the thousands of some of the other banks, but I was very wrong. It literally paid to do my homework!

I am obviously getting a little corny, so that must mean it times to get off of my soapbox and the computer. Next time: packing. I need a little Harry Potter magic because I have no idea how I am going to pack for a month in one suitcase.

More Soon,

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New Gear

THANK YOU DONNA AND DAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I received quite the surprise tonight-a beautiful brand new 10 mp Nikon camera! My sister-in-law and father-in-law wanted to get me something for my trip and knew I was coveting a new digital camera.

I already feel so blessed to be able to take this trip and now people are bestowing presents upon me! It's just not right. I am truly touched.

Of course, my new camera and I are becoming quickly acquainted and you will see the fruits of Donna and Dad's labor very soon. Only 3 weeks until I find myself leaving on a jet plane!

Rest assured, Donna and Dad are going to be rewarded handsomely with UK presents. I already have a couple of ideas. I probably should double check with customs before I leave. I know you can't take food and animals through customs, but I would hate for personalized gifts to not be able to make it home. Let me know if anyone has had a customs experience.

More soon...


Monday, June 15, 2009

Home Away from Home

Just because my husband always teases me for taking pictures of the different rooms I stay in when I go away, I am starting my practice with a link to -what else-a photo of the dorms we are staying in!

Click on this link an you can take a virtual tour of our dorms. We will be staying at the Stamford Street apartments.

The room is small and plain, but it has a certain quaintness about it. Check out the old fashioned alarm clock!


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hello World!

Hi Everyone,

Even though I will only be gone for a month, I want to keep in touch! Once I figure it out, I will be posting pictures and videos of my adventures and antics across the pond.

I leave on July 9th, so until then I will post pictures of my scheduled stops just to practice for the real deal. After July 9th is when the real fun will begin. Don’t forget to check in and leave a message, after all, there is no telling what will happen once I arrive in London!