Carry on Luggage is Your LIfe

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Getting There

For mental prep for traveling this summer, I have been researching my miniscule in flight cabin storage accommodations and what really needs to be in the flight bag. Since in some respects I lucked out last year on the way in, I may not be so lucky this time.

Stock Up on The Personal Products

The fact is, no matter how many tiny travel bottles you fill, they will leak or barely get you through a few days. You will need to stock up. I found it was just easier to do this than be concerned with wet goopy clothes on arrival. Luckily traveling in the U.K. Before taught me a few things. Most supermarkets like we think of them, are usually outside major cities. In the cites you will have Apothecaries and Chemists like Boots. You can get most of your real needs basics here. Plan on a budget of about £/€ 25.00 to stock up.

Baggage Loss/Delay

Not a pessimist, not I. Sorry, I experienced luggage loss, excuse me, misplacement, last year on the trip home. Well, at least I got there. Problem was I had borrowed the larger case and found it to be a pure nuisance. I think the cursing and swearing contributed to the luggage just deciding to disappear on the way back. However this is really bad if its misplaced on the start of your trip.

So, you should know by now that whether you fly domestic or abroad, you should have a change of clothes in your carryon luggage. Make it three days. That is the average time that misplaced luggage can take to get back to you, and woe be you if you are immediately leaving your airport city and won’t be around. What else should you consider about this tiny bag space for carry on?

Wheels, yes. Make sure wheels are not too bulky or will catch easy. If they are bulky the airlines may default to check in as that can ad to the width.

Luggage Size
Carry on luggage is shrinking. We have been spoiled here in the Us where we insist on brazenly taking everything with us. Can’t do it on international flights. Especially if you are riding smaller planes traveling between countries, they will tag your bags and cram into the hold.

Contents
You need to pack 3 days of basic clothing in a tiny space, plus make sure you have all necessities to exist. That means all the hygiene and medicines that you must have, and it is better to carry that in your personal bag. Most flights allow you a small personal bag, however some are restricting this. If you have medicines such a insulin or any lifesaving epi pens. These you should check with airlines about as they are considered under pressure objects. Makeup, everything needs to survive the banging around you will do. Also plan to be inspected. Bring laundry soap in a pod or soap leaves as you will need to launder, especially f the main bag goes missing. Don’t forget your electronic devices and power converter, which should really be in your personal items in case they decide to put your carry on as checked.

Electronic Devices: Call the airline before you travel. The US has been restricting the laptop and phone policies for travelers coming in. Other countries may start restricting these to checked baggage as well, so call the airlines before you depart.

Hold Baggage
Hold baggage sizes for most European airlines at the time of this writing average 50 to 52 inches total width, measuring a total of L x W x H. Always check all airlines you may be flying with, including any smaller flights. Getting a bag just under this size helps you to not have that excess baggage fee. Thinking about what you really need to pack is what you need to do next. Keeping it basic is best. I found that having 3 to 4 pairs of jeans and a few more pairs of tee shirts was the mainstay, maybe one dress if I get to go to a play. Buy dress shoes there? Yes, a lot of people like to shop while traveling and dealing with less bulk may be the thing to do. What to pack, the rest of what you need. Check articles for where you are traveling to and see if there are helpful hints.

Basically, whatever you would wear if traveling to Portland or San Francisco. Layers.

Travel Tips and Hints for Packing
http://www.traveling-savage.com/2016/05/18/know-before-you-go-packing-scotland/ Great practical tips on packing
http://travelfashiongirl.com/what-to-pack-for-trips-to-scotland/
http://www.scotiana.com/what-to-pack-for-a-trip-to-scotland/


Curse of the Curly Haired Traveler

Many women I have met have remarked how lucky I am to have such curly hair. I have often found it so odd that many women really get into the straight, sleek look to fight their curls, the maintenance on this alone is a forturtune. And how do you keep it up during travel? Spend hours on flat ironing many of us curly girls do, but the equipment needed and using power conversion, what a headache. No one is ever satisfied. But traveling with curls, especially out of the country, can be quite a bother.

Travel hint: bring a sock defuser for drier, or use your sock.

Curls are special, and they need to be treated as the wild, live things they are. You straight hair ones can just comb and be done, us curlies gotta keep it under control. So hard to do when traveling as you have to have an arsenal of product to control it. You could just braid it, as one person said to me. Problem is curly hair really shouldn’t be braided. It snaps and breaks or starts creating Rasta braids immediately. So, finding products that work without blowing your whole travel budget is a must.

Then come the fun part. Finding hair care products that will work. Ask any curly, they are not all the same and once you find a routine that tames, having to use other products can really get your dander up. Now, try shopping in another country where you may find some of the personal care products you are familiar with, but they don’t work with curly hair. Some of the companies and conglomerates that own supermarket brands are international or even owned by British companies. Problem is that most of us curlies can’t use these products, they just don’t work. We have sponge hair, the product can just sit there. They are for the normals, the straight haired no fuss people. It’s tragic being different.

You can only travel with very limited supplies of any liquid due to airlines regulations. Traveling with tiny containers is a true pain, and when you have long curly hair that one container is just one use. So, hot off the plane in Glasgow I started my mission. Find shampoo or at the very least hair conditioner and controlant of gel to combat the soft water. That’s right, the bane of curly hair, soft water. Every town in Scotland had their soft water, because you have to remember that the water is not going to be like where you live, water is unique to its filtration and percolation path. So minerals and such can just add to the frizz. Why the fuss? My hair is big, and fitting in an elevator or other close confines is very important. Never mind making sure others can fit in with you.

Oh, and many US products like DevaCurl are not imported, they use an ingredient that may not be approved by UK standards for import. I found this out about halfway through my trip. They also don’t have Ulta there, yet. So you need to hunt a bit in the shopping malls. Or research ahead of time using a product search in the UK and Ireland. Here’s some of what I found on my last trip.

The bare minimum is get a deep conditioner, leave in curl creek, and gel. This should help combat most of the soft water frizzy frustration. Be prepared for sticker shock on products.

Added problem for me, very scent sensitive. Let’s just not go there.
Sally Express, Sally Beauty UK
http://www.sallyexpress.com/

We have this chain in the US, so seeing a familiar name was a relief. But they don’t carry all the products we have in the US and Canada. The still sell some of the professional Clairol and L’Oreal products we are familiar with, but the other brands are UK. Which can be a good thing since the UK has better ingredients governance and regulations than the US does. If you look online, you will not recognize the brands unless you have been in the UK. Did find a deep conditioner here that helped make it through most of the trip.

Boots UK Chemists
http://www.boots.com/toiletries/hair
Boots does have a high end section in their hair care department. There is a wall of products, many of them sold in the US that you will recognize. One of these is Bumble and Bumble, which does have some curly hair options and lines, but I have bumbled with these and found that they tend to be goopy. I was able to use the curl defining creme to help get by. They also carry Mixed Chicks line which works for some curlies.

Unite Hair
http://www.unitehair.co.uk/
Some of the products from this line work well for my curls, the 7 Seconds product is great. You may need permission to get into the site as it’s UK based and accessing from US can be spotty.

British Curlies
http://www.britishcurlies.co.uk/
Or contact the experts. Filled with other curly haired people looking for products. Check out the forums, I am. Find out best places to stock up at the beginning of your trip. They will also know your water type concerns if you ar in certain areas.

Articles

Turn Your Frizz into Curls
While you may not want to get a cut from a salon you don’t know, and of course it takes a while to find and trust a hairdresser, look for a salon that specializes in curly cuts, and if you walk in and someone on staff has curly hair, you will have an ally. We all hate having to be the whiner at the counter, but if you find a curly haired soul sista or brotha dresser you can look into their eyes and say, “ So with the water here and the fact I need to buy product, any advice ?” I walk in and just hold my hair up and go, “Well, about this”. Also, you don’t need to get a cut if not comfortable, just maybe a treatment since your hair may be in a daze from travel and water adjustments, not to mention airlines seats giving you a Rasta treatment, :-).

Also, sticker shock will happen. VAT tax and hair care products pricing can add up. Though some product lines in the US are quite spendy, with most averaging $25.00 a bottle on the high end products.

Glasgow
Belle And Blackley
Alan Edwards (Hey the dressers got curly hair, go to the City Centre salon)

Edinburgh
Medusa (need I say more)
http://www.medusahair.co.uk/

London
3thirty Hair
http://www.3thirty.co.uk/

Dublin
The Curly Look (by Appointment, contact them first)
http://www.thecurlylook.com/

The Natural Cut
http://www.thenaturalcut.ie/

Saturday Travel Musings: Glasgow

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It’s another rainy April day here in Portland, and the petals are flying from the trees. A young hipster is wearing a Ramones tee, and I fondly remember my first tee back in the Uni Days. I am drinking coffee in the Hawthorne and planning my escape. Thinking about my travels in 2 months and reading a local digital paper for Glasgow, Scotland since I will be going back in July. I highly recommend you read the local rags online for what cities you will visit. It helps get you ready to plan on what you can do while there and it’s highly intertaining to see that your town is not the only weirdville around. Not to mention that things sell out like theatre and music shows, so visiting the local indie papers for What’s On is a good deal. get a feel for your adventure in urban exploration.

Planning out the visit, I had been thinking about where to eat. Being foodie is crucial on vacation as it is for the rest of the year. Glasgow has definitely got the eats. As in my previous article on socially conscious eating, I had mentioned finding cafes and restaurants that give back to the community. In reading Glasgowlive.com the last few months, I had been tracking a feature on a cat cafe opening to benefit cat rehoming schemes, The Purrple Cat will be at 2 Trongate this July. I’m there, love a good cat cafe. But not to leave out the dogs in this dog loving town, because I know I met quite a few last summer there. If you want to visit with dugs while visiting this town or others in Scotland, check out the dugswelcome.com page to find food, drink, and dug friendly spots. Even if you can’t bring Fido on your travels, you can meet other dug friends in these places. An hey, most of them still have their tails.

http://www.glasgowlive.co.uk/whats-on/food-drink-news/location-finally-revealed-glasgows-new-12923091

Glasgow Science Centre

I also see that Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon album will be celebrated at the Glasgow Science Centre tonight, with tickets having sold out some time before. I remember my first planetarium experience with a light show and Floyd back in the early Uni days in California. I can tell you the technology has advanced greatly since then and this show looks really amazing. So popular that they had to extend showings until May and June. So if you are traveling to their city you may want to hook up at the tickets page if you can before they sell out. Sorry to go on, but this iconic album is always made spectacular by added show, so enjoy if you can. Here’s hoping they can add on July.

What city are you traveling to this month and what’s on there?


Photos by Lonni and Alastair McMillan

STOBART/AER LINGUS Review

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Stobart/Aer Lingus

Stobart Air started out as Aer Arann, that was my flight. Ireland’s national airlines is Aer Lingus. When traveling on a super saver airline ticket, the main airline may be listed, but in truth you are traveling via another airline they partner with, thus my budget flight sold through Stobart became Aer Lingus. So, always read the small print from your itinerary as you may stand in line at the wrong check in for an hour. This was my introduction to Aer Lingus. This is the main airline that is associated with Ireland travel, and even though I was for Scotland, my stop hop was in Dublin, where I boarded one of their little match stick planes for the last hop.

The flight over the Atlantic was actually pretty good. The staff was “very welcome”, and surprisingly there was actual leg space in economy. Then there was the Irish telly programs on the in flight choices and I watched quite a bit of Irish drama. The food was fairly good light fare, and well, traveling at night and seeing a constant sun at the North Pole was something amazing. Sad thing was, I was visiting Scotland, so when I landed as entry, I barely stepped foot on the green isle.

Baggage and transfer went fairly smooth considering. Reminder US travelers, get smaller bags. Overhead baggage is getting very confined, restricted and they will snag your bag and put it in the hold. You may get that extra baggage fee in that case. I have to say the only problem I have encountered with Aer Lingus is the advertised costs of flying. If you are booking directly with them, the pricing is a bit high. If you end up on them from another partner airlines, it’s usually more reasonable. When I flew from Dublin to Glasgow on the commuter plane, I talked with a native Dub for a while and she introduced me to to better flying schemes for this next visit, how to use the smaller airlines to advantage for between the islands and to the continent. But for the larger flight across the Atlantic, Aer Lingus was a good choice, even if it was sub contracted.

Travel Dates or Solo: Any Travel Bloggers Out There Want a Meet Up?

Sitting in a cafe in the PDX, listening to Reggae on an Easter afternoon, I ponder the traveling adventure I am about to embark on in two months. I often find traveling alone has it’s drawbacks. One is that you sometimes try to share out what a great experience you are having with some fellow traveler nearby and they give you the glare, the what are you doing disturbing my vay cay thing. Really sad. Then there are the ones that if you even say “Good Morning” to want to glom onto you and vampire your day. It’s one extreme to another sometimes. I usually hang in public with myself, people watch and probably smirk too much to myself. It’s amazing how much complaining some will do while on vacation. Rooms suck, food sucks, whatever. Usually they are ‘Mericans and a few pensioners from the UK really had me in stitches last trip. Travel is a work. Seriously, getting to any destination is going to take effort, and with the luck I have had, rail strikes and whatnot, it will be again. The trick is to just let it go as part of the adventure. Don’t get me wrong, I drip of sarcasm most days and can outdo many a person on that front. I just try so hard to not do it when traveling because I have just waited too long to get back at it, why waste the time? But there is some fun in commiseration if done right. So maybe meeting up intentionally with a group is the ticket.

So, if you are stuck on your own traveling, or by choice, but would still like to maybe meet fellow enthusiasts and just talk about fabulous experiences, try to arrange a meet up in a city you plan to visit. But how? There are plenty of web resources out there. If you have used one not listed her, let me know and I will add it to the list.

Oh, and I am in these cities on these dates.  Better warn them.

Glasgow: July and August 2017

Dublin: July

Galway: July Arts Fest, are you going?

Belfast: July

Skye: Aug

Inverness: Aug

Edinburgh: Aug Fringe Festival, are you going? 70th Anniversary

Trip Together

https://www.triptogether.com

Website offers a travel meeting/dating like arrangement thing. You can arrange to either meet or start travels together with other people. Granted, in looking at this site I see an awful lot of good looking women and would caution that some may be using this as a pure hook up situation. Hope that’s not the case, but if that’s what you want, hey.

Go Girl Guides

http://gogirlguides.com/

Women travelers meet ups, and travel tips. They are expanding to having travel groups meet in various cities so you can meet others planning to travel, maybe find some compatible people to travel with.

Solo Traveler World

https://solotravelerworld.com/

Website dedicated to the solo traveler and many great articles or travel. You are alone, but not alone here.

Meet Up

https://www.meetup.com

It’s worldwide and many people create groups. Each city has it’s own flavors, but most have a travel meetup group or a few. Contact a bit ahead of time and see if they are still meeting and get on the list if it’s a day you may be in that city. Everyone has an adventure to share.

Note: Always proceed with caution on any site where meeting strangers may happen. Sadly there are some real toads out there, to downright villains. I have read of travelers getting harmed in their travels, so just be cautious. Looks at reviews on the site if they have them, see if there have been any complaints. Good luck.

Best of the Online Travel Guides: So Many Choices

33550586520_efb665b672An update and furthering of reviews online booking platforms as you gear up for the spring and summer travel seasons.

There are so many travel guides online it’s overwhelming. There are so many places to book your stay, and they may all list at several booking sites. Many of these sites come with travel guides included, but they may be very limited. Tourism is a huge industry and everyone wants their piece. How do you claw through it all and find one that really works for you? You have to glance through a few and check out the features. Then you have to decide if the choices you are being given are relevant. It’s travel in the digital age, we rely too heavily on the apps and web resources. Did you get your hard copy map yet? I must confess that I use my cell phone a great deal, take along a battery pack as the data usage will suck it up.

I have booked my itinerary with Booking.Com this year because I can access it with the app and change things. Last year I used Expedia and well, wasn’t too happy with some of the results. You get better with practice. I have found that since I had made so many plans and had to readjust my booked places due to one property being sold (that was a fun alert I can tell you). So far any of the features such as contacting the property owners has been pretty useful. There are several sites like this, last year I used TripAdvisor.com mainly, but found some things a bit chunky, and well the reviews are skewed to the hotels viewpoint. If you want to get real with the location you are going to, you need to find more real travel sites. You can start with local tourism sites and dig for information on the neighborhoods.

The Basic Travel Bonanza Sites

Domestic Sites to US and Canada, but covers world travel. I did a lot of comparisons with these in the fall of 2016 while planning 2017 travels. Not lot to offer, you can have them all up and search for the same flight or bookings and get a gamut all over the map pricing thing that will drive you nuts. Be patient, open a few browser windows and compare. Not all sites offer flights, some are accommodation and tours only.

Kayak.com

Expedia.com

Orbitz.com

Trivago.com

Travelocity.com

Hipmunk.com

lonelyplanet.com

European

Oyster.com

Gogobot.com

Skyscanner.com Used this one to get cheap flights between Ireland and UK to continent flights. Pretty good information.

Coolcamping.com

Rometorio.com

Thehotelguru.com

Thefestivalcalendar.co.uk

i-escape.com

Alternative Tours and Guides

Atlas Obscura

http://www.atlasobscura.com/

This site is filled with fun alternative travel destinations and weird facts. I love it. It’s a great place to get information on places like the Mummies of Dublin, which are really bog bodies at the National Museum of Ireland. Great articles and musings on fun and obscure things in many countries with an interface that is not to overpowering.

Indie Guides

http://indie-guides.com/en/

For the alternative traveller, this site has great views on going abroad or even next door. If you have traveled a city that is not among their guides, hit them up to help create a section of your idea of the best for alternative tourism in the city you love.

The Alternative Travel Guide

https://www.thealternativetravelguide.com/

Fun blog with travels abroad and in out of the way places. Very eclectic travel articles.

Extreme Tourism

I would like to travel the path less known, but I am not a huge adventurer. I would need to do even more physical training than I am already doing to get ready for this next trip. Next year, I hope to do more hiking and climbing training so I could climb a mountain. I have begun to prep towards that, and I have already given myself an injury. Great work. Of course, I mean I got tendonitis on the last trip, you’d think I would learn. If you are thinking about doing some serious tourism like ecotourism or grabbing a Munro ( a Mountain of more than 3000 Feet in Scotland) trail, you should start training well ahead of time. But these kinds of tours exist and there are sites dedicated to them.

Nerve Rush

http://www.nerverush.com/extreme-tourism/

This site is not for the faint of heart traveller. It’s a community of extreme travel junkies. Join their list for postings and articles that may become very addictive to you, and way you go.

Sites by Cities

Cities I will be going to (again) and testing these sites out:

Belfast

http://www.belfastlive.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/seven-quirky-things-around-belfast-9168147

http://wanderluce.com/11-alternative-things-to-do-in-belfast/

http://secretbelfast.co.uk/

Dublin

https://dublinunderground.net/an-alternative-guide-to-dublin/

http://gottakeepmovin.com/alternative-dublin-city-guide/

http://almostginger.com/2016/04/08/alternative-guide-48-hours-dublin/

http://www.eattravelraverepeat.com/travel/alternative-guide-dublin

Galway

https://galwayundergroundguide.wordpress.com/2016/08/10/local-alternative-underground/

http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-guides/ireland/galway/

Glasgow

https://www.skiddle.com/gigs/Glasgow/ Because it’s about the music here

https://www.thecrazytourist.com/top-25-things-to-do-in-glasgow/

Edinburgh

http://www.lovefromscotland.co.uk/Weird-things-to-do-edinburgh

http://www.grumpycamel.com/12-things-to-do-in-edinburgh

London

http://curious-london.co.uk/bucketlist/

http://www.eatinglondontours.co.uk/blog/unique-things-to-do-in-london/

Like the old time hard copy guide books, read these reviews in the Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2013/aug/09/best-quirky-guidebooks-world-print

Search Me? New Travel Restrictions Custom Searches and Your Mobile Phone

4256212586_cc546a47d1_bMany of us have felt the stress of new travel restrictions, or should I say, those coming from several muslim countries, and even if you are not Muslim. However, the mindset should be that these countries have a heavy Muslim population, but they are not all Muslim. Now, some restrictions are being applied to your mobile devices and electronics that are not allowed in the cabin of the plane now. It used to be that you could take your laptop or tablet with you on the plane on all airlines as long as you obeyed airline modes rules. We like to keep our electronics with us, they are fragile things. No one wants to trust such devices to the checked luggage area. Theft just starts the top of that list. Now you may not have a choice if you fit a profile, and maybe in the future it will apply to all flights entering the US.

The latest hassle is people traveling into the US from certain airports may be subject to cell phone confiscation. This rings bells for many travelers as privacy issues are being put to the test, and many of us enjoy our civil liberties. Now, TSA has been known to profile and check phones this over the last few years at random. Now it may be a constant. How will airports handle such a restriction and not mention the fact that of what it will take to handle cell phones and unloading information and checking feeds for political viewpoints at the airport on top of all the luggage inspection that may be going on. You thought 2-3 hours in customs was bad, just wait. Plan for longer plane transfers as well.

If you are traveling this spring and coming from these airports, expect additional delays. Your laptop should be in your checked luggage and may be being scanned for before coming into the US. If you have any travel flights that even go through these airports and continue on to another outside the US, you still may get tagged. Everything is electronic now, they know your flights.

Restricted Airports As of April 2017

Airports: Jordan Queen Alia, Egypt Cairo, Turkey Istanbul Ataturk, Saudi Arabia King Abdulaziz and Khalid, Kuwait International, Qatar Doha Intl, Morocco Mohammed, Dubai Intl, Abu Dabi Intl

What Can You Do?

So, pack your laptop in your check in bag if going through or coming from these airports if you are entering the US. Wrap it well, you can get protective coverings for your electronics. These restrictions have seen a serious decrease in tourism in the US thus far, with many more people cancelling plans to visit the US in general. The recent restrictions on visas and exclusion of tourists from certain nations has resulted in a backlash at the US tourism industry.

Articles

10 Airports With Restrictions

Wired Magazine

Cell Phones Detained at the Border


Photo by Paul Heaberlin

Travel and Transport Strikes: Irish and UK Strike Actions

2481070295_9f838571bb_bSome travelers have all the luck, eh? Last summer in 2016 I had to work around rail strike actions in Scotland. ScotRail was pretty good about finding solutions for when an action took place last July and I got stranded briefly in Oban, ended up on luxury coach instead. Interesting change in plans that was. Saw Loch Lomond on a luxury coach I didn’t pay extra for. Oh, and the Clockwork Orange tube in Glasgow was being worked on as well, so I just lucked out on missing that fun underground and picking random neighborhoods to pop up into. I will be back this summer and remedy that. 

Bus and Train Strikes in Ireland and UK This Spring

This season, I plan on the loop to Ireland being a serious treat. However, it looks like the mass transit concerns of Ireland have been threatening a strike action for the last few weeks. You wonder why the concern? Well listen up. Ireland and the UK have union actions that may not just involve the union that has the call to strike out. Sisterhood and solidarity abound in this region and that means that other related unions may wish to go out on strike action for in support. So if the bus lines of Ireland strike, it is possible that railways will be affected. In the US we have seen a heavy decline in unions in the last decade. A call to action happens less frequently, and with our heavy use of cars here in the United States, transit strikes can be avoided more readily than in the UK and Ireland, where car ownership is a very costly affair and frankly better transit services than the US exist so a great many use it. Add to the fact you are in the tourist and festival season, and you can expect delays. The Irish bust company, Bus Éireann, is in it’s fifth day of strikes. Dublin bus is threatening to follow suit and so is Irish Rail.

So what do you do if you are planning a trip and need to use bus/train/ferries and want to book in advance due to heavy travel from tourists? You should still plan on booking via computer or app a few weeks out to guarantee seats. There are usually some walk on pay-as-you go seats, but this can be really hampered if you are going during festival week. If your train you have booked and paid in advance for, and a strike action takes place, you can either get a refund or there will be provided alternatives. Read the local papers and check the website frequently of the railways and bus lines. Latest news will be posted. Need to check into a hotel later than usual, most of the time you can just call. This becomes a bit dicey if you have rented on AirBNB or other sublet/service apartments, since you usually have to arrange pickup of a key.

You can always look at it as experiencing real life along with the people whose culture you are visiting. Really in the great scheme of things, these are trivial compared to some other more exotic locations where transport can be really interesting at best. If it happens in the UK or Ireland, there is always a watering hole around to hang out in and commiserate with others.

Articles

Ireland

Irish Rail May Join Action

Bus Talks

UK

UK Rail Strikes this year 2017

Rail Strikes this Weekend


Connolly Station Photography by William Murphy at Flicr

Traveling Alone

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Travel and Being Female

Hmm, you really want to travel. None of your friends or loved ones can go when you can go. Do you stay and do the staycation, which often means watching binge of your latest telly show? Or do you look at the fact you got a very small inheritance and can get a ticket really cheap before the holidays. Yeah, I went last year, but barely scratched the surface. That need to explore more in depth in the country, get to place I did not see, and ones I saw that I really enjoyed and want so much to experience again.

I explored solo last year, and survived it. There were plusses and minuses to the travel. When traveling, it’s great to share your exploration with someone if you can. Being solo means you are in charge. But being a female solo traveler, there are some limits to what you can or should do. Depends on the countries are going to.

Solo

Going solo means that you have your itinerary, not someone else’s. It also means you should also provide someone with your itinerary so they will know where you are. Sadly, there are bad things that happen in the world. And people will take advantage if they see you are lone and well, we hope these things never happen, but they do. So let your family or a friend know where you are going.

Traveling with people means you can share and handle luggage together and have great sharing experiences. You also have to agree to disagree, have shared attractions time and maybe strike out on your own when the group thing doesn’t work.  When you are solo, you are solo. It’s just you and your way, which for some is a great thing. It depends on your personality. If you spend a lot of time on your own in general, do small trips on your own, you’ll be fine. But if you are a people person who likes to be around friends a lot, solo may not work for you. But even if you are the lone wolf, there are some moments in traveling that you will feel very alone in a big, busy world. This happened to me half way through the trip last season. I was in Oban, Scotland. Big coastal tourist area. Spent hours clambering around, got back to one of the best B&B rooms I had been in, sat in chair, watched the port and island with binoculars. Took trip around the islands. Then I suddenly remembered a headline or two I had seen in papers and the craziness of Brexit, and upcoming presidential election hit me. I listened to John Lennon’s Imagine, and contemplated the world. I snapped out of it, “said you have to take a break from it all once in a while, feet on the ground”. It happens. Best get a kip and get on with evening exploration.

Safety 

Yes, traveling alone can mean that when the sun goes down, you may want to get back to the hotel, depending on where you are traveling. In Europe, summer nights mean long light, you can stay out quite late and there is still sun. Just be mindful of how much drinking you are doing, don’t be a victim. Many hotels and B&Bs have travel safes, where you can leave money. You should keep your ID on you at all times since you never know what will happen, and it is a requirement. I would suggest only having enough cash on you to get your meal and a drink maybe.

When I was in Glasgow the first time, I was staying of the square and it was party central on Friday and Saturday night, spilling out into Sauchiehall Street with it6539738155_07fa12c44a‘s theatres and clubs and pubs. People walk locked in arms in massive groups going to and fro. I watched the groups cavorting and figured out quick that safety in numbers can be a good thing and glommed on behind a group of women, go errands done and got back no sweat. It was actually kind of fun. I don’t know if male solo travelers have as much difficulty getting about at night. Mugging experiences in San Francisco curtailed my night time explorations years back, so I am very wary. But if you are lucky to travel in high summer, you can be out and about until 11 pm and have plenty of light.

Sauchiehall Street Glasgow

Travel Insurance

To your health you should think. You are traveling overseas and your healthcare provider coverage probably won’t help you. Some countries in the EU have socialistic coverage of health care and if you travel between countries and have a hospital stay, you may have some coverage. Not so if you are from the US. You may want to see what your limits are on your credit card because this may be the only way to get coverage in a foreign hospital. Or, get travel insurance.

Often we look at the travel insurance offered when booking our flights. Hmm, do I need to guarantee my flight? Is this an expense I can afford. It might be worth it to look at insuring your flight and basic life and death. It can be very costly to bring you back to your family should the worst occur. Not to spoil and dampen any vacation, but leaving a mess behind is never a good thing. So do a little research before you go and leave a copy with the friend that has your itinerary.

Travel Insurance Reviews

Preferences

So what it comes down to is, do you really want to travel? If you have the opportunity and you got a wee inheritance, do you go for it solo? Or you have been saving for two years determined to go, do you look for a group traveling? Don’t let the solo prospect deter you, you could meet up with your favorite social media pals, or make new ones. I’m thinking of doing it. There are also social apps like Meet Up with groups doing all kinds of things that you may like to share. I am solo again. I really like the experience and meeting people if they will meet me. Sometimes the best convos are with strangers  who turn out to be kindreds. I will probably take a few official tours, but I am already researching alternative tours of cities, and bike tours are starting to look really appealing. So take a chance and have an adventure while you can.

Links

Money Travel Cards No Foreign Fees Review

Glasgow: Finding a Good Japanese Restaurant Off the Atlantic Ocean?

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Sushi and other fish dishes rely on getting very fresh fish from the Pacific Ocean. We here on the Pacific Rim are quite spoiled. Japanese restaurants are quite fantastic here. So what do you do when traveling in the UK and Ireland and your fav cuisine is a bit elusive? Keep trying. Most Japanese restaurants have adapted to working off the Atlantic Ocean, using fish found there for the sushi and traditional fish stews, after all, dashi is usually shaved bonito which is freeze dried and easy to transport.  But you won’t see Yellowtail (Hamachi) or other fish from the Pacific. Or if you do, it’s not fresh, it’s frozen and you can taste that difference. So when you are in the UK, you may just have to settle for chicken or beef dishes.

My second day in Glasgow and I wanted Japanese. I looked up a restaurant on Yelp and hoped for the best. The sushi Nigiri list had much to be desired, so I tried a traditional dinner instead, more comfort food, Nanakusa was pretty good overall. But then I was on a quest. Well, what happens when you get an unsatisfactory taste sensation? You seek out better choices. The next Japanese I tried was off the Buchanan Mall area and up some stairs, Ichiban. Out of the way a bit, but their Japanese curry was good. I lamented with the Japanese wait staff over finding good Nigiri in Scotland. I then chatted with them about getting a menu to catered to the Atlantic v. Pacific fish market. There was a degree of sadness felt, a commiseration. But if you look you can still find some good Japanese if not great fusion, if you are willing to seek it out.

Top Glasgow Sushi and Japanese

In Edinburgh I tried out a Japanese that was a fusion restaurant. Eh, it left a bit to be desired and well, I had to really get attention to get attention. Oh, when ordering Sake, make sure you tell them hot. Don’t assume they will know. Restaurants in the UK tend to default to room temp or cold. Also, their flasks aren’t as large as in the US. Just a tip.

Top Edinburgh Sushi

Dublin Japanese

Belfast Japanese