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Pikasyuu
So, after way, way too long..
I'm planning a trip to visit England. Hopefully I can have this done within the next year - I'm thinking spring/summer or some rainy season. My question is, for all of you that have traveled from the US to England, what was customs like? What did you have to take with you (passport excluded, of course)? It's been a long time since I've been out of country, so instead of doing research myself, this is an easier way of letting people know and getting good information.
Daria
Not exactly sure what you have to do/ go through when going through customs, but! Wanted to let you know that we have a sofa/ very large beanbag that you would be welcome to sleep on for as long as you like- as long as you're not allergic to cats biggrin.gif

EDIT- friend says that you have to go right instead of left if you're not an EU citizen when going through customs at Stansted. Yes, we're useful.
Phyllis
You'll need an address for the place you are staying. If it's a hotel or hostel, bring your booking confirmation. If you're staying with friends then a phone number for them is useful so they can confirm that you will be staying with them if need be. You're also more than welcome to use our spare room if need be, but I'm assuming you'd probably rather be in London. We will travel down there to meet you, of course. biggrin.gif

You'll also need proof that you have a return flight booked to go back to the US and enough funds to support yourself while you're here. How long are you planning on staying?

Other than that, I can't really think of anything you would need aside from the obvious. But I should add that they won't allow you to enter the country if you come in May, because as I told you before that's when moop and I are visiting my family in the US. biggrin.gif I am going to tell them on my way out to not let any syuus into the UK while I'm not here to meet them.
Pikasyuu
I think I'm going to aim for sometime between February and June, absolutely (hopefully) no later than that. Hotel would probably be the ideal thing (although I really appreciate the offers!) since I'll want to be able to go to several different places, (you're right, candice, mostly London/southern UK since I think that's where most of my target stalkees are) but no, I wouldn't go at a time you couldn't be there. The people I demand to see (or whose windows I will crawl into during the dead of night dressed as a pirate and armed with a sword to 'arrrrr' at them for not unlocking their doors..) are as follows -

- Cand/Moop/Snoo
- Mata
- Mr Fuzzy
- Seanny
- Polos/Alex
- Daria/Becky-lady
- Mhari/Froggy
- InKy (god, the stalking that'll take..)
- leopold (when's the last time he was around?)
- anyone else I missed thus far.

Obviously if you aren't in the south UK and you want to go to a pub/have a meal/whatever with me, I can make some kind of arrangement. I'm thinking a week or two. I recently went somewhere else for two weeks and the time actually flew by where I was thinking I'd get homesick. I'm about 100% sure that once I'm there, I wont want to leave, so I have to balance the never ending want to live there with expenses and cost of living. Week sounds about right. Or two. Geez! Well, two is more likely since I have several people I want to at least jump on and give gigantic squishy hugs to..

But thanks a lot for all the info, cand. I knew you'd know it all by heart. tongue.gif I didn't know about the hotel thing etc, so, that saves me a lot of time and a lot of irritated customs agents.
Mata
We also have to have the same sort of information available when we travel to the US, although it doesn't often get asked for - I've been out there a couple of times and never needed it, but it would be Murphy's Law that if I didn't have it ready I'd be asked for it.

I'm currently about 40 minutes on the train outside of London, so any meet up there is easy for me. That said, with my current job situation, I might have moved somewhere else by the time you come over. Whatever happens I'll make sure we meet up.

Leopold hasn't been around for ages. I sent him a message about a year ago and never heard anything back. I suspect that his email address has changed. He's still in the top ten all-time posters on here, I've only just caught up with him! If anyone does know how to contact him then I too would love to see him again.

Pack layers of clothing. Imagine you were going into the desert to camp, but were expecting rain! Layers are good to shed if you get hot, but enough to keep you warm otherwise. Bring a coat for the evenings. In particular if you come before April it can be really cold. Although London stays a couple of degrees warmer than the countyside, it can still get very chilly there in the evenings. Depending on the forecast, you might want to buy an umbrella when you get here, but if you've got a travelling hat then that will do the job too (I've got a wide-brimmed trilby for travelling - great for blazing sun and pouring rain alike).

BTW, I'm not ignoring you when you IM me, I often leave my machine on over night when it's got things to do (processing tasks etc.).

P.S. WOO HOO!!!! Syuu hugs!
Pikasyuu
QUOTE
We also have to have the same sort of information available when we travel to the US, although it doesn't often get asked for - I've been out there a couple of times and never needed it, but it would be Murphy's Law that if I didn't have it ready I'd be asked for it.


..Too true. I'll have to figure out how my parents have managed to smuggle lighters through airport security. I could swear we both have them in the same place, but it winds up mine gets taken and theirs don't - then again, it doesn't say much for the security that we can get lighters through, still. Planes. Yergh. I hate them, but I'll take a couple for this.

QUOTE
I'm currently about 40 minutes on the train outside of London, so any meet up there is easy for me. That said, with my current job situation, I might have moved somewhere else by the time you come over. Whatever happens I'll make sure we meet up.


No problem. Sean's outside of London (although I'm not sure exactly how far..) and I'll be creeping over to wherever he lives regardless.

QUOTE
Leopold hasn't been around for ages. I sent him a message about a year ago and never heard anything back. I suspect that his email address has changed. He's still in the top ten all-time posters on here, I've only just caught up with him! If anyone does know how to contact him then I too would love to see him again.


..Gruh, that's sad. I remember back in the day where he and the werebugger would play around in iRC and cause half of us to snort various beverages through our noses. He's a really, really funny guy, and it's been way too long since we did any catching up. I believe we left off somewhere about lawns..

QUOTE
Pack layers of clothing. Imagine you were going into the desert to camp, but were expecting rain! Layers are good to shed if you get hot, but enough to keep you warm otherwise. Bring a coat for the evenings. In particular if you come before April it can be really cold. Although London stays a couple of degrees warmer than the countyside, it can still get very chilly there in the evenings. Depending on the forecast, you might want to buy an umbrella when you get here, but if you've got a travelling hat then that will do the job too (I've got a wide-brimmed trilby for travelling - great for blazing sun and pouring rain alike).


Happily. I'm a big fan of extremely cold, extremely rainy weather - probably because I live somewhere where neither exist, ever. Despite that, I have a pretty decent stock of warm clothes and will be sure to check the weather (although it probably wont make a huge difference) beforehand.

QUOTE
BTW, I'm not ignoring you when you IM me, I often leave my machine on over night when it's got things to do (processing tasks etc.).


Don't worry, I know. tongue.gif my MSN/iRC/anything timing has been really weird for people (both eight hour differences included), so IMing anyone is usually hit and miss. If you'd responded at, oh, whatwasit - 5:40am? I probably would've told you to go sleep or something, but then again, designers take naps.

QUOTE
P.S. WOO HOO!!!! Syuu hugs!


I forgot how to communicate JOYYYYYYY over the internet, but it's there!
Cath Sparrow
Knowing our usual reaction to american forumites coming to the uk you'll probably end up with your own meet. Were like that you know. biggrin.gif
Mata
I thought that was such a foregone conclusion that I didn't even mention it biggrin.gif
Faerieryn
We could call it "Syuu comes to you!!!!!"
mooooooooooopo
QUOTE (syuu @ Nov 25 2007, 08:36 PM) *
No problem. Sean's outside of London (although I'm not sure exactly how far..) and I'll be creeping over to wherever he lives regardless.

He is in Sheffield, which is about a half hour train journey north of us, and it takes us 1 and a half hours (on the quick trains) to get from London to home.

(This is Cand on moop's laptop, by the way). We will, of course, go to wherever a syuumeet is held. London would probably be preferable because it's convenient for a lot of people, and always seems to have the largest meets. Plus the candoops get cheaper train fare to there than some places that are closer, stupidly enough.
patback87
Yea someday once my life settles down and I have enough money I would love to travel to London, I also need to get a passport, they are just good to have in general.
Pikasyuu
Be prepared to have either a good chunk of money, or extreme patience - my passport ran about two hundred plus dollars because I got it expedited thinking I had to be on a trip to Canada within a short span of time. If not expedited, they can take up to eight months or so.
Phyllis
QUOTE (syuu @ Nov 30 2007, 08:02 AM) *
If not expedited, they can take up to eight months or so.

huh.gif Where did you hear that?

There was a backlog earlier this year because of the new rules for travel in and out of the US, but I think it is mostly sorted out for now. The National Passport Information Center has a page where you can check their current processing times. It's currently at 4-6 weeks for regular, 3 weeks for expedited: Clicky
patback87
QUOTE (syuu @ Nov 30 2007, 02:02 AM) *
Be prepared to have either a good chunk of money, or extreme patience - my passport ran about two hundred plus dollars because I got it expedited thinking I had to be on a trip to Canada within a short span of time. If not expedited, they can take up to eight months or so.

Yea I know if you expedite you will pay a lot, but I would probably plan and ger it ahead, the one time I traveled out of the country was last October before the rules were put in place.
gothictheysay
dude, you guys better come see me if I get to come to teh England too. MAYBE late February. I want to steal the katii and take her with me.
Pikasyuu
QUOTE (candice @ Dec 1 2007, 12:12 AM) *
QUOTE (syuu @ Nov 30 2007, 08:02 AM) *

If not expedited, they can take up to eight months or so.

huh.gif Where did you hear that?

There was a backlog earlier this year because of the new rules for travel in and out of the US, but I think it is mostly sorted out for now. The National Passport Information Center has a page where you can check their current processing times. It's currently at 4-6 weeks for regular, 3 weeks for expedited: Clicky


It's what I read on the thingy at the post office. Maybe I got screwed. This was a couple of months ago..

and yes! I want to go with teh sarah, but I doubt I'll have enough money at that time. we'll see.
Mata
The rule of thumb is that if anyone can travel 5000 miles to come to London, then we will do our very best to get people together to see you too.

I believe there was someone from the US who went to the Scottish meet, but I wasn't aware of this, and I couldn't afford to get there at the time. I felt really bad when I found out about that, but no money is no money. London meets usually get a good turnout because everywhere in England has a direct train to London, which makes travelling a lot easier (if not always inexpensive). The area around London has a lot of England's population in it too, so there are loads of forum people around there.

All this being said - giving us as much notice as possible it always appreciated!
Phyllis
QUOTE (Mata @ Dec 2 2007, 05:15 PM) *
I believe there was someone from the US who went to the Scottish meet, but I wasn't aware of this, and I couldn't afford to get there at the time.

It was Jaq, and she's from Canada!

Well, I was there too, but I was here for the whole summer that year so technically I was only traveling up from Evesham. And I'd already been to a meet in Nottingham, anyway. Oh, and zivane. I nearly forgot about her! I only met her for a few minutes because she was pouty about you not being there so she ditched us. tongue.gif
Mata
Like I say, I felt really bad when I heard about this. Even if I had been more aware of it, I still couldn't have found the money anyway, so it's academic really, but I have a very advanced sense of guilt sometimes!
Phyllis
You really do have an advanced sense of guilt, especially since it was 2 and a half years ago! tongue.gif I'm not really one to talk, though. I still feel guilty about stuff I did when I was 12.

I am fairly sure that she had other friends over here that she was meeting up with as well, so it's not like she made the trip for nothing. And she really wasn't very nice to those of us who made it, to be honest. Try not to feel too bad. smile.gif
Hyperion
syuu. you need a saa in your bag.

c'mon, I know I'm like 5'12'', but... I could fit. maybe if you had a garment bag. yanno. just fold me in half.

BUY. A CARTON. OF CIGARETTES.

I don't know if someone already said that, I may have missed it. But when I went to Italy I brought a carton of marlboro menth.lights. and it lasted me, oh, ten days with four packs to spare (we were walking everywhere) but they were like eight euros a pack or some shit over there. In Italy. Might be different in London. But ya know. >.> Yeah.

Pack extra batteries, and as I recall, you have to have a special adapter to plug anything in... When we were in Italy, I circumvented this problem by not bringing ANYTHING that had to be plugged in (no cell phone, hair dryer, laptop, etc).

But ya know, I might be completely off - England and Italy are two COMPLETELY different countries. But w/e.

Most important thing to take : SAA. biggrin.gif

oh. and drink diet coke on the plane. cause yanno if it spills, it won't get sticky. smile.gif
Phyllis
Yep, you'll need an adapter to use anything that has a US plug. And I'm pretty sure that cigarettes do indeed cost a lot more here. Someone tried to convince me to bring some over from the US to sell and make myself a profit, but that's illeeeegal, so I didn't. You can bring enough for personal use, though.


Also, Saa, isn't 5'12" just 6'? tongue.gif
Daria
Cigarettes and alcohol are all more likely to be more expensive in London than in the US- if only because currently it's like $2=£1. Also, we have LOTS of lovely taxes that get slapped onto everything (but I guess you could reclaim your tax at customs)- femenine hygeine products even get taxed.
However, you should make the effort to buy proper beer/ cider (if that's your sort of thing) as there are SO MANY awesome little breweries in the coun'ryside.
Also, the UK uses 3 pin plugs, Italy uses 2-pins. Although they are different shaped pins to US ones, I think- or the voltage+current are different. I can't remember from my last trip to Italy.
patback87
Actually your cigarettes are probably cheaper in London than Chicago, it's about $10 a pack here, not that I smoke, but a lot of my friends do. Yes in the US we have 3-pin plugs, but our voltage is 120 V at 60HZ I know you guys are on 220 V systems, but I can't remember what it cycles at, just technical mumbo jumbo.
Mata
It's around $11 per pack in the UK for any decent brand. Then again, I hear rumblings about something big happening to currencies in January. People with lots of money are buying dollars as fast as they can at the moment. I don't have lots of money, so can't do this, but it's interesting news.
patback87
It just means they are going to prop the dollar up for a short time and then sell them off for a profit, I remember when they launched the Iraqi currency and a lot of people were buying because it was worth like toliet paper and they were hoping that it would gain even like a few pennies on the dollar and then they would make tons of money. It all sounds great, but it's all speculation and highly risky to do anything like that.
Mata
Currency markets are always like that, but all you've got to do is play the long game and eventually you'll make a decent profit - if you had a few million to leave lying around in currency for long enough. This is why the rich get richer and everyone else eats the cheapest bread from the shop.
Hyperion
QUOTE (candice @ Dec 6 2007, 01:29 PM) *
Also, Saa, isn't 5'12" just 6'? tongue.gif



... sad.gif Yes.

Stock Market = Satan

... But, well, I'm biased.

And OMFG. Cigarettes are still like 2.88 a pack (for the brand I smoke) plus tax (making them like 3:0something a pack) here.

... Note to self: No living in Chicago until I quit.
Mata
Sorry, is that US$2.88 per pack? That's ridiculous. That's about UK£1.40, which is three times cheaper than over here!

Then again, I guess it makes sense too. Smokers are a lot more likely to cost the public health service money than non-smokers, so I guess they should contribute more... Although it would be nice if the money did actually go to the NHS rather than towards another pointless war, or some silly policy that no-one cares about. Ho hum. Socialism's got its ups and downs.
patback87
Yea dude I bought my friend some cheap Lucky Strikes and it was seriously like $9. Also if your a smoker after the first of the year the entire state is smoke free in public places, you won't even be able to smoke in bars.
Pikasyuu
Sure, I'll bring a Saa - if she promises to be quiet inside of my luggage, only requires occasional feeding, doesn't make any..messes, and doesn't smoke mine. tongue.gif

I will buy cigarettes, thanks. I make a habit of doing that whenever I travel to any place just because I'm not 100% sure they have my brand or price. Here, my cigs are about 4.29 a pack with cartons running $22, so i'd definitely save myself a lot of money - and like alcohol being a large part of social culture, as is smoking, and I do the most smoking while socializing.
Mata
Bear in mind that all bars and pubs in Britain are non-smoking - you might want to bring gloves to keep yourself warm while you stand outside!
Daria
Bars, pubs, clubs, gig venues, work vehicles, post offices, hospitals, police stations, anywhere where there are people working and it is an enclosed area, my house...

Wytu and I were staying with a friend of mine at the weekend. She and her two housemates both smoke like chimneys and it was really weird (and a little upsetting) to be surrounded by smoke all the time.
Pikasyuu
QUOTE (Mata @ Dec 11 2007, 01:39 AM) *
Bear in mind that all bars and pubs in Britain are non-smoking - you might want to bring gloves to keep yourself warm while you stand outside!


How in the ..
I mean, I'm sure I'd heard that before, it just didn't seem believable. At all. That's horrible.
Daria
Actually it's really rather delightful. It makes stealing glasses from pubs so much easier, too biggrin.gif
Mata
I'm also on the side of it being rather lovely. I can go out for the night and not reek of cigarettes afterwards. Even smokers I know say that they like this aspect of it! The ban only came in over the summer, so this is the first winter that English smokers have had the ban in place. It's also inspired a couple of friends to quit smoking. One had been saying he was going to quit for the last four years, but this time it's really happened and he's fine now he's not around smoke every time he goes out. Win!
patback87
Sorry for dragging up an old topic, but I may possibly going to London in March. A friend of mine is going to be there for school and myself and another friend may visit them, and I'm very tempted to go, because the flight is $566 round trip and I know the dollar is weak and what not, but it would be so cool to see London and I wanted to go to France too. Anyway and I may be getting a bigger refund from the government and all with the aid package thing and it would be enough to cover the flight and I could just quit going out and stuff and save up more. Anyway a lot is still up in the air and I have to get a passport first too and hope I get it before I fly which I could do if I applied now. Any opinions on this, oh yea plus I would have a place to stay in London for free while I was there.
Daria
Let us know when you're coming over, and we will make sure to get you to play Snid, as is the current tradition for Matazonians in London biggrin.gif
gothictheysay
This could be slightly spammy but it's looking like June for me *crosses fingers*. I gotta save up, but I'll be 18 by then so it'll be easier, and hopefully my dad will feel SOMEwhat better about it.
patback87
Yea. I'm sure my parents won't approve and even though I'm 20, they still help me a lot with school and I would really hate to piss them off enough to not help me or bitch at me all the time, lol. I'm still on the fence about it, becaues I have really wanted to travel for a long time outside the US, but at the sametime I'm thinking that if I wait a few years when I have my loans paid off and a good stable job I could actually enjoy it more.
Phyllis
Pfft. Fiscal responsibility is for losers, patback. biggrin.gif

I thought it was a better idea for me to come here while I was still in college, before I got tied down to a job. It seems to have worked out well, since I ended up immigrating and kidnapping marrying an English Matazonian.

PS: Sarah, I will show up to greet you with a teal and orange banner and squee endlessly if you actually make it over here this summer! biggrin.gif
gothictheysay
Aww, I can't wait. Now this saving money thing... but it will be worth a teal and orange banner... biggrin.gif
Pikasyuu
here's a small update for anyone wondering - I (obviously) have had to put off plans for this. I lost my job a bit ago and haven't yet had any source of income, so once I do start getting regular paychecks, 90% will go to bills I currently owe and the other 10% into savings. Still..eventually!
Mata
You are no longer a barrista? Why did that happen?
Pikasyuu
I was fired, unfortunately. It's a long story, but it was mostly that the manager and I were having disagreements over things that couldn't terminate my job, so she began looking for things that would. Good news is that I'm freeeee..! Just poor. :P
Mata
I remember you saying that you were having issues - the tattoo thing was causing problems I recall. You'll find somewhere else soon that's great for you.
Pikasyuu
I hope so. Right now it's between a hospital and a school, both of which pay more, both of which are good stepping stones to careers I'd want. Boo, foodservice.
gothictheysay
QUOTE
It's a long story, but it was mostly that the manager and I were having disagreements over things that couldn't terminate my job, so she began looking for things that would.


When my new boss came, that was how one of my old assistant managers got fired. We hated the new boss because Kelle was delightful. I hope karma bites your manager in the butt.
froggle-rock
Hey dudette,
just read your message. It would be cool to meet you too. Good luck with the jobbing. Polo's in Durham for uni and comes down to London during term breaks sometimes, prolly best to email him and let him know your intentions.

It might be well a while off, but here are some links I gave cand for traveling around:

www.tfl.gov.uk (transport for london travel site- you can use the advanced options to plan how to get from here to there at time)

www.nationalexpress.com Book train & coach tickets, sometimes there are funfare which are as little as £1 one way.

www.megabus.com/uk Usually cheaper coach bookings compared to National Express' non Funfare- but you should compare them all TBH. Not used the trains myself but if I remember correctly MarkSlut has not problems with them.

www.nationalrail.co.uk Train booking. Personally I find this a really messy site. It's worth noting that there are many train companies operating in the UK with their own sites but this is a good place to start. On a bad note somestimes the train times are wrong on here so it's worth checking with the copany running the route you'll take.

Oyster cards are for use when traveling about in London and reduve the cost dramatically when traveling through zone 1 (very heart of London), ie: cash one way bus fare: £2, Oyster card £0.90.

Phone: I dunno about you folks but whe I go to France I always forget that you MUST buy a calling card for use in public phones. You cannot use loose change to make calls from public phones there. However there are internet/ international calling shops there too (as well as over here) and you can make calls from there. In the UK, we have public phones that take a minimum of 40p (which last 20 minutes to a landline, should be long enough to leave a half a message on a mobile!)

Okay. Most major galleries and museaums are free to get into (Tate Modern- In London, Tate Liverpool- Commie Land, National Portrait Gallery. Science Museaum in London. There are plenty of others, you folks know what you are into I'm sure you can get there.

Okies, being kicked off my sister's comp happy.gif

x X x

PS- there are cheap cinemas too
Tarantio
QUOTE (Mata @ Dec 2 2007, 05:15 PM) *
I believe there was someone from the US who went to the Scottish meet, but I wasn't aware of this, and I couldn't afford to get there at the time.


dang, I forgot about that thing. Good times were had, mostly. There were two matamites from the U.S. and one from Canada, which might, maybe, make it the most international Matameet ever, but I doubt it. Also, holy crap I haven't posted for too long. Wanna meet, wanna meet. Etc. If something involving matafolks is happening this summer/whenever, let teh Tara know, he's not been on a 10 hour bus trip in too long and wants to see such matafolks. Hope you're all well smile.gif
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