I have been working on a trip to London for the last several months. However, even though I consider myself extremely computer literate, I seem to be overwhelmed with all of the information available. So I have come to the conclusion that I need to speak to Sharon at Westside International Travel Inc., my travel agent to help me take all of my research and put it into a trip that I can afford and will hit the high spots of my wish list. I have two weeks to spend in England and about a year’s worth of sightseeing that I would like to build into my European vacation.
I need help getting my list down to the two weeks I have and making sure that before I leave I can have my trip to London paid for completely. Sharon’s company, Westside International Travel Inc. already has my back when it comes to paying for the trip as they have offered a payment plan for years. It allows me to spread out the payments over the months before my European vacation departure, so I pay a little each month. It really works with my budget and I will actually be able to afford a better, longer trip by using the Westside reduced payment plan.
The first decision I have to make is whether I want to take an escorted tour of London or travel independently. Traveling as a single woman, I think I would be better off on an escorted tour, but on the other hand I am used to a lot of alone time. Sharon knows which escorted tour operators have the programs that take me to most or all of the sites I have on my ‘must see’ list and at the same time are more likely to have other singles.
One of the best aspects of working with my travel agent, historically for me, has been one of questions from the agent, which forced me to really think about what I want to do on my trip, then she will tell me what it will cost or what different options are available to make my vacation plans come true.
After our first conversation, I think we have developed a pretty good plan for my trip. I will spend the first week on my own in London visiting all of my old favorites as well as those sites that didn’t exist last time I was there, like the London eye. I want to start on a Sunday at Hyde Park corner and then walked down the Bayswater Road visiting all of the artists that display their wares. About halfway up, there’s a pub that has absolutely fabulous bangers and mash so I’ll stop and get a little refreshment, perhaps talk to the people in the tables around me. This day will give me a chance to recover from jet lag and prepare me for the rest of my week in London.
I plan on taking several of the walking tours of London, which are guided and have the different highlights of each part of the city discussed by the guide. First will be visits to all of the old landmarks, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, the Tate Museum, then I’ll take the Eye Opener tour at the British Museum. This will give me some guidance on how to see those areas that really interest me.
One of the advantages, I have found of taking a walking tour, is there will be plenty of time spent in Hyde Park, Green Park and St. James Park while the tour makes it way to the other sites. Sharon has given me several suggestions for places to eat in these different parts of town. I have come prepared with them marked on my city map. My smart phone gives me access to in-depth information on each location. Before, I arrived I was told what service to use on the phone so the charges didn’t blow my budget. I have tickets to the Globe Theatre and one of London Hits. Every day has a long list of places to visit that are new to me.
The second week, I am go to take day trips to Windsor, Bath and Stone Hedge, the Cotswold’s and the Lake District. Sharon suggested that by staying in London and taking day trips, I don’t have to do the pack and unpack drill and I will have other people to share the experience.
I have joined an online group where you can make connections with local people who want to spend time with visitors. And I am hoping to make some online friends who may be interested in sightseeing or shopping with a stop for lunch or high tea. My newer hobbies i.e. knitting demand a trip to some of the fabulous yarn stores. One of the other things I am doing to get ready is doing a walking program. Need to make sure I have the energy and stamina to enjoy all my plans. My trip departure is still months away so can I have plenty of time to indulge my reading and research addiction. All the major items like air, hotel and sightseeing are being handled by Sharon. All I have to do is make my monthly payments, dream, pack and enjoy.
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