Friday, 24 October 2014

Day Trip To London On A Budget

So after my somewhat mixed experience in London some time back, where I got to experience the dire hotel called Tophams and the expensive side to London, I also experienced the cheaper side to London.

Alas, I was not satisfied. I was determined to experience a fun side to London and to come home with a smile on my face. My recent day trip proved that you can enjoy London, even on a day trip and on a budget.

Day trips to London needn't be stressful; you don't need to cram everything into one day, especially if you are not a walker like I am, but if you don't mind walking and getting tired feet you can fit in a lot, but in a relaxed manner in 1 day.

As I published my first book 'When Everyone Shines But You' in July I was bringing in sales, but paying 30% tax
on sales in the USA, so my day trip had a dual purpose - to organise my tax in the form of a United States ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number), which will allow me to recover this tax, and to enjoy the day.

We had an extremely early coach journey from Gloucester travelling by National Express, leaving our home at 3.45 am, arriving in London a little after 7.30 am. Bargain price at just over £20 for 2 of us and if I had remembered, I could have had a discount on top of that with my student card.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

My On The Road Reading Moment - Synchronicity

This is my entry to 'The WORKS'  travel blogger competition HERE

Many travellers have a special book they remember when travelling; sets the scene; transports them even deeper into their surroundings. Me, I had several, and instead of many clothes and necessary items I had books instead. My backpack was a vehicle of adventure.

My first travelling journey was a spiritual one. I had not decided it was going to be that way. But life gave me an open door to my own personal transformation.

After a few months in Sydney, I met a woman who introduced me to energy healing. Much of what she said really spoke to me. So much so, after I left Melbourne, I could not get enough of the new understandings that books were bringing to me on my travels.  I was looking at the world differently and books kept falling off shelves, totally relevant to me and my own personal journey.

One series of books (that was meant to be fiction) turned out to be far more. My favourite on-the-road reading moment began with :

The Celestine Prophecy  by James Redfield

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Travel Writing and Blogging - Can We Travel and Be Paid Yet Stay True To Our Hearts?

Shared via Creative Commons taken by Colleen Lane - Flickr
"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." {Cyril Connolly}

Yesterday I had an epiphany regarding my writing. We all have dreams and we all would love an income of some sort from our dreams, but how do we get a balance between being paid to write when travelling and selling out to PR companies and hotel chains?

Thursday, 20 September 2012

SOLO TRAVEL - Oh how it has changed!

Solo Traveller
Shared via creative commons from Flickr
taken by Emmanuel Frezzott.
Twelve years ago the internet was in its infancy. There were internet cafes but you couldn't simply sit in a cafe and make connections like you can now. Back in my early travel days solo travel was scary and adventurous but also had a smidgen of the lonely thrown in. But as a traveller you just accepted these moments on your journey.

Nowadays things have changed greatly. Solo travellers no longer need to feel alone when travelling. We can choose to be alone or we can choose to mingle and reconnect with people around the world fairly easily because of the easy access to the internet - more importantly mobile access.

Now while I am not a big fan of smartphones or iPADs, when travelling they can come in handy. But it is important not to rely totally on them and to find yourself spending more time tweeting about what you are doing than actually doing what you are doing.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

LONDON - On A Shoestring : Good times on a budget

Writing my tongue-in-cheek expose of London's pretentious and expensive side here made me want to shift my focus onto ways to enjoy London on a budget. London, without a doubt, manipulates the tourist through over-charging, but if you dig a little deeper, you needn't miss out on some of the wonderful attractions and experiences that London has to offer.

High class accommodation and dining aside, what can you do when in London on a budget?
London Big Ben Westminster
One of the many fantastic views from the top of the ORIGINAL TOUR COMPANY tour bus - a cheap and inexpensive hop-on hop-off service.

I was very surprised that I thoroughly enjoyed a tour of London on an open-top bus.

LONDON : Pretentious & Expensive - well some of it anyhow...

Big city, bright lights, vibrant culture, music, energy - this is London!

Or is it?

London Tower Bridge Paralympic Rings

My first trip to London showed me a part of our culture in the UK I do not care for. I come from a working class background, my father was a mechanic, my mother worked in a factory. My family are from the North, a very down-to-earth part of the UK, can be a tad fiesty, but more than anything it is earthy, warm and friendly.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

REVIEW: Tophams Hotel - London. 1 Star Pretending To Be 4 Star

On Saturday the 8th of September my friend and I left my home town of Gloucester to head off on what promised to be a luxurious travelling experience. After writing about another hotel in London on my Squidoo blog I won 2 nights in a 4 star hotel in the wealthy area of London, Belgravia, through (this included breakfast).

We stayed at Tophams Hotel which was within walking distance of Buckingham Palace and we stayed in room 103. At the time I was staying it was the weekend of the closing ceremony of the Paralympics and also the Thames Festival weekend. The cost when I looked earlier in the summer was over £600 for 2 nights (this has since halved).

Tophams Hotel as described on their website is:

"After a two-year closure, the long established Tophams Hotel in London has re-opened during the summer of 2008 as a completely rejuvenated and substantially enlarged luxury boutique London hotel. The hotel has five different bedroom schemes with bespoke furniture in each room."

Tophams Hotel London Bad Experience

We arrived at approximately 8.30am and experienced the greatest humiliation anyone could ever experience when trying to check in to a hotel - especially a 4 Star hotel.

Prior to arriving in London I had sent countless emails to the Sales Manager Paul to ensure an easy and pleasant check in at this hotel as it was a prize. In my last email I said :
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