Oh ____. The world isn't kind today. Even the patients on the support groups are at each other's throats and if you think people on this board get horsey with each other, lemme tell ya sick people get mean af. Two weeks ago one group invited me to join the mod team >>>>
So...escaping to the UK in my head. Health & Fitness thread, mental health has got to be worth something here, right?
We're visiting London, Glasgow, Paisley and Edinburgh.
I'm doing all the travel plans. I cannot express how long it took for me to wrap my head around logistics. I have to go out to the East Coast and pray that my flight isn't delayed by some act of hurricane god or Newark International Airport, then leave out of Newark International Airport a few days later and on to London first stop. Studied airfares in various combinations, transportation between countries (we almost added Ireland and then dropped it due to time constraints), then return to the states. Studied the trip leaving/arriving/returning from and to various locations and settled on London first.
Visited Expedia and airline websites until I realized that if you mess with Expedia using different starting points and destinations, you get different airlines--you never get them all because many airline companies aren't contracted with Expedia. Then you go to the websites. I booked through Expedia because I was able to get nonstop and the rates were basically the same as the websites.
Hotels are another thing altogether. I booked directly with the hotel websites which means I was constantly using a pounds to dollars calculator to estimate the cost. Somewhere around 2 a.m. I would typically forget what monetary system I was using on whatever website, throw up my hands, go to bed only to do the same thing the next go round.
What I've learned so far...
1. Like I said, if you're going to use Expedia--mess with it in different combinations. On my last attempt, I struck gold with 3 different non-stops--few and far between when I started. Do the trip one way, then reverse the trip and see what you come up with.
2. Scotland hotels are dirt cheap compared to London. There's a cool interactive map of London hotels you can move around to different areas and it'll come up with the list of hotels by whatever order you choose...lowest to highest, highest to lowest. Daily rate, rate of the entire booking and so on. The range of accommodations is startling. Anything from luxury hotels, to hostels, to well basically a closet size room where you share bathroom facilities. I chose the same hotel chain for each area.
3. Hotel chain websites are weird in the UK. They have 4 different combinations of booking types to choose from. Never saw anything like it. Free cancellation within 24 hours plus wifi, breakfast (I call it benefits now), Free cancellation within 24 hours plus nothing. Non-refundable plus benefits, and non-refundable plus nothing. Crazy.
4. Transportation between countries...train, air, bus. Air was cheaper and faster.
5. Ground transportation within countries...trains, buses, state cabs, independent cabs, Uber and Hop on Hop off tour double decker buses. We'll be using state owned cabs, Uber, trains and our feet most of the time. Taking a train between Glasgow and Edinburgh, faster and not much higher than the bus.
I want to acknowledge that I had tons of help and guidance from two MDBers who, in addition to my own research, gave me practical advice and answered my questions until they probably got sick of hearing from me. But they're good folks so they stuck with me. You can tell who they are. They're the ones I'm not smarting off at on the board.
Other things on the hit list:
How to get money (ATM)
Use our cell phone (Get short term International plan)
UK medical services (Emergency services are free to visitors)
Health insurance coverage (I'm covered)
Trip insurance (Getting it to cover the tickets in case we pull out within 48 hours of departure)
Currently sorting through details of the actual visit now. Spent last night organizing 900 Pins into manageable categories. Now attempting to "bundle" sights together in convenient locations.
If it weren't for my MormonDiscussions.com friends and Pinterest I'd be nothing!