Study Abroad and Exchange

Three tips for travelling to Britain

Red telephone box in London, UK

As I mentioned in my previous blog, your application to go on exchange or study abroad can be a long process. During the application process it’s a good idea to start looking for the cheapest flights; the earlier you book, the more money you save.

A well-prepared journey takes a lot of pressure off when you eventually arrive and can start you on your way to enjoy your experience from the very beginning. Here are my three tips you should consider for an enjoyable journey.

Planning for your flight

From Australia, the journey to Britain is extremely long and can get very boring very quickly. The flight itself takes around 21 hours, which doesn’t include the one or maybe more stops your flight may include. With a little forward planning there are many ways to defeat the boredom.

The first thing I would advise is to check your flights include inflight entertainment. Most international airlines now include this in a standard ticket, but it’s always a good idea to check this ahead of time. Qantas and Emirates are both very good options as they have a large selection of movies, TV and games. If you love movies, then this is a great way to pass the hours during the flight.

Books are another great entertainment option, and I would also consider bringing a laptop or tablet; but just keep in mind that it needs to be in flight mode.

Tips for airline travel

For anyone who hasn’t travelled by plane before it’s best to familiarise yourself with the check-in and boarding process as much as possible beforehand. If you’re a seasoned traveller then you’ll understand what’s involved – here’s some information that might be a useful refresher.

First, keep all your important items within easy access. Easy access to your passport and boarding pass will allow a smooth and hassle-free experience. In my opinion the most stressful part of the airport process is going through security; allow yourself plenty of time to board your flight and get through security as early as possible. Remember that you’ll be required to put your belongings through x-ray screening, including your bags, shoes, any jewellery and things like water.

Most airports I’ve been to have required me to remove my laptop to put through x-ray screening separately, so make sure it’s easily accessible.

Finally, find your boarding gate early so you know exactly where you need to be, which will leave you with plenty of time to relax.

Organise your airport transfers

When you book your flights you should also consider how you will get from the airport to your accommodation. The UK is a small geographical region and public transport covers every town and city very efficiently.

If you book early, trains and buses are very good options. They are cheap and take you into the city centres where most universities have their main campus and where most of the accommodation is. However be sure to check your accommodation location as you may also have to take a bus and possibly walk.

Whatever you decide, be sure to make your journey as comfortable as possible, as you will most likely have heavy luggage, and after such a long time flying, you’ll be eager to get to your accommodation. As long as you’re prepared, you’ll be absolutely fine.

Bonus tips – knowledge from a local

British people are renowned for complaining about the weather, and for good reason. Britain’s weather isn’t extreme, but it varies from day to day. I highly recommend bringing a good quality raincoat and practical shoes. Especially if you wish to explore the many beautiful walks which Britain has to offers.

In Britain, food can be quite expensive, however there are many markets which sell fresh food for good prices. My advice would be to familiarise yourself with your local area soon after you arrive and find the places which suit your taste and budget.

Be aware of the value of your money. Wherever possible, try to roughly convert the money back to Australian dollars when you’re thinking of buying something. It could be easy to think something is cheap when it isn’t or vice versa.

Now that you’ve read my tips on a stress-free journey to Britain, remember to enjoy yourself and take advantage of every opportunity to experience your new home away from home.

– Jordan


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