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Travel - The Do's and Dont's

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Contributor:
Rebekah Joy
Rebekah Joy

Travel - The Do's and Dont's? Maybe I started off on the wrong foot, I’m no expert on travel. I’ve been doing it for thirteen years, been arrested, mugged, attacked, rejected at the border, spent time in a Japanese prison (more about that later) and lived well below the poverty line (the line was so far gone it was a dot to me). But I also had a ball, met the most amazing people, opened my mind and explored some of the most fascinating things this world has to offer. You have to take the good with the bad to enjoy anything at all.

London Thames SunsetSo where to start? Because of recent visa changes lets head to the best of them all London. Up until 27th Nov 2008 (yep in just 2 days time) the good old working holiday was enough to make any UK stay enjoyable and profitable for up to two years. I applied for mine at the New York British consulate, which in hindsight was a stroke of luck as I only had $20 USD to my name. Not being used to applications for working holidays (the US and the UK have no such reciprocal agreement) the surprised staff took my scant documentation (no evidence of return flights and no bank statement off me) and told me to come back in three hours. I sat outside for the duration (I didn’t want to waste the $2 train fare) expecting the worst. Surprisingly they stamped my passport and in that wonderful British manner wished me a pleasant trip.

Ahhhh the good old days! Now it seems the new Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme (sounds like a jail sentence) has replaced all that ease and you have to have enough points and cash to be accepted. Read through the blurb if you’re interested in going at:  http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/. There seems to be an awful lot of checking and document authentication, completely different from my New York experience. In a nutshell the required funds are 1600 pounds, candidates must be over 18 and under 31 and be a New Zealand Citizen. At a glance it looks the same as the Working Holiday visa, but the British just like to change things around sometimes, its called bureaucracy.

StonehengeOnce you have your visa, its time to find a flight. This can be the most challenging of all, especially if you want that tropical stopover. The most common route is a one way via Australia, Singapore/Bangkok and onwards to Heathrow. A great website that I use (much better in Europe for cheap continental flights) is www.skyscanner.net. It allows you to compare fares through out the year rather than having to check every single day for a great fare. The trick is to not enjoy your stopover too much, I once met some boys who stopped for a month and never made it to London.

I’ve reached my word limit and we haven’t even made it to London! More about the ins and outs, where to go and how to find a place that isn’t occupied by sixteen Australian backpackers next time……
 

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