One of the many advantages of smartphones is the growing array of travel apps that help make our journeys easier. Airlines such as British Airways and Lufthansa are among a host of companies that provide apps free of charge. One of the excellent features they offer are boarding passes that are sent to your phone.

There is no waiting around at machines or counters to collect bits of paper as the boarding pass is sent straight to your phone. When you get to the airport, all you have to do is click on the app and the boarding pass appears, nice and easy.

However, there is a hidden cost to this. In the UK, I have an unlimited data plan with my phone so accessing boarding passes isn’t really an issue but when abroad, I need a connection to retrieve the boarding pass. Data roaming charges are usually outrageous and when I’m abroad, I turn off my smartphone’s data. Instead, I use wifi hotspots.

In the UK, wifi is available in airports but it is a paid service. Visitors to the UK either have to pay to connect to the airport wifi or incur expensive roaming charges. I have noticed that many airports around the world offer free wifi. In some cases, it is free for as long as you want, in other cases, it is free for a limited period of time.

Passengers wanting to retrieve boarding passes from their smartphone wouldn’t need much free wifi time so I struggle to understand why UK airports don’t offer this. Many leading hotels have always charged outrageous amounts for wifi but last month, Accor announced it was going to scrap wifi charges at all of its 500 hotels. In the 21st century, this has to be the right thing to do and hopefully, UK airports will soon realise this and do the same.

Picture: Flickr User – Joseph Hunkins

Categories : Big Blue Marble, Britain
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Aug
26

Should We Have Travel Regrets?

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I was sitting on a train the other day and thoughts drifted (as they often do ) to places around the world. Not so much ones that I wanted to visit but I for some reason, I was thinking about the places I didn’t visit when I had the opportunity.

Last year, Jordan seemed to be the destination of choice for the discerning travel blogger and I took a 10 day break there with my family during the summer. I tried to plan an itinerary that suited us all. My aim was to see new places but also leave enough time to visit other spots on the spur of the moment. Jordan has many wonderful places but one place we didn’t go to was Wadi Rum. As we left Jordan, I kept thinking that I’d go there next time but as the months have passed, I’m wondering if I will go back to Jordan. I’ve seen a lot of it including Petra, Madaba, Aqaba and the Dead Sea but I’m not sure I’ll go back any time soon. If I don’t, it does seem such a shame that I didn’t get to Wadi Rum, a place I first heard of in the film “Lawrence of Arabia”.

Seven Pillars of Wisdon, Wadi Rum (Photo: Dale Gillard on Flickr)

As ever, when you have plenty of spare time on your hands, one thought leads to another and I started to think of other travel experiences I missed. Ironically, many of the missed experiences are close to home. This was a subject I wrote about back in February – Travel Adventures On Your Doorstep. The local places are easy enough to visit but its the further afield destinations that I may never get to see again. Five years ago, I spent nearly 3 weeks in Cuba but apart from a couple of days in Havana, I spent the rest of the time in Varadero at a beach resort. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but on the flight home, I felt I should have tried to see other parts of the country too. I think of trips to Australia, South Africa, the United States and a number of cities in Europe where I had the opportunity to see and do more but didn’t.

Why Have I Never Been to Vegas? (Photo: GlacierTim on Flickr)

On reflection, I don’t think you should have any regrets about travelling. There is always something else to see and none of use are going to get to see everything we want to while we are on this earth. For the first time ever, I’ve started compiling  bucket list of places I want to visit. I’m sure I’ll never get to some of them but its always good to aim high. I think we should all be grateful for the numerous travel experiences we’ve have and try to get the most out of all future trips. Top of the list for me at present is to travel Route 66 from Chicago to the Pacific. Its something I’ll only ever do once and when I do, I’ll see and do as much as possible. It won’t be easy as there are endless things to discover as you head West across the USA.
Share your thoughts?  Do you have any regrets about places you didn’t see when travelling?
Aug
19

Heathrow Pods at Terminal 5

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If you have ever flown from London Heathrow Terminal 5, you may have seen this strange little pods approaching the terminal building on a concrete ramp near the end of the runway. A number of them can be seen at any one time and they are quite small so for a time I wondered what they were.

A few months ago, I discovered they were used to move passengers from the T5 Business Car Park to the terminal. It seemed like a great alternative to the more traditional bus. Ahead of a recent trip to Zurich, I was flying from T5 at Heathrow and needed to pre-book some parking. The BAA website usually has some pretty good rates when you book in advance so it is part of my trip routine if I’m driving to the airport.

When I logged on to their website, I hadn’t really considered the Business Car Park. Generally, they are a lot more expensive and with the Swiss Franc being so strong, I wasn’t looking to spend any more money than I had to on this trip. I needed to park for 2 days so I typed in the details and the search results came back. I was pleasantly surprised to see the Business Car Park was only £4 more than Long Stay (£36 as opposed to £32). The opportunity to have a go on the Heathrow Pods was too good to miss so I booked them straight away.

On arrival, the Business Car Park is pretty similar to any other airport car park although it is a bit small in terms of number of bays. There are 2 pod stations; A and B. You simply walk to the nearest one and wait for a pod to arrive. When it does, there are a couple of very simple options on the touch screen, you jump in and away you go.

Inside, the pod will seat 4 people comfortable along with their luggage. The journey takes 5 minutes and drops you right in the heart of the terminal. On your return, you follow the signs to point you were dropped off, pick one of the waiting pods and chose your destination; Station A or Station B.

Heathrow quite often gets a bad rap, usually unfairly but I have to say that the Business Car Park pods are as efficient as anything I’ve experienced anywhere in the world. I’m not sure how much extra I would be prepared to pay for them in future but I will definitely consider them in the future. Unfortunately, they only operate at Terminal 5 which is where most (not all) of the British Airways flights operate from. Travelling in the modern age can be a real pain and it is little things like this that make our journeys a little easier.

Heathrow Terminal 5 Business Car Parking can be booked online at the BAA website*

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Categories : Britain, Europe, London
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Guest post by: My Mum

Courtesy of Flickr user "1541" Darren WebLondon City Airport (Picture: Flickr user 1541 under Creative Commons) is one of Londons gems. Situated on the south bank of the river Thames I found that this is an efficient and well run airport. It was initially used by businessmen due to its close location to the City of London but more and more people are using it for leisure trips.
Ten years ago my husband and I discovered the joy of travelling via London City Airport and today I can only endorse the most favourable impressions that were made in 2002.
Today, there is an excellent rail connection from the City Airport to the main rail routes which has encouraged people like me to use this wonderful little airport.
Last year, I flew to Australia and I arranged wheelchair assistance along the way. This time, my destination was much closer but I felt so much more at ease knowing that people would be there to help me at the airport. Once my flight to Zurich was booked with British Airways, I contacted them to arrange wheelchair assistance. It was very simple and free of charge.
When I arrived at the airport, I went to the customer services counter. The staff are friendly and helpful and the wheelchair that had been ordered well in advance was soon on the scene. They helped me all the way through security, passport control and right to the aircraft.
My journey was so much more enjoyable thanks to the wheelchair assistance provided at London City Airport. I believe that most, if not all, airlines off this service and most airports.
Long live London City Airport!
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Jun
26

Donetsk Euro 2012 Host City

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Nicknamed the “City of a Million Roses”, Donetsk probably isn’t a place on many peoples bucket list of place they simply have to visit. The city was founded by a Welshman called John Hughes who developed the coal and steel industry in the area and it is still an important centre for these industries in Ukraine today.

A by-product of the mining activities are the numerous spoil tips (aka slag heaps) that litter the landscape in and around the city. If you have ever flown to the Maldives, you will have seen the many islands dotted around in the Indian Ocean. On approach to Donetsk airport, the spoil tips are distributed around the countryside but that is where the tenuous link to the Maldives ends.

Donetsk was originally called Yusovka in recognition of the Welshman who settled here with his family and workers from South Wales to develop a steel plant and the coal mining industry. Today, it is still an important centre of steel works and is home to more than a million people. Due to it’s location in Eastern Ukraine, there are a significant number of ethnic Russians who actually outnumber Ukrainians.

As with many ex-Soviet cities, a large statue of Lenin is never far away. At the heart of Donetsk is Lenin Square complete with a statue of the man. Artema Street runs next to Lenin Square and people visiting for the first time may be surprised at the amount of trees and parks in the centre. In summer, temperatures are regularly into the mid 30s celcius (95F) so walking in the shade of the trees can be a welcome relief. There are a number of bars and cafes along Artema Street where you can have a drink and watch the world go by.

 

Lenin Square, Donetsk

 

Like many towns and cities in this part of the world, there is plenty of history and places to discover. Unfortunately, time was limited as the main event was football.

Donetsk has a sporting heritage. It is home to the legendary Soviet pole vaulter Serhiy Bubka and regularly holds international competitions including Davis Cup matches. Shaktar Donetsk won the UEFA Cup in 2009 and in recent times, the Hockey Club, futsal team, volleyball team and basketball teams have also won various titles.

In the quest to become a Euro 2012 host city, Donetsk fought off competition from Dnipropetrovsk and Odessa. The magnificent Donbass Arena was selected for Group D matches, a quarter final and a semi final. Given the city’s links to Britain, perhaps it was fate that England would play two matches here.

 

Donbass Arena, Donetsk

Donbass Arena, Donetsk

 

The Donbass Arena is one of the best ‘new’ stadia I have visited on my travels. It is in a beautiful setting of woodland, lakes and lawns. At night time, it is beautifully illuminated. Nearby is a war museum with a few Soviet era tanks and various memorials to fallen soldiers from past conflicts.

Group D was made up of Ukraine, England, France and Sweden. Considering Ukraine were the host nation and would have had an influence on the venues, it is surprising they picked Donetsk as their record there is awful. In 8 attempts they have drawn twice and lost six times which hardly makes it a lucky stadium for them.

The first match of Euro 2012 in Donetsk was between England and France. The difficult journey to Donetsk (14 hours overnight train from Kiev) meant the numbers of England and France fans were much lower than normal but the local Russian and Ukrainian fans flocked to the game and the stadium was pretty close to capacity.

The game ended 1-1 and following the final whistle, it was time to board the coach to head back to Donetsk airport. The newly built airport is a superb building and moving through security to the aircraft was as smooth as anywhere I’ve been in the world.

My visit to Donetsk was only short but very enjoyable. If you are ever in this part of Ukraine, take time to look round. You may be pleasantly surprised, just as I was.

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Apr
22

Transit in Singapore Airport

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Singapore Changi Airport - PHOTO from Flickr: Hey Tiffany!

Singapore is only small but it is a fascinating destination and you don’t even need to leave the airport to get a feeling of the place. Singapore Changi airport is a major transit hub in the Far East for Singapore Airlines. With flight connections all over the planet, a significant number of passengers are in transit. Being a transit passenger can sometimes be a pain. If you are lucky, the time between your flights allows you enough time to get between the aircraft without hanging around for ages.

Depending on the passport you hold, it is possible to leave your transit airport and visit the city if time allows but Changi is one of those rare airports where the transit passenger could happily spend hours. One of the first things I noticed was the terminals were all fully carpeted. The carpets absorb a lot of the noise you find in most terminals which gives the place a much more relaxed feel.

On my last transit visit to Changi, I had around 6 hours between flights (18:00 – Midnight). I had booked myself into the transit lounge but first I wanted to grab something to eat. There is no shortage or variety of places to eat but I wanted cheap and quick before heading to the transit lounge. I was pleasantly surprised that the prices were very reasonable. A problem I’ve found in many airports is that transit passengers are a captive audience and prices usually reflect that. However, in Changi, I didn’t find this to be an issue. Another plus for transit passengers !!

During the day, a 6 hour transit time would allow enough time to head into the city with a free 2 hour city tour (first come, first served). The first tour departs at 9am and the last at 4pm with a choice of either the Cultural Tour or Colonial Tour. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the opportunity to take either this time so instead it was off to the Ambassador Transit lounge. For longer transit stays, there is a hotel next to the lounge.

As airport lounges go, the Ambassador Transit lounge is superb with free wifi, a good selection of hotel and cold snacks and drinks and comfy seats. There is also a gym, showers and business facilities including a meeting room. Alternatively, if you are there during the day and the weather is nice, you could take advantage of the rooftop swimming pool.

Rooftop swimming pool at Singapore Airport - PHOTO from Flickr: Iain Croll (8lettersuk)

 

A few hours in the lounge was ideal to spend a bit of time catching up on emails and relaxing but before I headed to catch my flight back to London, I had to buy a couple of presents. As you would expect, there is no shortage of places to shop. I was after a bit of jewellery so a quick visit to the Pandora shop and I was set to fly home and I didn’t even get the chance to go to the free cinema or visit the buttterfly garden.

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Whenever I’m lucky enough to be heading off on a new trip, I make sure I have at least one camera (sometimes I have 3…or 4 if you include the one on my phone). I take plenty of photos and I upload the better ones to my Flickr account – http://www.flickr.com/bbmexplorer

Over the years I’ve uploaded well over 1,000 images and I spend time labelling, tagging and adding them to the map so people get the most from them.

Need a photo of St Basils Cathedral in Moscow? I’ve got just what you need.

After a trip, it takes time to sort out pictures, edit and upload them and once I’ve done that, I make all my images on Flickr available for use under a Creative Commons license. This means they can be used free of charge with the single condition that a link to my website is included.

All sorts of people look for images on the internet. Some people want them for blog posts and companies often use them for their websites. The majority of users respect the Creative Commons license and add a credit link but I’m amazed how many companies think it is perfectly acceptable to use the image without any acknowledgement to the photographer (ie – ME).

Flickr stats allow me to see where my photos are being used and from time to time, I have a look at see where they turn up. Quite a few are on Wikipedia which surprised me.

I love people to use my images PROVIDED THEY ARE PROPERLY ATTRIBUTED. Thats why I set them up with a Creative Commons licence. Although I like to think my photos are reasonably good, they don’t have too much of a commercial value. If I thought they did, they wouldn’t be on Flickr.

So please feel free to use my images and credit them properly but remember…..

…I’m watching you !!!

 

Comments (4)

I’m going to take you back in time to the late 70s when I was growing up in Africa. This is long before the days of digital cameras, camera phones etc. Films for cameras took 24 or 36 exposures either in black and white or colour.These are what my dad took and he processed the film himself to produce either photos or slides.

One of my Dad's old Kodak slides

My dad had travelled a reasonable amount after World War II and had taken photos from various places in Africa. Occasionally, he would set up the old slide projector and as a family we would sit down and look back at the photos he’d taken. Some were from places he’d travelled to before I was born. These were faraway places that sounded fascinating. Timbuktu was a place my dad mentioned a lot. We also looked back at our holiday photos. In the days before computers and the internet, looking back at pictures wasn’t as easy as it is nowadays.

Its probably more than 30 years since we last had a slide show and my dad’s slides have been stuck in the bottom of a cupboard for years. At Christmas, my mum asked if we should throw them out but I thought why not scan the old slides and look back at the photos we used to enjoy so much when I was a child. We tried to estimate the number of slides in Dad’s collection and our best guess was over 2,000 – thats a lot of scanning. It would have cost several hundred pounds to pay a company to scan the slides. However, I was in an electronics shop and found a little USB slide scanner for 20 pounds so I bought it and started scanning at home.

My USB Slide Scanner

Having owned an SLR for a few years, I’m used to looking at crystal clear, hi-res images and but cameras from a few decades ago were obviously not up to today’s quality. Add to that, the fact the some of the film has degraded slightly, the images weren’t always clear and needed a bit of cleaning up using Photoshop.

The National Museum in Salisbury (now Harare) circa 1975

Its been a slow job but I’ve found it incredibly rewarding to see some of the old family pictures again. I’ve also found it fascinating to look back at old photos in general but when there is a family connection, its even more interesting. I’ll upload some of the better images to my Flickr account for anyone who may be interested – http://www.flickr.com/bbmexplorer

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Whenever we think of travel, it usually conjours images of airports, exotic destinations, unfamiliar languages and the like. One thing we all tend to overlook are the travel adventures on our own doorsteps. I’m more than happy to admit I’m guilty of this and I’m sure a lot of you are too.

I live in the county of Suffolk in England and these are just some of the places people from far and wide come to see;

 

Sutton Hoo

Sutton Hoo Visitors Centre (Photo: Sharon Hall Shipp)

 

In 1939, a 7th century burial mound was discovered not far from the town of Woodbridge. A ship had been taken from the nearby River Deben and a burial mound, believed to be for an Anglo-Saxon king was constructed here. Many of the treasures that were discovered are currently on display at the British Museum in London. The visitors centre at Sutton Hoo is run by the National Trust and all the up to date visitors information can be found there.

Constable Country (Dedham)

Will Lott's Cottage, Dedham

This is on the Suffolk / Essex border but I’m claiming it anyway. The artist John Constable painted a number of wonderful works of art, the most well known being “The Hay Wain” (1821). Will Lott’s cottage which is featured in the painting can still be visited and its lost none of its charm over the years and the area has been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

 

Southwold

Southwold Beach Huts

Southwold is a little town on the North Suffolk coast and is a wonderful place to visit. It has everything that one would look for in a quintessential English seaside town. The sandy beach is lined with colourful beach huts or you can take a stroll on the award winning pier. From the cliffs overlooking the North Sea are a number of cliff top canon and a working lighthouse. The town is popular with day trippers and those wanting to stay a bit longer.

 

Framlingham Castle

Framlingham Castle (Photo: topcastles.com)

The magnificent castle in the market town of Framlingham has over 800 years of history waiting to be explored. From its origins when it was built in post Norman England, Framlingham Castle has served various roles including a Poorhouse as well as forming part of the defences against any possible German invasion during World War II. The castle is looked after by English Heritage.

 

Newmarket

Newmarket Races (Photo: Jonathan_W)

350 years ago, the “Sport of Kings” was born in this Suffolk town. Today, Newmarket is still the home of British Horse Racing. It is home to a large number of training stables and the racecourse has two courses; The Rowley Mile Course and the July Course. Between them, they host meetings in Spring, Summer and Autumn. Entrance to meetings can be very reasonable leaving you a bit more money as you try to pick a winner or two. In addition to the races, music concerts are also held here and often feature leading artists.

 

Bury St Edmunds

Abbey Gardens (Photo: Running in Suffolk)

This historic market town is packed with history. At it’s heart are the cathedral and wonderful Abbey Gardens. There are a number of museums in the town including Moyse Hall Museum which dates back to 1180, Greene King Brewery Museum and the Suffolk Regiment Museum. If you are looking a great place to eat or stay, the Angel Hotel in the heart of the town offers superb food in a wonderful ambience. Whilst you are in town, you can also visit Britain’s smallest pub, the Nutshell. The bar measures just 15′ x 7′ and was first opened in 1867.

 

Clare

St Peter and Paul Church, Clare (Photo: Cuthbertian)

Hidden away in the Suffolk countryside is the old wool town of Clare. Some buildings date back to the time of William the Conquerer (it appears in the Doomsday Book as ‘Clara’) and there are many unique and charming structures including the 13th century Priory and more than 125 listed buildings. The timeless beauty of the village is all part of its appeal to visitors who can come here on a day trip or stay a bit longer in one of the local B&Bs.

 

Orford Ness

Orford Ness

The shingle spit of Orford Ness was for many years a top secret area under the control of the Ministry of Defence. One of the many projects believed to be run from Orford Ness was Cobra Mist, a beyond the horizon radar system. Today it is owned by the National Trust and is popular with bird watchers. Some of the old military buildings remain as is the lighthouse which some believe was the source of the strange lights witnessed in Rendlesham Forest in 1980. The well documented UFO incident is sometimes referred to as the British Roswell. If you do plan to visit Orford Ness, make sure you wrap up warm as the wind can be biting.

These are just some of the places within an hour of where I live. You don’t have to look too hard close to home to find interesting places to visit. If you fancy a day trip close to home, do a bit of research, you’ll be surprised what is going on right on your doorstep.

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Later this year, Poland and Ukrane will host the 2012 European Football Championships. It is argueably the second biggest football tournament after the World Cup. My first England game was back in 1987 at the old Wembley Stadium. I stood behind the goal in a crowd of 100,000 as England drew 1-1 with Brazil. Gary Lineker gave England the lead before Mirandinha equalised. That goal prompted Newcastle United to sign him and he became the first Brazilian to play in England.

 

My first England away game in Durban, South Africa

 

Over the following years, I went to various games but never to away matches. That changed after the World Cup in 2002 when I booked a week in KwaZulu Natal as England travelled to South Africa to play a friendly international in Durban. At the time, I didn’t really know anyway else travelling to watch the game so I just went by myself. I booked a few days diving up in Sodwana Bay in the north of the province before heading back to Durban for a couple of nights to watch the match. The lads I met were fantastic and I had a great time. I managed to get a lift to and from the old ABSA stadium on a coach and inside the stadium, a group of us were giving some beer by some South African fans. It was a great trip and I even saw Emile Heskey AND Gareth Southgate score.

From then, I decided I was going to go whereever possible and the following year, I went to my first tournament in Portugal. By now, I was meeting friends I’d made either to travel with or catching up once we arrived.

 

An England game during Euro 2004 in Lisbon

 

I travelled with a friend and we stayed in the beautiful city of Porto, travelling to Coimbra and Lisbon (three times) for the 4 England games. It was a superb time to be there with loads of happy people, sunshine, football and plenty of great memories. Since then, I’ve met some great people, many of whom are now very good friends. I’ve travelled to a long list of countries and places, many of which I would never have considered going to.

Naturally with so many trips, there are plenty of stories too. One of the few trips I missed was the away match in Baku, Azerbaijan. I really wanted to go but circumstances conspired against me. Everyone I speak to who went had a great time. Naturally, when husbands and boyfriends go away for a few days, they usually spend their last bit of local currency at the departure airport on some perfume for the wife or girlfriend. However, that was a bit too obvious for one England fan. Instead of a bottle of scent, he decided to take back an Azeri steam iron complete without English instructions.

My favourite away trip was the 2 match tour to the United States in 2005 which saw England play USA at Soldier Field in Chicago followed a few days later against Columbia at the Giants stadium in New York. It was my first visit to Chicago and I loved it.

 

England visit Soldier Field in Chicago

 

The game was played on the Saturday so we took the opportunity for a bit of sightseeing on the Sunday ahead of our early morning flight to Newark. A friend and I took a Gangster tour to see the old haunts of Capone and Dillinger. The tour was excellent and dropped us off outside a bar at about 3pm. Conscious of our early start, we just went in for a quick drink. We got back to the hotel around 1am ready for our 5am pickup. Somehow, we got up and made it down to the car who whisked us off to the airport. After a while, the driver announced we were getting close to O’Hare. Unfortunately, we were flying from Midway which resulted in a sharp U-turn and some liberal interpretations of the speed limits. We just made our flight and I’d never been more grateful to get into a hotel room early when we finally got to Jersey City.

The next day was an early start at the local pub for a full English breakfast and an early-ish departure to the Giants Stadium for my first tailgating experience. The pub very kindly provided us with a keg of beer which was easily consumed before the game.

A few years ago, England supporters had a terrible (and well deserved) reputation but today, it is very different. Despite travelling in huge numbers, there are hardly any arrests. This is mainly due to the tight controls on getting tickets for away matches. Unless you are a member of the official supporters club, you don’t have a chance. Even then, matches do get over-subscribed but a loyalty scheme ensures the regulars get tickets while also allowing new comers access to some tickets.

Depending on the destination, the biggest challenge is booking travel and accommodation. There is one fan I know who refuses to fly. Luckily, he is retired and goes to many of the games by train. The furthest away trip he took was to Almaty for the World Cup 2010 qualifying in Kazakhstan along the old Silk route. It took something like 5 days to get there and another 5 to get back. I haven’t travelled to an away game entirely by train yet but it was be a wonderfully relaxing option compared to tackling airports.

A couple of years ago, I drove to Paris for a game. I left a couple of days ahead of the match to take in the Battlefields around Ypres and the Somme. They were well worth visiting and I’m sure I’ll go back again someday. My SatNav was invalueable in finding all the little villages and memorials. In 2006 ahead of England’s first game in the World Cup, I was told the story of one fan who really should have bought a SatNav or at least learned how to read a map. This lad from Hull had bought a cheap camper van…and I do mean cheap. The headlights didn’t even work but this was in the middle of summer so it shouldn’t have been a problem. Our intrepid fan made his way to Frankfurt in his little van, parked up and found a bar. He casually said to the barman

“Its pretty quiet in town considering England are playing here tomorrow”

The barman was puzzled as this little town on the German / Polish border wasn’t a World Cup venue. It soon became clear, our friend from Hull had gone to the wrong Frankfurt. Now he had to get right across Germany in his old campervan, without any headlights. Thankfully, he made it and he had learned his lesson. The most important thing was that England also beat Paraguay 1-0.

 

Most England fans went to the correct Frankfurt in 2006

 

 

However, the majority of fans do fly and many prefer to travel independently rather than use the more expensive day trips. Airlines don’t tend to add extra capacity so the seats that are available are generally sold quickly. The prices appear to go up quickly and some accuse the airlines of hiking prices. I don’t believe this is the case, its simply a matter of the cheaper seats being sold a lot more quickly than normal.

Groups of fans who travel together will plan their travel ahead of the seats being released. Sometimes, delaying by even a few minutes can result in fares in some cases doubling or more. Its not all expensive though. I know some fans who travelled to Geneva to watch England play Argentina in a friendly a few years ago who paid just £32. They caught a flight on the morning of the game with the return late in the evening. There was no need for a hotel on this trip.

 

Kiev - Host city for Euro 2012

 

This summer, England and Ireland will take part in the Euro 2012 Finals. Ireland will play their matches in Poland while England fans will have to travel further to Ukraine with games in Donetsk and Kiev. Travelling to Donetsk is especially tricky due to the distance from Kiev and relative lack of accommodation in the city. This summer, I’ll travel to the games for the first time on day trips. Its not a tournament I’m particularly excited about and in 2013, England will return to Ukraine to play a 2014 World Cup qualifier. I’ve already been to Kiev once with England so in 2013, I’ll aim to see the sights I missed last time round.

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