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 Post subject: Cheap Fun in U.K., Ireland, and New York
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 2:36 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 4:58 pm
Posts: 948
Location: Portland, Oregon
Kris and I are very fortunate in that her parents are taking us on an extended vacation later this year. They're taking us to London, to Dublin, and to New York. Because we've never done any extended travel, we don't know what to expect. Her parents are very much "tour bus" people, so we'll be doing lots of group activities, I think. (Left to our own devices, Kris and I would make things up as we went along.) Still, there'll be time for us to wander off on our own.

Can anyone provide general travel tips, as well as ideas for cheap fun in these three cities?

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 Post subject: NYC Vacation is hard to do cheap
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:25 pm 
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Location: New York, NY
There is definitely a lot to do in NYC, but most of it is pretty expensive. Depending on how long you will stay, an unlimited day or week subway pass is a must have. Unlike DC, NYC museums are not free. Despite these issues, there is a lot of sightseeing that is free: Central Park, Chinatown, Wall Street, Ground Zero, Time Square.

If you want to see a Broadway play look into Student Rush or Lottery, but be ready to get up early.

The Staten Island Ferry is free to take.

If I think of anything more, I will post a follow up.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 4:41 am 

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London and Dublin aren't cheap either! Dublin used to be, but ever since the Euro things have changed dramatically. I first spent time in Dublin in 1980 and didn't go back until 2001; what a difference! In 1980 Dublin was a mess...trash all over the streets, the Liffey was an open sewer, and people smoked everywhere, including movie theaters and the no-smoking cars in trains. I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark in Dublin in 1980, through a thick haze of smoke in the cinema. Dublin was cleaner though still noisy and chaotic in 2001, and the city centre was markedly upscale compared with how it was in 1980. I'm sure it has changed even more since I was last there. But a few tips for Dublin:

1. Temple Bar, which used to be the last neighborhood you'd ever want to visit in Dublin, is now definitely worth a ramble. Lots of cool shops, pubs, galleries, and restaurants.

2. The reliably best traditional Irish music sessions in town happen at The Cobblestone (in Smithfield) and Hughes' Pub (19 Chancery Street). Smithfield can be a bit dangerous late at night, but "late" in Dublin is 2am onward. Those two pubs usually have music every night, and they're sessions (informal jams) with some of the country's best traditional musicians...it's a much better experience than a concert, and there's no cover charge.

3. Statues: Free entertainment...be sure to check out the statue of Molly Malone selling cockles from a wheelbarrow, affectionately known in town as "The Tart with the Cart," as well as the Anna Livia statue and fountain (which used to be right in the middle of O'Connell Street but was taken down a few years ago; I believe it's been relocated since then), known locally as "The Floozie in the Jacuzzi."

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:01 am 
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I've never been a "tour group" person (not even in China or Japan where I don't speak the language) either, but I do plan everything in sometimes excruciating detail.

I'm headed to NYC this weekend and, weather-permitting, will probably hit the Bronx zoo and City Island. As for other entertainments, "cheap" is relative. In addition to the free stuff mentioned, the museums are affordable (Met, MoMA, and Natural History are the big 3) as is the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island, both of which are more impressive in person than you might otherwise imagine. 2008 will be the last season in Yankee Stadium, so make sure you make it to a game.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 11:20 am 
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Location: England
As promised previously, I've posted on http://plonkee.blogspot.com/2007/04/tourist-in-london-town.html

General travel tips.

1. Take less stuff. All these places are major cities. Anything that you need that you didn't bring you can aquire.

2. Don't tip in pubs in London and Dublin. Its not done. When I went to the States on a BUNAC exchange program, they had to explain to us the immense importance of tipping in the US. By all means tip waitresses and bell boys(?) and maybe cabbies.

3. On the subject of pubs, if you want a drink at a pub in either Dublin or London (or anywhere in the British Isles) you should probably go to the bar. This would never have occurred to me, but apparently people from elsewhere have been known to sit at a table for ages in a pub wondering why no one came to serve them. Table service does happen but its not common.

4. Expect things to be different to what you imagine and be polite about it. Although I'm sure you would be anyway.

In mathematics you don't understand things. You just get used to them. John von Neumann

http://plonkee.com and http://thereligiousatheist.com

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 2:35 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:01 am
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A few years ago my friends and I took a road trip to NYC. We managed to do the entire trip (3-day weekend) for about $250 per person, total cost!

Here are some highlights:
* stayed in New Jersey (Hampton Inn)
* Hampton Inn has an amazing breakfast setup, which is included with your room
* five people in one room at the Hampton Inn (ok, so this part was not so legit)
* a bus stop was right outside the hotel and took us right down to the bus terminal
* free tickets to David Letterman (we got them just outside the Visitors Center in Times Square; a large group had cancelled last minute)
* scalped tickets for a Mets game
* Staten Island Ferry
* Ground Zero
* Metropolitan Museum of Art (I think that's what it's called); all of my buddies thought this was a waste of admission; I had a blast


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