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Travel Tips
By Pam Selwood

Reunion tips and information
For those traveling to Harrogate in September, particularly for those who have never been or returning after 50 years, a few tips.

Currency
The business rate to buy a pound went as low as $1.42 recently, now around $1.51, still good, but on the uptake. Dollar traveler's checks are cheaper if you belong to a credit union, no commission which travel agents and some banks charge. If one takes dollar traveler's checks they are good for ever in any country.
However, one has to accept the given exchange rate on the day they are redeemed overseas. We prefer to have local currency in our pocket upon arrival. Don't exchange traveler's checks at airports, it's a rip off, get terrible exchange rates, go to foreign exchange desk at a bank, they vary. One can use a U.S. debit or credit card over there. BUT you will also incur a foreign exchange fee as well, they vary, check with your bank, as you are using a foreign card, it's worldwide. Also, if using a CREDIT card one has to put in a pin number as well. I just re-checked this with my sister. Here, we only put pin #''s in for debit cards. It's cheaper not to use U.S. cards at all.

Tipping
Unlike the U.S. where the general public have to make up low wages in pubs, restaurants, hotels, etc.in the service industry, employer's pays living wages. 10% is excellent for a meal at a restaurant or pub, much less at the bar, none necessary for hotel room or other accommodation. I learnt that American's can be seen as offensive by over tipping, diminishes their profession.

Pensioners
In U.K. anyone over 60 is considered to be an old age pensioner = OAP. No frowning, one can get discounts at some places by asking, especially on tours, not supermarkets and most restaurants. Everyone over 60 get's a free bus pass within so many miles if resident of U.K.  We can't. If asking for discount just ask for OAP discount, quickly and with a Yorkshire accent, just kidding!

Phone calls
These are very expensive from hotel rooms, other accommodation's as well, just as they are here. May even charge for local calls as well. Phone booths are another rip off, 60p for 30 seconds. I go to the Post Office and buy a 5 pound domestic calling card and then a 5 pound international calling card, so can use like an 800 # from your room plus pin #. Alternate idea, is take cell phone, purchase a sim card, research your supplier before you go, then purchase air minutes, pay as you go in UK.

Overnight travel and five hours forward
My Mum once gave me best advice on that as the flying Granny went to Zimbabwe and U.S. until late in her eighties.Get there love, unpack and go to bed for a few hours and wake up mid evening, stay awake until their bedtime and the time difference is gone. Easier said than done as many trips later I was 52 hours on the go with doctor's and hospital's, staying with friends and looked rude to go to bed in middle of afternoon. However, we managed to do that twice and it does work if in your own accommodation, arrive, unpack, go to bed and wake up mid evening, pick up supplies at local supermarket and go and eat. Establishment's stay open late over there as they do in our big cities.

Fish and chips shops
Back in the day with the 13th, Bart said they picked up fish and chips after the  pub closed and waiting for the bus to the hill. Fish and chip shops got taken over by many people who can't cook them properly, so ask local folk and they will tell you what's rubbish and what's not.   Besides Oliver's up Cold Bath Road which is take out, the other chippy I would recommend is Graveleys it used to be one of those run down places up Cheltenham Parade, now it's a good restaurant. The fish and chips are fabulous. They now serve beer and wine, they also serve a cuppa tea and bread and butter. A friend from Maryland was just over and got OAP lunch there.

Travel from airports 
Manchester (Man) Train from airport to Harrogate, change trains in Leeds. Can get luggage on a cart (trolley) from baggage claim to train terminal. There are some elevator's (lift's) in Leeds and also carts. My friend says cheaper to get ticket in Manchester, not online. Ask for a return (roundtrip) "Anytime" ticket cost was about 45 dollars in March. One can get a taxi, but better to find a Airport Taxi Service and negotiate price in advance, don't use the local taxi rank from Manchester. Leeds/Bradford Airport (LBA) formerly Yeadon, much closer and buses go straight into Harrogate frequently.

Grocery supplies
There are minimarkets in town, good for quick supplies, Sainsbury's, up Cold Bath Road in the Valley Gardens area, Tesco, opposite the main Post Office in town. Large supermarkets in walking distance: Asda, a block or so below the bus station. Marks and Spencer's is on Oxford Street, closer for most of us, bit more expensive. Waitrose is posher and at the top end of Station Parade. 

Hope all this is helpful -- Pam.

 


13th United States Army Security Agency Field Station Association