Travel Ireland or London with a 15 yr old boy?

elizat

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Sep 21, 2007
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Hi, I am looking for some input, if anyone has any. I am looking to take my 15 year old brother on vacation for a week over his spring break while my parents go on a cruise. I have found decently priced airfare from Florida to both London and Dublin w/ direct flights- $720 and $640 round trip per person.

He likes history, will go to museums and cathedrals, etc. We would be going for 6 nights. Do you think one destination would be better over the other?

Also, what about cost once there- is one more reasonable than the other, as far as food, attractions, etc.? I will be supplementing the airfare cost of what my parents are willing to pay ($500) and paying for the hotel in full for both of us, sharing a room. I probably will have to pay for all of his food too.

I thought about staying in the US and taking him to DC b/c of the history and museums, but the hotel costs outweigh any savings we'd have w/ international travel. Hotel and flight packages were coming up starting at $900 a person for DC!

Thanks!
 

Beach Bum

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Feb 17, 2006
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OK,I just took my almost 15 yr old to Paris and London and she HATED London.SHe is DYING to go to Ireland though,thats the next trip!London bored her to tears!
go for Ireland and LMK how it is ...cant wait to take my daughter there next!
 

digby723

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May 2, 2006
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I've never been to Ireland, so I can't comment on that, but I've been to London twice. At 15 I too was obsessed with history (I still am, just not as much time to devote to it now!) and it's why I ultimately picked to study abroad in the UK when I was 17. I loved London at 17 and I would have loved it at 15. There's a ton to do in the city there itself (London bridge/tower, Big Ben, Westminister, the London Eye, Picadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park, the Churchill war rooms, etc etc). And you could even figure out a bus to go to Stonehenge or take the train to go to Bath for a day/night. I'm not sure which will be cheaper overall, but since he'll be under 16, he should get a discounted rate for anything you do that requires a fare (like the London eye). Also, I know that the British Museum is free, and I'm pretty sure the others near Hyde Park (like the V&A) are also, but I'm not 100% on that. Food wise it wasn't horrible, but the last time I was there I was with my sister, and we were trying to cut corners everywhere we could, so we went to the grocery store (Tesco, Salisburys) to pick up pastries & fruit for breakfast vs having to find someplace to eat outside. We ate out in the evening with friends of mine, and even though the euro is/was higher than the dollar, I found the prices comparable, especially since you don't have to tip/tip as much as you would in the US. Good luck deciding between London and Dublin, and PM me if you have any questions about London, I'll try to help you as best as I can! :smile:
 
Oct 20, 2008
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If it's the first time in both cities, start with London! It's crazy big; you won't get to see everything.

Digby is right: you can also do daytrips to Cambridge and Oxford. I had friends/relatives studying there when I went so I don't know what's open for visitors or not in terms of the colleges, but the Ashmolean Museum and Bodliean Library are awesome.

One thing to keep in mind: April 2011 is when Prince William and (her name escapes me right now) so you may want to check how hotels are going to be - prices and availability - in London. There will be a lot of excitement in the air though!
 

digby723

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^Kate Middleton. I didn't even think about that, but you're right, tons of people will be wanting to catch a glimpse of the royals if they can. I'd start looking at hotels ASAP to make sure you find something that you can afford before the prices go up & everything gets booked. :smile:
 

elizat

Member
Sep 21, 2007
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Thanks very much for all the info and advice! I'm making kind of a "proposal" by email for each for him w/ things we can see, etc., so the info is helpful.

His spring break is in March, so we'd be going the 19th or 20th through the 26th or 27th. With London, I thought that was far enough ahead of the wedding that hotels wouldn't be any different than usual.

I've got to talk to him about both options and see what he likes the sound of best.
 

Avril

grly grl
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May 11, 2008
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London - there is tons more to see in London than in Dublin. You've got all those huge museums in London, all the amazing buildings, etc. etc.
 
Dec 11, 2006
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love both places - London is hip and cool and there is lots to do (I was there for the first time at 16 and loved it). Dublin is also cool but there is a bit less to do - you can do lots of outside activities around Dublin and of course do sightseeing within the city. but for 6 days I would also recommend London and then try to go see places around
winchester, stonehenge, bath - I lived in South of England for 10 years and still think I haven't seen everything London and the surrounding areas have to offer.

have fun! and i think it is so cool that you are taking your younger brother for a vacation
 

elizat

Member
Sep 21, 2007
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The more I research and read, the more London sounds like a good fit. Hotel choices are kind of overwhelming though- any recommendations for neighborhood or any particular hotel that is not too expensive? I've never been to London before, so I'm still researching!

ETA: It looks like Soho, Kensington, Westminster, Chelsea and Bloomsbury would work for location. I'm working off this map and plan to try to get a room w/ Priceline. Any input or other recommendations are appreciated!

http://www.priceline.com/hotels/Lan...AC3F0011AC20101223031844925160286476&plf=pcln

Thanks, lara! I'm 29, so I he thinks I am his "cool" older sister and is actually excited about going somewhere w/ me, but refuses to travel w/ my parents! :P
 
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jillybean307

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Mar 9, 2006
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Oh my gosh-London! London! I'm considering applying for the Fulbright for there so I'm a little biased.

I was there two years ago, and I adore London. It's so huge you can really fit the activities to suit his likes. Does he like sports? Go see a soccer game (it's an awesome experience). Museums? There are plenty that are awesome (and free!). You can do the London Eye (the big ferris wheel). The West End has amazing plays & you can get some last minute tickets on the cheap sometimes.

If he likes history, there are some great free tours around London that take you to all the major sites & are pretty entertaining (they're typically run by graduate students).

If you're not 100% set on staying in a hotel, you should try a hostel. Not only are they inexpensive, but London has some amazing hostels, and it's a great way to meet young people. Some of my favorite memories were sitting around the hostel playing card games with other travelers that I met.
 

digby723

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May 2, 2006
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You could stay in Victoria also, there are a ton of cheap hotels right next to the train/tube station and it's about a 10 min walk to Buckingham Palace. It's where my sister and I stayed last time. Hotel wise, we stayed at EasyHotel, but it had minimal amenities (TV, internet, maid service, etc you had to pay extra for) and was a very very basic hotel. I don't think I'd recommend them if you were thinking of sharing a room w/ your bother since there's only 1 bed in the room. I did a quick orbitz/trip advisor search, and Hesperia London Victoria seems to have gotten good reviews and runs about $160 USD/night for March right now. click me and is close to where I stayed when I was there summer 2009.
 

elizat

Member
Sep 21, 2007
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Thank you both! I just did another quick search and found a direct flight for $670 and I am going to my parents today and am going to talk about it w/ them and show him the attractions options.

Jilly, I think he would totally dig a soccer game and he would go to a show, so long as he liked the premise of it. Great ideas! I like the walking tours too- I did some in Italy and France in November when I went for about 2.5 weeks solo- Discover Walks, Sandeman's (spelling?) and I think most of the guides were grad students and the tours were really great, plus fun.

Digby, I think that hotel is one that is won on Priceline/Hotwire pretty frequently from some posts I read on a bidding forum by the amenities and location. Victoria looks like a good location and one that seems to be an area won pretty frequently too. Thanks for the idea!

I am really excited myself, so I just have to do my sales pitch today and hopefully book air today!
 
Oct 20, 2008
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manhattan
The first thing you have to do when you arrive in London is to buy an A to Z. It's a map book of London and all the streets are indexed. Even locals own it.

If you'll be in London the entire time, get a 7-day Zone 1-2 TravelCard for the underground, busses, etc. It's unlimited travel within Zones 1 & 2 (all the attraction and most hotels are in zone 1). Your brother, being only 15, will qualify for a significant discount. Travelcards will also let you take advantage of 2 for 1 offers to a lot of London tourist attractions (like the Tower of London). To take advantage of this offer, you must buy the Travelcard from train stations (not tube stations; Paddington and Victoria are stations with tube and train). It will come as a pink paper ticket and not as a 7-day plastic Oyster card. The following site has the 2 for 1 vouchers that you'll need to print out. So when you buy your ticket, present the voucher and your Travelcard. http://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/attraction-types/2for1london.aspx

41 Hotel is my favorite hotel in London and it's near the Victoria St station, across the street from Buckingham Palace. It's a boutique hotel with only 35 good sized rooms so the staff know you by name almost immediately. It might be a little over your price range, but they may have deals. I've also stayed at The Pelham Hotel in Knightsbridge.

Here is a link to do-it-yourself walking routes through London. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/gettingaround/walking/localroutes/4922.aspx

Good food in central London is generally expensive except Indian food. They are the best bargains and sooooo yummy. Wagamama, a chain noodle place, is nice and fast. And restaurants in the periphery are usually reasonable. Don't bother with Chinese food.
 

digby723

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May 2, 2006
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No problem! :smile: Don't forget to look up some Harry Potter locations if you/your brother like the movies/books. This is what my sister & I didn't think of until we got home and were really angry with ourselves for spacing out on this one! :noggin:
 

elizat

Member
Sep 21, 2007
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5
I booked the air yesterday- we ended up with a direct flight on Virgin from Florida at $680 per person, so that works great. Now, I need to work on getting a hotel through Priceline... I would consider a hostel, but my parents probably wouldn't be too keen on that, because they are not familiar with the concept really.

That 2 for one offer will be really great for the budget too. I ordered some travel books on Half.com today and will start looking through those for to make a rough itinerary.