Planes, Trains and Automobiles

I don’t mind telling you all that today’s blog is going to be shorter than normal because I’m neck deep in UK planning.  🙂  That’s right – we’re back to planning!

Before I go further, I just want to take a moment and express my sorrow, concern and hope for those who are living in Japan.  My husband has co-workers and friends there, my daughter’s dance teacher is there right now, and we hope everyone is as well as can be expected.  I consider ourselves to be extremely lucky – he was in Japan exactly one week prior to the earthquake – a week earlier than he’d originally planned.  Unfortunately it seems as though the news gets more dire with each passing day.  I know that Americans can seem overly concerned about themselves and not really be aware of what is truly going on elsewhere in the world – and while I won’t argue that point (sadly it’s true) – my thoughts are with those in Japan.

Now for our daily dose of excitement!  Our big snag in the UK trip has been untangled, and I’m thrilled to be completely stressed about buying train tickets in advance, finding hotels and all of that good stuff.

If only I had the nerve to submit a question to the DD roundtable that Katy does with the band…my question would be “What is the fastest way to get from London Heathrow to Birmingham (New Street) the day of your show.  Is it better to take the train (even though I hate the idea of having to transfer in central London, which seems REALLY counter intuitive….), should we go ahead and pay a taxi, or better yet – can one of you pick us up on your way??

I’m kidding about that last part.                Mostly.

Driving ourselves is NOT an option.  First of all, I don’t want to kill anyone, including myself, and that whole driving on the left thing – forget that nonsense, especially with jet lag!  Secondly, if the first reason weren’t enough for you, I just don’t know what to say.

Oh, and if you have good suggestions, and if someone could explain the Oyster card to me – brilliant!  I understand the concept of the card, but I don’t know if it would really benefit to have one.  For much of our trip, we’ll be outside of London – going from Heathrow to Birmingham, then from Birmingham to Nottingham, next day would be Nottingham to Liverpool, then I think we’re going to back to Birmingham for a day, and then to London to finish out the trip.  What is the best way to do all of that??  Buy in advance?  Get a railcard of some sort?   To someone from the US who is used to just jumping in the car and sitting in traffic on the freeway, this tends to make my head swim.  Never mind what happens when I made the mistake of downloading a rail map….holy cow.

Well, I am off to find a hotel for Birmingham.  We already have the hotel for our first night, but Amanda and I are going back for an additional night before we head to London for the show at O2.  We’re not sure where to stay, but we do want to be near restaurants, shopping, nightlife and that sort of thing.  Any ideas? Send them to or post them here!  Thanks a bunch!!


6 thoughts on “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”

  1. Oyster is no good to you if you're not spending a lot of time in London. However, when you are in London, consider a travelcard (and to make things more confusing, it will be loaded onto an Oyster card… gotta' love the English).

    Unless you want to spend all of your merch budget on a taxi, I'd suggest train. Which means you probably want to consider the Brit Pass. Visit this site:

    Also, I hope you're checking out your hotels on TripAdvisor before booking! Even the “nice” hotels aren't what we expect here in the states so if you're staying somewhere unfamiliar, research it first.

    Also, I recommend looking for mobile phone apps for the Tube and the rail system. They will make your life a lot easier.

  2. Thanks for the great info, Robin. I have several apps on my iPad for the trip, so they will be helpful! I think our biggest concern is getting from Heathrow to Birmingham that first day since we're on a limited time schedule. I really have to figure out what the fastest way of getting there is going to be. We've spent a lot on our tickets for that show, so we don't want to miss it!

    TripAdvisor is my favorite travel site, so I'm there all of the time – it's been very helpful in the past. I'm pretty picky about where I'll stay, and I've learned that there are real differences between what I think is nice, and what other people think. LOL Like I said, I'm picky. 😉

    We'll definitely look into that Brit pass. I saw something about that the other day but I haven't had a chance to look into it. I'm pretty sure we'll need it though. Thanks!!!

We (Amanda and Rhonda) appreciate discussion and differences of opinion. We respectfully ask that you fully read the blog before bitching us out. If you're only here to take us down a notch, note that we moderate replies (meaning we're not printing rude comments). Thanks a bunch!

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