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Earth Technology

Geek Travel To London From the US — Tips? 1095

Audrey23 writes "I am traveling to London from Washington state for two weeks in December for pleasure (use-it-or-lose-it vacation scenario) and was wondering if I should bother bringing my laptop. I know that I would have to change the region code on my wireless amongst other things and the power cord would have to be changed for a UK outlet. Would I be better off not bringing my laptop and just using Internet kiosks (do they exist in London?) or would having my laptop be a better choice to keep in touch, off-load my digital images etc? I plan on hitting the British Museum but was wondering what geeky things to do that are in London that might be worth going to and any tips hints on overseas travel for geeks? I travel quite a bit in the states but this will be my first trip overseas and want to make the best of my stay in merry old England. What words of advice do you travel seasoned geeks have for me?"
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Geek Travel To London From the US — Tips?

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  • dont overthink (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PizzaAnalogyGuy ( 1684610 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @06:30AM (#30211372)
    Unless you want some time off from computer, take your laptop with you. It's still a lot easier than always going to a Internet Kiosk and can use it otherwise than just quickly uploading images off.

    However when traveling, experiencing is the greatest thing. Not planning too much.

    Let me give you an example.

    At home it's easy to get oriented to the same ways always. Sure sliced ham, bacon, pineapple and roasted red peppers with provolone cheese on a parmesan crust pan pizza with barbeque sauce on it is nice (* [yfrog.com]). You love it, it tastes good. But sometimes it's time to just go for it, doing the dramatic change without thinking about it earlier. Change that damn pizza to chicken breast, white sauce, smoked bacon and tomatoes on a provolone crust with a mexican sauce on top of it (* [yfrog.com]). And if you're really going wild, order a chocolate ice cream with strawberries and m&m's on top of it!

    What I'm basically saying is that just go and do something. As the geeky non-social persons we are, it's actually really easy to get to know new people when in a foreign country. Maybe because then you have a need to go to talk with people, or sound more interesting to girls since you're from other lands, or come out as mysterious because you dont even understand each others languages. Don't plan everything beforehand - leave there that possibility for problems. I visited Russia earlier this year and lost my immigration card while there. It took some planning out to get out of the country, but it was fun in the end.

    Also, since you are near London, there's a great pizza place in Naples that you should visit.
  • by strangemachinex ( 1659711 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @06:42AM (#30211462)
    Leave the computer at home.
  • by legoburner ( 702695 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @06:44AM (#30211474) Homepage Journal
    You can buy them easily from the airport too (especially coming into the UK). Changing wifi settings is not needed - it is still 2.4ghz, the standard only changes the power levels. If it works in the US it will work in the UK. For more geeky things, the welcome trust (featuring victorian medical curiosities like darwin's walking cane, a mummified south american, mad king george's hair, 19th century japanese sex toys, etc) and the british library treasures room (featuring the magna carta, gutenburg bible, domesday book, early maps, da vinci notes, shakespeare, beatles, etc) are great and are practically next door to each other. Most locals dont even know about them but they are definitely worth half a day or so between them.
  • by AGMW ( 594303 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @06:44AM (#30211476) Homepage
    Er ... scrub that!

    Look BOTH WAYS EVERY TIME 'cos we do have a few one way streets in Ye Olde Londone

  • Remember security (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @07:34AM (#30211856)
    If you elect to not take your laptop so that you are typing passwords in on someone else's computer, make sure to change all your passwords before you go. When you get back, change them back. You never know if there is a keylogger or other such things, and so make sure to treat every computer as hostile.
  • Netbook (Score:3, Insightful)

    by barzok ( 26681 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @07:45AM (#30211950)

    If you must take a computer with you, get a Netbook on a Black Friday sale deal and just take that. Don't risk your expensive laptop with lots of personal data on it.

    I don't see a need to take one at all, aside from backing up photos from your camera, watching movies, and maybe checking in with family back home. You're on vacation - unplug!

  • by WaroDaBeast ( 1211048 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @08:04AM (#30212098)
    Yes, you have to look both ways. It doesn't matter what side of the road people drive on; you just have to look towards immediate potential danger first.
  • Take the Eurostar (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mad flyer ( 589291 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @08:06AM (#30212106)

    And also spend a day or two in Paris. It's a quick and cheap ride.

  • Re:Remember... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by slim ( 1652 ) <john@@@hartnup...net> on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @08:18AM (#30212188) Homepage

    I can strongly recommend saying you're a Canadian rather than US citizen. Particularly outside London, American tourists are utterly detested for their rude and pushy behaviour.

    Nah. Just don't behave rudely, and people will know you're one of the decent Americans.

  • Re:dont overthink (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jonbryce ( 703250 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @08:29AM (#30212268) Homepage

    Also, when you get to England, get a pay as you go HSDPA modem. It is much cheaper than using WiFi hotspots, and you get much better coverage.

  • Re:Remember... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by slim ( 1652 ) <john@@@hartnup...net> on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @09:04AM (#30212512) Homepage

    Whether the rudeness reputation is deserved or not, it really has given all US tourists a bad name, and it's one that is going to be hard to get rid of.

    This is entirely true, yet I think most British people quite easily distinguish between the archetypal crass American tourist (Hawaiian shirt, loud voice, rude) and a quiet, respectful person stood in front of them speaking with an American accent.

    Similarly, see the racists who are OK with the black people they've met. "Oh yeah, *he*'s OK. It's just the rest of 'em I can't stand."

  • NO LAPTOP (Score:3, Insightful)

    by K2tech ( 1685250 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @09:34AM (#30212828)
    DO NOT TAKE YOUR LAPTOP I'm an IT manager with 15 years experience and work for a company with global operations and travel often. I was also in the USAF and traveled to Europe (primarily Germany) many times. That having been said, the laptop is more hassle than its worth. Unless you have a real-time business need, leave it behind. Its a hassle while traveling and you'll worry about it constantly not to mention the extra bag. Bring a camera and maybe a digital voice recorder or a movie camera. Enjoy a the vacation for what it is and not worry about answering e-mails. Leave the US behind and just enjoy Europe.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell