Wednesday, May 22

International Roadschooling: Transportation & Before You Leave


Before You Leave

  • Pull out your passport and check the expiration date. It can take a while to get your passport, so have one in hand when you book your trip. Make sure it's good for at least another year.
  • Traveling during Britain's "shoulder season" (May, September, and early October) is easier and less expensive than in peak season. Plus, shoulder season travelers enjoy smaller crowds and better room availability. July and August are peak months to visit, with very long days and nice, warm weather. July is typically the warmest month of the year and June is the sunniest.
  • Contact your cell phone company to add an international plan, if available. If not, you'll need an unlocked phone with a local SIM card.
  • Book hotels with cancellation, whenever possible. Travel insurance can help, but it's easier to simply cancel if that's an option.
  • Plan to stay in some smaller bed & breakfasts or hotels run by locals, if you have the chance. Get to know people in small towns and learn about cultural differences. (We recommend the Old Schoolhouse in Haltwhistle, if you get that way. Ten stars! Tell them the Oklahoma homeschoolers sent ya. Seriously though, Kate is an amazing cook and Ian is hilarious.)
  • Let your credit card company know that you will be travelling abroad. This way, they won't cancel your transactions, believing them to be fraudulent.
  • Get the travel insurance. It can cover financial losses, medical care, emergency transportation, lost baggage, and canceled or delayed flights.

Weather & Clothes
  • Don't overpack. Packing light will help you to be more mobile. Many places do not have elevators, so only pack what you can carry up the stairs, onto public transportation, and walking through villages.
  • Contact your accommodations ahead of time to see if there is a place you can do laundry. This will stretch your clothing, eliminating the need for more suitcase space.
  • Layer your clothing to accommodate various weather conditions. Tank tops, long sleeve shirts, and a jacket can be mixed and matched to cover many settings and temperatures.
  • You're more than likely to see rain at some point in your trip. Have an umbrella at the ready wherever you go.


  • If you are certain of your itinerary, book your trip as soon as you have the money. This goes for airfare and hotel, but also train tickets. Choose your seats for both the plane and the trains. In addition to saving money, you'll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing your reservations are set.
  • If you don't have a connecting flight, choose a seat toward the back for easier access to the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Be nice to the flight attendants. Always.
  • When returning home, use the Mobile Customs app to speed through the customs line.

  • While there are some hiccups in rail transit, a lot of train companies allow you to file claims and get refunds online if your train is as little as 15 minutes delayed. Often if it's over an hour delay, you get a full refund.
  • The British are quite punctual and if you are late, you may be considered rude.
  • Book a table for longer train legs. You'll have space to read, eat, work, stretch out, and more.
  • Hold onto your train ticket. At bigger train stations, there are fare gates to scan your ticket on the way out, and the same applies for the Tube in London —you have to tap out in order to leave. On some trains, you'll be asked to show the ticket in motion and can be hit with a fine if you don't have it.
  • Order a pre-paid Oyster card, which can be used on various forms of public transportation in London, including buses, the Tube, trams and more. Using this card, rides are cheaper, and you can even show them at restaurants, shops, galleries and more around the city for more discounts!

  • Don't get run over. Driving on the left side might seem quirky and fun if you're not used to it, but the forgotten consequence for pedestrians is that cars are coming from a different direction than you're used to, so your natural instincts when crossing the street will be thrown off. Be sure to check both directions, multiple times, before crossing.

  • Don't cut in line. Queuing is almost a pastime in's that important. In England, the right side of escalators is for standing, while the left side is reserved for people who are walking.
  • Fight against jet lag by getting rest before your trip. Drink lots of water during your flight to helps combat jet lag, and take it easy on the day you arrive. Don't immediately go to the hotel and lay down, but try to walk around and stay up to adjust to the local clock. However, to better avoid illness, give yourself some time to take it slow until you can overcome jet lag completely.
  • Do the touristy things. Odds are you'll never see the people around you again, so go out and enjoy yourself. Be a little quirky and see every tourist attraction you want!

Transportation websites:

Pick up activities and worksheets to augment your real or virtual trip in the unit study bundle below!

Explore the art, history, geography, food, and culture of England in this cross-curricular unit study….perfect for families getting ready to travel abroad or folks who want to travel via unit studies!  Each stop along the roadschooling trip covers a different facet of history and culture with unit information, resources, worksheets, activities, and more...  

YES!  I want 122 pages of FUN STUDIES!

Table of Contents:

  • o Introduction & Geography of England
  • o Portsmouth
    • o The Mary Rose & naval archaeology
  • o London
    • o The British Museum & archaeology
    • o The Wallace Collection & medieval history
    • o The Tower of London / London Bridge & the Tudors
    • o Buckingham Palace & royalty
    • o Victoria and Albert Museum & medieval art
    • o Thames / Globe Theater & Shakespeare
    • o Sherlock Holmes Museum & British Literature
    • o Abbey Road & British Invasion
  • o Leeds
    • o Royal Armouries & middle ages
  • o York
    • o Jorvik & Vikings
    • o York Castle & archaeology
  • o Haltwhistle
    • o Hadrian’s Wall & ancient Celts
    • o Vindolanda & archaeology
  • o Alnwick
    • o Alnwick Castle & architecture
    • o Poison Garden & herbs
    • o Barter Books & WW2 history
  • o Alnmouth
    • o North Sea & train history
  • o Newcastle o Segedunum & ancient Romans
  • o Tips & Tricks for Travelling in England

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