This is provided to help assist in planning your trip to England.
You will need to fly into one of two airports in London: Heathrow Airport or Gatwick Airport. The links for each airport are below. Heathrow Airport is about 1 hour from Oxford. Gatwick Airport is about 2 hours from Oxford.
Heathrow Airport (LHR)
Gatwick Airport (LGW)
The Oxford Express (bus/coach)
*If you would prefer to take the train into Oxford instead of the coach, you will have to change trains mid-way through your trip. We recommend taking the coach (bus) over the train into Oxford because you are not required to change buses.
Great Western Trains
Post offices in England are usually open between 9:00 am to 5:30 pm. Monday through Friday and 9:00am to 12:30 pm on Saturday.
Visitors to England are covered for emergency situations under the British National Health Service provisions. Illnesses arising from pre-existing or chronic conditions are NOT covered, so be certain before departure that your present health care insurance will cover you abroad. Be sure to fill prescriptions for any medication you take regularly before you leave the USA. Please be aware that some U.S. "over the counter" drugs may actually be considered prescription drugs in other countries. You should have with you a written statement from your personal physician that the medicine is being used under a doctor's direction and is necessary for your physical well-being while traveling. Always carry prescribed drugs in their original containers.
No special immunizations are needed to enter England. The International Immunization Certificate is not required for travel in England or France. If a medical emergency occurs, contact the Oxford Round Table directors immediately.
Vehicular traffic in England is often congested and hectic. Since the English drive on the LEFT-HAND SIDE OF THE STREET, be very careful to look RIGHT THEN LEFT, before crossing a street. You are cautioned to pay special attention to this difference since Americans are conditioned to look for traffic in the opposite direction.
Security officials in your U.S. city of departure may ask you numerous questions (e.g. did you pack your own luggage?) Don't be nervous! Instead, take comfort in the fact that this process is for your own safety. Going into England requires you to pass through the customs' checkpoint. After picking up your baggage, proceed through customs. If you have something to declare, follow the appropriate signs (often a red dot). Otherwise, if you have nothing to declare, follow the appropriate signs (usually a green dot). Please exercise courtesy and patience with customs officials. They may ask to check that you have not brought anything illegal into the country; if they do not continue walking.
When you return to the U.S., you must also clear US Customs. You will be given a customs' declaration form on the plane on the return flight. You may declare orally all items acquired abroad and brought back with you, whether purchased or given to you as gifts, if their total value does not exceed $400. On the declaration form, you should state the price actually paid for each article in dollars or the equivalent in the country of acquisition. You may lump souvenirs of small value in a combined figure. If you exceed the $400 limit, you must pay duty at a flat rate of 10% on the next $1000 items. In the event you exceed $1400 in total items being brought back, you will pay an additional duty averaging about 12%.
Do NOT leave your luggage unattended at any time.
Do NOT ask anyone else to watch your luggage.
Useful Tips While Traveling
On the plane, take a decongestant and drink plenty of water to avoid taking a cold (from recirculating air). Bring along a neck pillow to help you sleep, and don't drink alcohol on the plane.
When you arrive, stay up until your normal bedtime to help your body adjust quickly to the time difference.
Clothes and Baggage
A good rule of thumb is to put everything you plan to take on the bed, then put a third of it back in the drawers. Pack a small canvas or nylon bag because you always come back with more items than you take with you. You can take a maximum of two suitcases plus a carry-on bag on the plane.
The college has coin-operated washers and dryers for your use.
Remember to keep your passport and any other items you might need (medicine, glasses, contact lens case, film) in your carry-on luggage. A purse, camera bag, or umbrella may also be carried on the plane. But remember to pack light - you'll be bringing souvenirs home.
Cameras and Film
Taking pictures abroad will add a pleasurable and memorable dimension to your travels and studies. In order to avoid frustration while taking photos abroad or having poorly developed pictures when you arrive home, consider the following photo tips:
Camera: Check your camera thoroughly before you leave. Make sure batteries are fresh.
Film: Take plenty of film with you. Depending upon your photographic likes and habits, you may wish to take rolls of film with different speeds. Consider whether you want to take slides, prints or both. Ask the security staff to visually inspect your film to avoid the x-ray device which may fog and spoil the film.
Photo Etiquette and Rules: Be a conscientious traveler and observe local rules regarding picture taking. In some historic places (mostly cathedrals and palaces) photography is not allowed unless you have a special permit.
Depending on the exchange rate, developing film is usually more expensive in England than in the U.S. However, you may wish to develop your first roll of film in England to make sure that your camera is working properly. Be sure to purchase a lead film bag so that security checks do not damage your film.
When you receive your passport, you should immediately sign it on the appropriate page since it is not valid unless signed by the bearer, also, fill in the information requested on the inside front cover. In case of accident or other circumstance, it may be necessary to contact the designated agent or next-of-kin. Especially, keep your passport safe and never loan it to a friend or stranger under any circumstance. Many banks require you to show your passport when cashing traveler's checks.
Carry a copy of your passport in a separate file.
If your passport becomes lost or stolen, report this IMMEDIATELY to either the Oxford Round Table directors, or the nearest U.S. Consul. It is wise to photocopy the ID page of the passport twice: leave one at home with family members and keep one in your suitcase as you travel. If you can supply the Consulate with a photocopy of the data page, it will quicken the replacement process.
US citizens do not need a visa for short stays in Britain or France.
You can obtain the forms for a passport at: http://travel.state.gov
Upon arrival in England, proceed to the passport control area. You will be asked questions regarding the purpose and length of your trip. Explain that you are attending a conference. Answer your questions openly; do not joke with the officials. Proceed to the baggage claim area to pick up your luggage. Carts are usually available to carry your luggage. Remembering your flight number is helpful.
Electrical voltage in England (and France) is 220 volts (ours is 110 volts), so your hairdryers, razors, etc., will not work there without adapters. Many appliances sold here have voltage transformers built into them (look for a 220 volt switch on the back or side of the appliance). Even if you have a switch, you will still need to purchase a three-pronged adapter for the British outlets (this can be obtained in England or in the US). If you decide to buy adapters in the U.S., check with either Radio Shack, Wal-Mart or any travel store. Consider using battery operated appliances whenever possible.
The weather in England is normally warm and pleasant during July and August with some rain and cool nights. A sweater or wind-breaker will be comfortable on most evenings. You should be prepared for considerable rain and cool weather which may occur since the climate of England is a west-coast marine type similar to that of Washington and Oregon. However, in the past few years England has had usually warm summers, so be prepared for all kinds of weather!
Security of Personal Belongings
Throughout your stay in England, you are advised to carefully secure your money and personal belongings. Busy city streets, tourist attractions, and public transport stations are the haunts of pickpockets and thieves. Please exercise caution by following these guidelines:
- Keep your room locked, even if you are going down the hall to the shower
- Button or pin your billfold and passports inside coat pocket or buy a money belt
- Never leave your handbag, packages or other belongings unattended at any time
- Do not hang your handbag or coat on the back of chairs in public places
- Do not leave bags under or at the sides of seats and tables
- Do not leave your handbag unzipped or open
- Be alert in public transport and observe those around you
In general, England prices can be high. Remember to keep your receipts; when you come home, you may have to list everything and its price for customs. If you are making a fairly large purchase, ask the sales clerk for a Cashback (value added tax) refund form. This form can be mailed to the merchant from the British Customs when you leave England and you will receive a refund in a few months.
Phoning to and From Britain
Remember to inform your family/friends that England is:
- 5 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Savings Time
- 6 hours ahead of Central Standard Time
- 7 hours ahead of Mountain Time
- 8 hours ahead of Pacific Time
To dial direct to England from the United States, the following steps are followed:
International Access - Country Code - City Code - Number
To dial direct to the States from England, you will need either a lot of change, a phonecard or a credit card. Many phone booths in England do not take change; they will only accept phonecards that can be purchased almost anywhere. To dial direct to the States dial:
International Access - Country Code - Area Code - Number
001-US PHONE NUMBER
The easiest way to call home is to charge the call to your home number by using your long distance carrier. You can charge the call to your calling card, or make a collect call to the local US number dialed. Either way, you don't need to spend any cash to call home. Calls can be made from most British Telecom Payphones without inserting coins.
To reach an AT&T operator: dial: 0500-89-0011
To reach an MCI operator, dial: 0800-89-0222
To reach Sprint Express, dial: 0800-89-0877
Checklist of Items to Bring to the Oxford Round Table
- Electrical Adapters
- Hair Dryer (if required)
- Banquet Attire
- Credit Cards for ease of purchasing
- Travelers' Checks to convert to English Pounds
- Wash cloths (the English do not supply these)
- All toiletries
- Calling cards
- Good pair of walking shoes
- Small extra bag for taking souvenirs home
- Business cards
- Alarm clock-preferably battery operated