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    How to Navigate London’s Underground (even if public transportation scares you!)

    I was in London this past week for four days. I went there completely solo but did meet up with a couple people on the third day I was there. However, most of my time I was there exploring alone and navigating the city alone as well.

    My first day there, I walked close to 10 miles and I barely made it anywhere in the west side of London. I hadn’t walked that long in AGES so I actually overextended my knee and my flat feet made it worse. I could barely stand the next morning. I knew I would have to start riding the tube (local word for the subway) if I was going to see anything left on my London bucket list.

    Before embarking on my first London Underground journey, I asked two girls who had used the system before for advice. Shoutout to a Kat and Kay for helping a girl out! I also found some useful info on Alyssa’s 48 hours in London post.

    How to Navigate London's Underground subway system | even if you don't like or are scared of public transportation

    After implementing their advice, and successfully navigating the tube without a hitch for three days straight, I think I’m pretty qualified to give you advice on how to do so as well. Especially since I almost had a panic attack thinking about taking the underground when I first got to London. And now it’s the thing I miss the most about the city.

    Get an Oyster card

    If you want to get around London without overextending your knee and without racking up an enormous transportation bill, you need to get an Oyster card. An Oyster card is basically just a card that you can buy at any Tube station and you add money to it as needed to ride the trains.

    Using the pay as you go Oyster card is the cheapest option for getting around London. The card itself is £5 but get that back if you return it when you leave London. But you could also can get your refund my post or over the phone. You can also get all the money left on your card refunded as well! Read more…

    Visiting Oxford as a Harry Potter Fan

    By no means am I the biggest Potterhead out there. I honestly, don’t even like to be referred to by that term because I’m not really a die-hard fan. This is when you’re like, “What the heck Caitlyn? Then why did you even go to Oxford!?” Well Karen, I may not currently be the biggest fan, but I was fully immersed in the world as a child. So being able to finally see locations from the movies in person was magical and brought back all the feelings I had as a child when I was in love with the wizarding world.

    I spent two full days in Oxford with my fellow blogger and study abroad friend Kat! Keep reading to find out all the attractions we visited, where we ate, and where we stayed in the city!

    Day One

    I got to Oxford around 8:40 am on Saturday morning. Kat’s train wasn’t due in for a couple hours so I spent the morning at the bus station’s Cafe Nero finishing up a book and getting caffeinated since I had taken an overnight bus from Glasgow. Because it was an overnight bus, I also got dressed and did my makeup in the bus station’s bathroom. That was an experience.

    Brunch at Queen’s Lane Coffee House

    When Kat arrived in Oxford around 11, we headed off to Queen’s Lane Coffe House. She had found it when we were planning our trip and we immediately decided we had to go since it’s the oldest continually operating coffee house in Europe. Like how cool is that!?

    I got the porridge and Kat got their bagel. We both loved the food, and Kat said their bagels live up to the New York bagels from the states.

    Covered Market

    After filling our bellies with the delicious food and drinking more coffee, we set off the short walk down the street to the covered market. We had both heard that this was a must see when visiting Oxford, but honestly, it was super underwhelming.

    The covered market is basically more like a mini indoor mall than a market, which I totally loved, but none of the shops were really intriguing enough to go into. Kat and I only entered one so she could purchase a couple postcards. There were a few dessert stalls I would have loved to get some ice cream or pie from though, but we had just eaten so that was a no.

    St Mary the Virgin Church

    Since it was still too early to check into our hostel, we decided to explore a little bit more in the vicinity we were already in so we stopped inside the church between the market and the coffee house to kill time. This church was gorgeous inside!! I could not get over the beautiful stained glass windows! 

    St. Mary’s also felt like an actual place of worship and not just a tourist attraction.

    Radcliffe Camera

    Upon exiting the back of the church, we had our first view of the Radcliffe Camera! Which I actually didn’t know the name of until Kat told me. I obviously had done my research right? Read more…

    Everything I Packed to Study Abroad in Scotland

    *Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you click on a product link, I may receive a small compensation at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I love or use myself!

    I posted last month about all the things I wished I had brought with me to Scotland, saying I’d soon write up everything I did bring. Well, this is me keeping that promise!! In this post you’ll get to see literally everything I brought with me, and what I packed everything in.

    But before we get into this I want to say one little disclaimer. What each student needs to bring abroad will definitely vary. So while you can totally use my list as inspiration on what to pack, you may want to bring different things I left out, or not bring as much of a certain item that I did. That’s totally fine. Especially since not everyone is a fashion obsessed girl who owns too many clothes to fit in her closet at home and will never be caught wearing the same outfit twice. 

    My Suitcases

    Okay, first things first. I packed everything in three suitcases and my backpack. Yes, three. I’m not even going to try and justify that because of the disclaimer above.

    three suitcases used to study abroad

    I brought a large (about 30x19x11 inches) suitcase, a medium one (about 26x18x10 inches), and then a carry on (about 25x14x8 inches) suitcase. All three are the hard case rolling suitcases that allow you to fit even more than you expected since each has two compartments.

    The backpack I used was just the basic one I use for classes. And it’s actually my all time favorite backpack I’ve ever used!! It has a separate pocket inside for my laptop and a zipper pocket inside as well! I usually keep a couple tampons and pads in there for emergencies. 

    What I Packed

    3 Dresses

    • Black cami dress – gotta have an LBD, plus the cut is good for layering
    • Long sleeve dress
    • Tank dress – also good for layering

    Read more…

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