A Royal Trip Around London

Hampton Court Palace

I want to go to London for four main reasons:

  • I want to hear the British accent (man, there’s nothing like being surrounded by it hahahaha!)
  • I’m hopeful I will find Harry Potter’s Platform 9 and ¾ (and be Hermione … “wingardium leviosa!”)
  • I want to see the café where Tolkien and CS Lewis hung out
  • I am so curious about the royal family (Prince Harry, where are you?)

And so I want to begin my London tour with a “royal” trip, checking out iconic places where Britain’s identity was formed throughout the years. Here’s a list of all the places you need to check out for you to understand and appreciate its kings, queens, and the culture formed around them.

  • Buckingham Palace. The White House of Britain, the residence of the royals in London. You can tour the whole place for over a thousand pesos, but you might get disappointed at how lackluster it looks. But if you’re a fan of prince, princesses and their grand life, maybe you will still get the worth of your money.
  • Westminster Abbey. It isn’t really a cathedral, but perhaps its significance in the country is enough for it to have that impression of holiness and utmost respect. This is where the remains of Britain’s past kings and queens lie, such as that of Henry VII and Elizabeth I. It is also the place where royalties are crowned. If you’re not convinced of its worth, hear this: it is nearly a thousand years old. That should make you enter the Westminster Abbey.
  • Tower of London. A huge historical site where you can take different tours – an unguided tour that comes with booklets, an audio tour, or a 45-minute guided tour care of the Yeoman Warders. If it were me taking the tour, I’ll take the guided one. The Tower of London is full of curiosities you would love to learn more about, such as Henry VII’s armor, and the actual site where Anne Boleyn was beheaded. Just make sure you watch the movie “The Other Boleyn” before you head to the Tower, so you can appreciate the story and the site more.
  • Kensington Palace. Princess Diana’s last residence before she died in a tragic car accident, the Kensington Palace offers a curious look inside this royal home. Outside, you can dip your feet into the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, or you can take your lunch at the nearby Lido Café.
  • Hampton Court Palace. Yes, London has many palaces. In fairy tales, there always seems to be just one. But lo in behold, it is grander to be a prince or a queen in real life. The Hampton Court Palace is best known for Henry VIII, one of the most interesting monarchs in the history of Britain. If you’re a student of architecture, or if you’re simply a curious mind, you will easily appreciate the marriage of Tudor and Baroque architecture meant to match that of the Versailles Palace in France. Don’t know how the Versailles Palace looks like? Then book your Philippine Airlines flight to France too!
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Secrets of Frequent Travelers

Travel Agency

Why do they love to travel? How can they travel so frequently? Why can’t I enjoy traveling the way they do? Well, aside from the fact that they’re experts in all things travel, they also have some tricks under their sleeves. Want to be a savvy traveler who can get used to flying and going from place to place? Here are the secrets of frequent travelers.

  • Earn miles. This starts with getting a credit card that will let you collect miles whenever you book flights. Know which credit card gives the best points when booking with your airline of choice.
  • Watch out for seat sale alerts. You can check out Skyscanner for a comparison of the flights available for your preferred dates. You should also subscribe to email alerts that airlines send out whenever they have a seat sale. Most of my trips are care of Cebu Pacific seat sale alerts I received right on my mobile phone. There are cheap flights to Singapore as much as there are cheap flights to Manila. All it takes is awareness of the seat sales, and a decision to just book and think about the expenses later.
  • Pack light. This cannot be overemphasized. A huge bag will limit your enjoyment of a place, even if you bring your yaya along or even if you choose to rent a car. Learn how to plan your outfits and squeeze them all in a single, easy-to-bring yet roomy luggage, and bring a carry-on bag that can contain everything you need in the plane and on a stroll.
  • Be flexible. When you travel, expect your schedule to be ruined. When that happens, chill and skip all the whining. A frequent traveler knows that anything can happen during a trip, and he knows how to make the most out of it. Aside from changing schedules, you might also have to change hotels, skip some sights, or even sleep at the airport. These should all be part of the fun.
  • Bring a book. Your flight might get canceled or delayed. Instead of fuming at the airport personnel, thank the heavens for the time when you can finally finish reading the Twilight series. Never mind that you didn’t want to read it in public. When you’ve got nothing to do but wait, better to be kept company by Edward and Bella. Besides, you can always rely on the digital copy of the books, in Kindle or n your iPad. When someone asks you what you’re reading, simply say CS Lewis or Tolkien.
  • Don’t pack your schedule too tightly. A delayed flight can have a domino effect on a super packed schedule. Your itinerary should have ample gap times for when you need to attend to something, such as your kid getting sick or you wanting to spend more time in a favorite spot. This also gives you room for adjustments when your flight gets delayed or when a tour company screws up.