From the Archives: The following was written by Clara Simerville, Iowa State University, and first published in Volume XXV, No. 7 of the NAFSA Newsletter from April 1974.

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London is changing rapidly in the middle of ancient unchanging features. In the Fall of 1973, I have noted the following changes since 1971:

  1. The tube (underground train) line to the center of London is rapidly being completed. For a traveler with minimum baggage this will be very convenient.
  2. On arrival at Victoria Railroad Station after coming to the BOAC terminal by bus (BOAC), I noticed that the tourist office had changed location in the station. It is now very close to the cartoon cinema- turn left at Buckingham Palace Road entrance. This tourist office will give assistance in finding accommodations and providing information about London. They will also give careful directions for going on to the Student Center (just a short distance down Buckingham Palace Road) where students can get help with accommodations. The Student Center staff will call to reserve a room (about £1.65 with breakfast) in a hotel. For hostel accommodations, membership is necessary and one must go to the Youth Hostel Office. The hostels are about £1.60; however, the train ride to a hostel will cost more than the difference between the hotel rate and the hostel rate.
  3. If you have time, you might want to take the train from Victoria Station to Euston Road and inquire at the National Union of Students Office (117 Euston Road) for accommodations. During the summer they lease university dormitories and rent them (about £2.20) to traveling students and there is no age limit. This office will also assist with other accommodations.
  4. If you want to find out "what's going on" or to plan a tour within Great Britain or to the Continent, probably the most helpful place to go is the N.U.S. Travel Service, 117 Euston Road. They are developing an information center (available by telephone) that will have details of camping, hosteling, inexpensive traveling by bus, train, or plane, group tours, and other important information for the traveler to Great Britain or the Continent. Last year they reportedly booked more flights than Air India.

    At this same office, it is possible to obtain your International Student Identification Card if you have an extra picture and appropriate proof of student status. A letter from the registrar of your university is probably the best document when it gives the dates of your full-time student status.

    Medical insurance is also available here for those who discover they have forgotten that important item.

    In the near future, forty more offices are planned-scattered throughout Great Britain at the major university centers.

    This N.U.S. Travel Service is a non-profit organization especially to serve student travel needs. They will make arrangements for student groups also. It is worth trying.
  5. If you have decided not to use the Youth Rail Pass, you may want to consider the weekly coach (bus) pass at £8.95 (about $22.00). The coaches go to many more out of the way towns than do the trains. There are many fine short country trips by London Transport green buses. The inquiry office is on Belgrade Road right behind Victoria Station and many of the green buses can be boarded there. You may want to inquire about the Green Bus (704) which takes you from stop #1 (across from the Inquiry Office) directly to the North Gate of Heathrow Airport where you can walk (10 minutes) to the terminal building or take a red bus to the terminal. The fare is 25p on the green bus (SOp on the BOAC bus). Frequent transportation strikes in Great Britain may leave the traveler on foot.
  6. There are no lockers available in London now because of security measures; however baggage can be left in "Hold Baggage" at train stations, air terminals, or coach (bus) stations, provided you hold an appropriate ticket (about 10p per bag for 24 hours).
  7. Security measures also prohibit more than 3 people from entering an inquiry office at one time. Museums require a handbag inspection before entering. Signs at stations and public buildings warn you to report any "strange" package or sack seen lying around. We were hurried out of Exeter Cathedral because of a bomb scare. Police surrounded the area, and we had to walk a long way around to get to our car which was directly behind the cathedral.
  8. The cost of food may be slightly higher than in the United States (since the Common Market V.A.T.–value added tax). You can still get a steak and kidney pie for 14p, although fruit and vegetables are costly.

London continues to contain endless features of great interest. You should allow time for finding your way, seeing the well-known sights and discovering the unusual. The N.U.S. can suggest guide books or you can find Foyle's book store (annex, second floor), travel department and select your own day trips out of London, which are many and important.

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