So, it’s that time of year when geeks of all fandoms plan their summer breaks and you’ll be doing things like going on a full blown holiday or taking days out, but for the Geek there’s nothing worse than either taking a trip and hating it or just sitting by the pool doing nothing.
Fear not though, as we’ve decided to give you a Geek’s Survival Kit for the summer holiday season which has proved invaluable and which will hopefully give you some tips for the months ahead.
And as we don’t all have the money to visit Hobbiton in New Zealand, we’ll be looking at tips and tricks and the more affordable options for you to do.
1. Do your homework
It seems like an obvious tip, bur taking the time to do a bit of research on your location can make all the difference between a good holiday or a bad one and Geeks have the best opportunity through the internet.
The first suggested point of call is TripAdvisor (www.tripadvisor.com or http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk). People normally believe that it’s for hotels and restaurants, but it also includes reviews of tourist attractions… and the best thing is that the reviews are written by people like you and me.
As it’s a site which relies on people’s contributions, do put a short review of your experience – good or bad – as it helps other people and you get online badges when you certain milestones (we Geeks like our online badges).
But if you plan a visit say in Amsterdam, London or Paris, you can check the hotcutegirlygeek website as well. There are a couple of blogs that specify different trips and what to see
2. “Special offers are good”
So, you’ve done your research, you’ve seen where you want to go, but when you see the “entry on the day” where you exclaim “HOW MUCH!!!”
Do not fear, a lot of tourist attractions have an online price which works out cheaper. The only risk with that is a risk with the weather, so if you’re going to a place which is weather reliant, bear this in mind. (There are also places that offer tickets for a later day if your day gets rained off).
And don’t forget, ask some locals. With worldwide access to social media, you are bound to have some friends in the city and / or places you want to visit. Locals know about local deals as well and can help you with translation or looking into offers you can’t find online.
3. City Passes
If you’re staying in a city for a few days and you want to see a lot, invest in a City Pass. They’re a great way of saving you money, plus you save the hassle of having to search for money to pay, you can get bumped into the “fast queue” and they offer discounts on meals and souvenirs.
4. Keeping yourself entertained
Going on a road trip? Waiting for that plane? Stuck by the pool? Fear not, technology can offer you with all sorts of options. Like reading? Take your Kindle. Want to keep up with what’s going on at home with the added benefits of checking out your Geeky websites? Take your tablet – especially as a lot of hotels do WiFi and your tablet can also act as a backup camera for those little moments you want to tweet.
Yes, the power of technology can provide you with much needed Geeky diversionary tactics whilst you’re on your hols – music for when that annoying passenger is on the plane, downloads of your favourite TV programme or film when you’re missing home, games to prevent the regular summertime chant of “Are we there yet???”
A couple of words of advice though. Firstly, don’t forget your two-pin or three-pin adaptor (dependent on where you go) along with your charger or you’ll end up with back to square one when your charge runs out. Secondly, check out the conditions of your travel insurance for issues like loss and damage to your tech.
Also a good tip, bring a fellow geek with you. It’s always more awesome to geek out over things together instead of trying to explain to your fellow travellers you really need to go to St. Barts to see where Sherlock plummeted to his ‘faked’ death.
5. Don’t forget your camera
We geeky types like to see what other geeky types are doing whether it be on Twitter, Twitpic, Instagram or on blogs, so don’t forget your camera. Not only do you get photos of your memories, but you also get the chance to give other geeks ideas of things to do.
Geeky things to do whilst you’re on your hols
1. Guided Walks
Whilst it’s good to wander round a city, it’s nicer to learn of the history behind the buildings and a guided tour is the way to go.
Obviously, there is the standard fair of exploring the city and going on a conventional guided tour, but dependent on the city you visit, there are additional oddities to try. Visiting York? Try one of the numerous Ghost Tours that frequent the self styled most haunted city of Europe. Visiting Belfast? Try a pub tour. If you’re visiting London, give a tour of the city’s movie making locations.
Yes, to feed that movie and TV Geek, there are tours of the city through Brit Movie Tours (www.britmovietours.com). Theta has been on their Harry Potter tour which takes in locations such as the Millennium Bridge which featured in “The Half-Blood Prince”, Borough Market which featured as the external for the Leaky Cauldron in “The Prisoner of Azkaban” and Leadenhall Market where we saw Harry and Hagrid deep in conversation about the things he needed for his first day at Hogwarts in “The Philosopher’s Stone”.
Their original repertoire of walks and tours which included Harry Potter, Downton Abbey and Doctor Who locations – both in London and Cardiff. This has increased to include location tours of locations from Sherlock (which Theta is going on in August), a three day tour of Doctor Who locations in the UK and Wales and, more recently, locations from Game Of Thrones in Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway.
For those who want to visit filming locations but do these themselves, there are websites devoted to filming locations for shows like Doctor Who, Torchwood, Sherlock and Game Of Thrones.
2. Fandom experiences
Conventions! Summertime is when a lot of conventions are being held. Most of the time you need to book in advance for tickets, but a lot of conventions have tickets they sell at the door as well. And what’s better than to spend a weekend with your favourite cast and fellow geeks.
And I know a lot of conventions are very expensive, but you can try to diminish the costs a bit by some tips.
Travel arrangements: If you’re living in Europe, you can visit a lot of conventions by bus; look at organisations such as MegaBus or Eurolines. Granted, it’s not comfortable, but if you’re with a friend, it makes it easier to beat a long coach trip.
Sleeping arrangements: You can search for hostels in the near vicinity of the con you’re visiting. Most conventions have rooms available in a hotel nearby as well, but again, they might get pricy. Check online forums or social media to find a bunk buddy you can share a room with to make things cheaper. And it’s a good way to learn new people as well. And if you’re feeling real adventurous try couch surfing, a free place to sleep.
Food and drinks: A lot of conventions sell food, but again, the costs are high. See if there is a supermarket nearby your sleeping place or convention. Buy things that don’t expire easily such as granola bars, bottles of water and such. Things to keep your sugar level high because be prepared for a lot of waiting if you want any photos taken.
Clothing: Cosplay is epic during a convention but also realize you need to be wearing your outfit all day long, or bring a change of clothes. Be sensible about what you are wearing. Wear good and comfortable shoes, layers of clothes are always a very good option as well and remember to bring a backpack instead of a shoulder bag, because you will need to carry it all day long.
Make sure you check with the convention organization about do’s and don’t. If you want to meet your favourite actor / writer / whatever there are rules. Sometimes you’re not allowed to take your own pictures and or bring gifts and such. It would be a shame if you’re looking towards an epic convention only to be barred when not following the rules.
And for the stay at homes…
So, you’re not going away on vacation. Does that mean that you can’t have a Geek-cation? Hell no!!! The Geek can have a stay at home vacation quite easily.
1. Catch up
How many times do you think to yourself, “I don’t have the time to…” whether it be reading, watching telly or just chillaxing?
Well, here’s an opportunity to catch up on that book pile that’s been growing in size or those TV box sets that you’ve been meaning to watch.
- Theme your viewing
You want to do a little bit of travelling from your armchair, how about building a travelogue around your favourite fandom. Okay, it’s a bit difficult with Sherlock as it’s predominantly based in London (albeit with Cardiff doubling for London to a large extent), but if you think about Doctor Who, you can go to Paris through “City Of Death”, Utah in “The Impossible Astronaut”, Venice and Provence (or should I say Croatia) for “The Vampires Of Venice” and “Vincent And The Doctor” or South East England in any stories featuring Jon Pertwee and UNIT. So, it is possible to go travelling without leaving your home.
3. Have a party or mini-convention
Let’s face it; fanboying/fangirling and parties go together like fish and chips, Jack Harkness and innuendo or Sherlock and John. So, with the weather being better during the summer, why not have a party or a mini-convention for yourself and similarly Geeky friends.
Some ideas could include:
Having a picnic/BBQ with themed geeky food. Books like “Dining With The Doctor” give ideas for Whovian themed snacks, whilst with a little imagination and help with YouTube videos like Sci-Fine Dining or websites devoted to fandom food you can make recipes like Klingon Gagh in Blood Wine (without the need to go hunting or eat live serpents) or Soylent Green (whose origins are a spoiler) you too can eat things both weird and wonderful.
Have sci-fi inspired drinks. Ever thought about drinking Ambrosia, Vitex Health Drinks, Romulan Ale, a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster or a Sonic Screwdriver? Well, there are websites out there which have recipes for those who want to give their parties a sci-fi kick.
Cosplay has become part of the fixtures and fittings of any convention, so why not add a cosplay twist to your party or mini-convention. Obviously, be considerate to your guests and don’t make the fourth Doctor’s scarf a feature of your theme or you could end up with a few people visiting casualty.
You don’t have a lot of people visiting your party or mini-convention? Not a problem!!! All the better for setting up a viewing room. Obviously, ensure that you plan it so you have fun episodes from your fandom. There’s nothing worse than having people blubbing because you’re showing a story like “Doomsday”, “The End Of Time (Part Two)” or the end of “The Reichenbach Fall”.
Organise a cosplay contest. Dress as your favourite character. Cosplay doesn’t need to be expensive if you are handy with needle and thread. You can make a lot of things yourself and again, browse the web for tips, tricks and guided tutorials. Ask cosplayers in your near vicinity for tips and how they started as well.
Let us know if you have a geeky holiday planned or add your own tips in the comment section.
Love, Theta and your own hot cute girly geek Mendy