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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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International travel: Britain on a budget

Photo by Courtesy of Regan Bennett

U.S. citizens looking to apply for a U.S. passport need personal documents like original proofs of your citizenship document, an acceptable photo ID document and a photocopy of both.

Pack your bags and grab your passport — London is calling.
Traveling internationally from the United States is in no way cheap, but there are certainly ways to reduce costs: take a carry-on instead of checking a bag; travel at non-peak times and be open to a layover or two.
“To help reduce costs, consider flying on an airline that has longer layovers,” Beth Deuermeyer Ph.D., program manager at Texas A&M University Innovation Partners, who has family living in London said.
The United Kingdom currently does not require COVID-19 testing to enter the country. On April 21, there were 21,227 new COVID-19 cases and 646 new deaths in the country, according to My experience flying amid the pandemic was slightly concerning, but wearing a high-quality mask and using hand sanitizer regularly made me feel comfortable. With most planes equipped with high efficiency particulate air filters, cabin air is much cleaner than the air in restaurants and stores, according to National Geographic. About 40% of a cabin’s air gets filtered through the HEPA system, with the remaining 60% being fresh air that is piped in from outside the plane, according to National Geographic.
The 2,000-year history of England’s capital city is rich with architectural masterpieces, landmarks and free attractions; making the city accessible to travelers on a tighter budget.
With so much to see in such a short amount of time, purchase a $48 ticket with BigBus Tours for a drive all around the city. The tour passes sights such as Tower Bridge and The Marble Arch to Harrods — where a browse around the world famous shop is irresistible. From Gucci to Gelato, they have it all. A bus tour is a great avenue for sightseeing and learning the city’s history, with the option of listening to a guided commentary that tells you all about the famous monuments and buildings you admire.
“The buses are a cheaper way to see the whole city and they often come with discounted or free tickets into some of London’s tourist attractions like the Tower of London and the wax museum,” Deuermeyer said.
If you want to take in all the sights and get  off at a few of the many stops, the bus can be an all-day activity. On the second and last day a stop by Buckingham Palace and a picnic in St. James Park is a good way to offset the intense activity of the previous day. An evening stroll down the banks by Tower Bridge and some Jamaican jerk chicken from one of the many diverse street food vendors is a great way to end the day.
I stayed with my family on my visit to London, but the area is definitely not short of accommodations. From hostels to budge-friendly hotels, there are many deals available to be snatched up. St. Christopher’s Inn at London Bridge is one of the many I found, and it has beds available in dormitory style rooms from around $21 a night on
The London tube system, along with great public transport, make the city easy and efficient to navigate. The purchase of an Oyster card for a fee of $6.50 will allow you to add funds at your own discretion to use for access to the tube at the stations all over the city.
If you make a whirlwind tour and fall in love with international travel, Texas A&M offers scholarship opportunities for students to travel internationally via the study abroad programs. Available scholarships include the education abroad scholarship, along with other opportunities offered by colleges and departments across the university, according to
A&M’s Department of Communication has a study abroad program in Siena, Italy which have recently started back up after COVID-related setbacks. Students take four communication courses over the semester-long program while embracing Italian culture through field trips and more.
Even on a tight budget, if you can, travel. The memories and experiences will last forever.
How to get a passport:
To be able to apply for a U.S. passport, you must be a U.S. citizen.
To apply for a U.S. passport, you will need the following items:

  • Application form, filled out electronically or by hand. It is very important this form is not signed until present with a passport official.
  • Personal documents: You will need an original proof of your citizenship document, an acceptable photo ID document and a photocopy of both.

The next step is submitting your passport application. There are many post offices that accept passport applications. Appointments are available to schedule at
The application fee for a passport book for first-time applicants ages 16 and older is $130 with an additional $35 execution fee, according to Renewals cost $130.
Routine processing is 8-11 weeks, according to If you pay an $80 fee for expedited shipping, the time frame is cut to five to seven weeks. U.S. passports are valid for 10 years.

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