Question for UK dopers, please.

Hi all - my husband and I are spending 4 weeks in the UK starting early September. We plan to get UK sim cards for our Android phones. I would just like to ask for recommendations as to what carrier to chose. Our priority would be for maximising coverage, rather than minimising cost (though of course, if f we can do both, that would be a bonus! :slight_smile: ) We intend to be out doing lots of walking, so will be in the countryside, so coverage is important.

The other thing we would like some information on is over the counter meds. We have prescription meds, and will bring those and a doctor’s letters for them. Just wondering what OTC anti-histamines are available, and whether inhaled nasal steroid spray (for allergic rhinitis) is available OTC? Thanks in advance for any help! :slight_smile:

The 02 network, (also used by Tesco Mobile), has probably the best coverage.

Thanks Mr Shine :slight_smile:

Loratadine (Claritin in the US I think), cetirizine (Zyrtec, ditto) and chlorphenamine (Piriton) generics are widely available, not just at pharmacies, but in supermarkets, corner grocery shops etc. Similary, beclometasone nasal sprays are widely available, with the most common brand being Beconase.

The main pharmacy chain is Boots, with thousands of branches. Even very small towns will have a (usually independent) pharmacy if you get stuck for your prescription stuff.

Edit - just an afterthought - if you are asking for directions to the nearest pharmacy, and are getting a puzzled look in reply, try asking for the nearest chemists.

Are your phones unlocked? For mobile phone coverage: https://www.uswitch.com/mobiles/guides/mobile-phone-coverage/

For antihistamines, check out the Boots online store for an idea of what you can buy without prescription when you arrive: http://www.boots.com/en/Pharmacy-Health/Health-shop/Allergy-hayfever/Allergy-hayfever-nasal-sprays/

Thanks Baron Greenback and sandra_nz. Great info there - Looks like I will be totally OK for my meds.

Yep, our phones are unlocked. :slight_smile: I will study that coverage map.

The discount stores “Poundland” etc. Have OTC generic hay-fever tablets that are very cheap. About £1 for a month’s supply.

As for Mobile coverage, as long as you are unlocked you can grab a cheap sim card in any supermarket that will give you calls and data for perhaps ÂŁ10 a month.

Looking at OFCOM’s map Vodafone seem to have slightly better coverage than the other networks. To me though coverage is only going to be an issue if you’re visiting the few places in the UK that are genuinely remote (i.e. particularly the Scottish Highlands).

And even there O2, EE and Vodafone service is good enough to make voice calls or send texts in all but the most sheltered glens. Data connection on the other hand…

Yep, plus the mild climate, almost complete lack of dangerous wildlife and frequent settlements mean that walking in the UK countryside is a pretty safe thing to do, as long as you take a few sensible precautions. Obviously though if you’re planning to walk to the top of Ben Nevis you need to be quite a bit more prepared if you were walking in the Chiltern Hills.

If you’re visiting rural western Scotland you’ll need protection from midges. Also be aware that September is the start of the mating season for red deer.

Hi all. :slight_smile:

Quartz, midges I had forgotten about. I had the data in the back of my mind somewhere that they can be a problem, but did not bring it to the fore. What should we do? I think they are a dusk/dawn phenomenon? Or is it anytime? Repellent useful? A DEET one? Not planning camping, so hopefully will be inside a cosy pub or BnB by dusk! :slight_smile:

Asymptotically fat - we are planning on lots of walking, but not the sort of hill scrambling that one needs to be super prepared for. Mind you we will always have food, water (and a purifier) extra clothes, a space blanket, tiny stove for hot drinks and basic first aid with us.

We are planning on the highlands and islands for a week or so. We really only plan on contact with each other with our phones; as well as yes, using data for things like bus timetables, booking accommodation, etc. Looking at the map, we may need to be a bit more strucctured for the highlands/west than we were planning on, and have downloaded some timetables etc.

Thank you all for your responses. :slight_smile:

Just the usual anti-midge protections will do.

Midges can be a bit of a problem on the west coast, particularly near still water or marshy land, especially at dusk/dawn. On the bright side, anything stronger than a light breeze keeps them away, and midge repellent is easy to find. I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over red deer mating season though :wink: