Hello Rick Steves England travel community!
I apologize in advance if this topic has been discussed at length already, I failed to find it, or if this isn't in the correct forum. I have been searching for hours that have turned into days, for answers, advice, and perhaps a sharing of personal experience that could apply to some of my concerns regarding being granted entry into the UK. The bottom line is I am concerned about being denied entry based on the intended length of my trip alone (details on trip to follow). I have read so many horror stories about solo American travelers being denied entry and want to make sure I'm doing everything I can to ensure this trip gets off the ground and get some perspective on the measures I'm taking before I go. Any insight/ advice is very welcomed- and please, please do tell me if I've missed something!
Here is a brief background on me and details of my trip:
I am an American female, 32 years old, employed, and am fortunate enough to have been granted a sabbatical from my job this September- January to take my solo trip of a lifetime to Europe. I have travelled to Europe twice for 10-12 days at a time, but never for so long. On September 11th I will board a plane from the USA to London Gatwick and will be boarding another plane home to the states on December 16th. I have no intent to stay overseas beyond this date- I have a job and a wonderful boyfriend I need to go back to. The trip will run 96 days long in it's entirety, 87 of these days are scheduled to be in Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales) and are not consecutive, with the remaining 9 being in Paris. I will be going to Paris via Eurostar in October. This part of my travels will fall in the middle of my trip, which I understand will land me going through a UK immigration officer for a 2nd time on my way back into London. I do not have any friends or contacts in the country and will be staying exclusively at several b&b's in many areas I've always wanted to see and they are pre booked, pre paid, mostly through airbnb, with the exception of 2 reservations. I'll be traveling by train and other public transport the majority of the trip. This trip will be entirely tourism and extended vacation time off to see many of the sights I've always wanted to see and things I've long wanted to do, just wanted to see them before im 85 years old, if I make it that far, ha!- as a fun side note some of what I plan to do and see includes riding the Jacobite steam train, trying Scottish whisky in Scotland, hitting several tea rooms I've read about, seeing a portion of Hadrian's Wall, walking the historic walking paths in the Cotswolds and near Canterbury (not at the same time of course), and visiting platform 9 and 3/4 at kings cross (Harry Potter forever. Period).
Back to business-
This is a list of paperwork I will have with me. Please advise if I'm missing anything:
-valid US issued passport that is not going to expire for 8 years
- a notorized letter from my employer stating my employment, total length of my employment, approved sabbatical terms and date I'm expected back at work.
- printed out bank and credit card statements for the past 3 months.
-my return plane ticket itinerary and confirmation printed out.
-a full itinerary of all my pre booked and paid accommodation that the immigration is more than welcome to keep.
- any receipt/ confirmation for pre paid train travel or etickets themselves
- my travel insurance documentation
- I'll have a minimum of 15,000 American dollars (roughly 10,000 GBP) in the bank 2 credit cards. This will be mostly spending money as accommodation is all pre booked,as will most transportation
I'm being a little overkill, I know- just wanting to make sure I know what I'm doing.
Am I pushing my luck with the length of my trip and would it be better to shorten it? Or does this all check out to you guys?
Thank you for your help and your time!