TRAVEL

YMCA175 is excited to welcome delegates from all over the world, travel planning is in important part of preparing for YMCA175, and in the pages that follow you will find some advice. We are proud to partner with Raptim Humanitarian Travel, the official travel agent of YMCA175, a fully YMCA/ YWCA owned social enterprise to help you with your travel needs.

Focussing on serving and supporting those who travel the world to do good. Raptim Humanitarian Travel supports missionary and humanitarian organisations with great fares and flexibility with experienced and dedicated staff to make your travel planning as easy as possible. Raptim is part of a networked global travel organisation offering tailor made fares, and great flexibility on tickets. 

Their staff are ready to support National Movements, local YMCA delegations and groups with flexible travel plans to London. As an environmentally conscious travel agency, you will find details of your carbon emissions on all itineraries, so that you can calculate your delegations total emissions with an option to offset your flight with certification.

TRAVELING TO THE UK

The UK and London has an extensive transport network of train, bus, roads and several ports to arrive into the UK by ferry.

BY ROAD

For groups of delegates coming from across the UK and mainland Europe, making arrangements for group travel by car, minibus or coach can be a more cost effective and environmentally friendly option. 

Key international UK ferry ports include: Felixstowe, Harwich, Folkestone, Dover and Southampton. Ferry fares vary greatly according to the season, time of travel and duration of stay so make sure you do you research before you book. 

Eurotunnel transports vehicles connecting Calais, in France, to Folkestone, in England.

For delegations considering driving there is parking for cars and coaches available at ExCeL London (made by prior arrangement) for £20 per day. This can be booked here

BY TRAIN

Eurostar railway service connects London with Amsterdam, Avignon, Brussels, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Paris and Rotterdam. 

London has an extensive network of mainland trains that arrive in from across the UK from ferry ports, airports and other UK destinations. Good places to book tickets include: nationalrail.co.uk  and thetrainline.com

BY AIR

London has six international airports, all are accessible from the venue on public transport. In the image you can find some basic information about the main ones: London City, Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick. Click on the image to enlarge.

London Luton and London Southend Airports are also commutable but are smaller airports, and slightly further from the venue. 


Please note delegate tickets do not include airport transfers. YMCA175 recommends travelling from airports to accommodation by public transport.

by air ymca175

TRAVELING AROUND LONDON

Travelling around London and getting to the venue YMCA175 recommends that delegates use London’s extensive public transport network while in the city. 

All Delegates will be provided with a travel pass for the duration of the event (excluding airport transfers). 

If you are driving to London, it is recommended you store your vehicle in ExCeL London car parks while in London. Cycle racks are available at ExCeL London, too, with public bikes for hire across the city at docking stations. 


For more information on getting to the venue go to: https://www.excel.london/visitor/getting-here

YMCA France is organising a Paris-London cycle experience, connecting YMCA’s birthplace, in London, to the founding place of the global movement in 1855, in Paris. 

Click here for checking our frequently asked questions on travel, to help find answers that we may already have answered.

With every four-day event access delegate ticket for YMCA175 a public transport pass is included. For the majority of delegates, this can be collected from ExCeL London upon arrival on Sunday 4 August (between 12pm and 8pm) as part of accreditation.

The travel pass includes London Underground for zones 1 to 3 (London Underground is split into 6 zones, see the map here). Zones 1 to 3 will include all YMCA175 hostel locations to allow delegates to travel to and from their accommodation and the venue.

Delegates will need to arrange their own airport transfers to accommodation/ExCeL London upon arrival. Onward travel on the departure day (Thursday 8 August) to airports / transport hubs as this public transport pass does not include airport transfers.

The UK’s exit from the European Union will have no impact on travel for citizens of these countries, in fact from June 2019 it will be easier for citizens of these countries to arrive into the UK.

From June, citizens of these countries will be permitted to use e-gates at UK airports and at Eurostar terminals. This will significantly reduce queues and improve the flow of passengers and the overall experience at the UK border.

Additionally, landing cards will also begin to be abolished from June 2019. This will reduce bureaucracy for travellers and speed up the processing of passengers on arrival in the UK.

For more information go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/epassport-gates-to-ease-travel-for-passengers-from-more-countries

In short – no. The UK Government has published guidance for inbound travellers from the EU and rest of the world post the EU exit. You can access this information here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/visiting-the-uk-after-brexit

The key points from this advice are:

  • the UK will continue to be visa-free for EU nationals; 
  • what you need to show at the UK border will not change, even if the UK leaves the EU without a deal (EU nationals can still use ID cards in short term and e-gates when travelling on passports), 
  • in the event of a ‘no deal’ exit, EU nationals can still visit/work/study in the UK for up to 3 months, then apply for European temporary leave to remain for 36 months.

The UK Government website will continue to be updated on a regular basis and we will alert you to any significant changes.

Clearing Immigration (after arriving at Heathrow and Gatwick airports) can be faster if you are a national of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand or the USA and regularly fly in to Heathrow or Gatwick airports.

You will need to apply to join the Registered Traveller Service, please follow this link: https://www.gov.uk/registered-traveller.

Once you are registered you will:

  • Be able to use ePassport gates (if you have a biometric passport)
  • Be able to use UK/EU channel (at Heathrow airport) or the special Registered Traveller lane (at Gatwick airport)
  • Not need to fill in a landing card.
In the majority of cases you will need to arrange your own transit from your arrival point in the UK, to your Discovery Visit start location, or from the end location to YMCA175 in London. You can book train tickets via trainline.com and nationalrail.com

YMCAs in the UK and Ireland are made up of three National Movements, YMCA England & Wales (www.ymca.org.uk), YMCA Scotland (www.ymcascotlandreport.org) and YMCA Ireland, which covers YMCAs based in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (www.ymca-ireland.net).

London has six international airports, all are accessible from the venue on public transport, below is some basic information, however for more information on air travel and selecting your airport go to ExCeL London’s website.  For planning purposes, here are four major airports are within proximity of ExCeL London. London Luton and London Southend Airports are also commutable but are smaller airports, and slightly further from the venue.

  • London City Airport (10 minutes to ExCeL London , direct on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR))

London City Airport is the closest airport to ExCeL London, taking 5 to 10 minutes to travel direct to the venue.

  • Heathrow Airport (90 minutes to ExCeL London, travel on London Underground, with changes)
  • Stansted Airport (90 minutes by public transport, with changes)
  • Gatwick Airport (90 minutes by public transport, with changes)
The best way to travel to and from the venue, and around London is the London Underground (or ‘tube’). A ticket for the London Underground for the duration of YMCA175 will be included with all delegate tickets and volunteer places. This will also give you access to London’s extensive bus network, too. Your ticket does not include airport transfers, which is best carried out on public transport.

An optional programme of Discovery and Study Visits will be offered to groups registering for YMCA175 to visit YMCAs in London and across England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland before and/or after the event. Groups will be able to register an interest in taking part in Discovery and Study Visits as part of the registration process. A coordinator will then be in touch with more information later in 2018 / early 2019.

August is the United Kingdom’s hottest month, with average temperatures starting at 18 degrees Celsius, but can be as high as 28 to 32 degrees Celsius in London, and is mainly dry with little rainfall usually. However, the weather in the UK can still be unpredictable, and it is recommended that you pack for some rain still for travel to and from ExCeL London. The majority of YMCA175’s programme will take place inside, with some activities outside.

This will be included as part of your registration, and will come from YMCA175 hosts, YMCA England & Wales. Once you register to attend YMCA175, are approved by your National Coordinator (where relevant) and make payment to attend, you will be reserved accommodation which will trigger an automatic email with your Visa letter. Please note, accommodation is subject to change from what is given for your Visa invitation letter.

Your letter will also be available for you to download from your delegate portal in the registration system. If you are applying to volunteer, your Visa initiation letter will only be issued once your application has been accepted to volunteer and payment made.

If you are registering a group to attend YMCA175, Visa invitation letters will only be issued for delegates that have all details required completed.

Visa information can be found at the UK Home Office. If you need to contact UK Visas about your existing application please go here. It is recommended that if you require a Visa, that you complete registration as early as possible so that the process of issuing a Visa invitation letter can begin.

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SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL

Environmental sustainability is one of the most important issues to young leaders today, and is one of the biggest social challenges of our time.

YMCA175 is working to reduce the Carbon Footprint of the event and its delegates as much as possible with a sustainable event management approach. YMCA175 has appointed a Sustainability Manager to support the event to reduce the Carbon Footprint of the event and delegates wherever possible.

The UK and London has an extensive transport network of trains, buses, roads and several ports to arrive into the UK by ferry. This includes the Eurostar railway service connecting London with Amsterdam, Avignon, Brussels, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Paris and Rotterdam and the Eurotunnel to transport vehicles connecting Calais, in France, to Folkestone, in England.

For delegations considering driving there is parking for cars and coaches available at ExCeL London (made by prior arrangement). YMCA175 recommends that if delegates are driving that they use public transport while in London, which is included with all tickets.

Apps like Citymapper are a great way of navigating the city’s public transport network and will also show delegates how much carbon and money they are saving by using public transportation, compared to by car.

Choosing an alternative mode of transport to flying for those that are able to will always be the best way to reduce your environmental impact (and often will be more cost-efficient than flying). But with flying being essential for many delegates, there are still ways of offsetting or reducing your Carbon Footprint.

How efficient an airline is depends greatly on the type of aircraft, route and payload. When flying, always consider taking a direct flight, since most of the emissions produced on a trip are created during take-off and landing. How carbon efficient an airline is, in regard to carbon usage per passenger and mile, varies a lot within the aviation industry.

However, flying economy is a lot more efficient than business class, because economy fits more passengers in the cabin thus reducing each individual’s footprint. 

YOUR CHOICE OF AIRLINE MATTERS

Some airlines offer to offset the carbon produced on a trip and help customers with the calculations to make this process easier.

Websites such as Google Matrix, shows you how much carbon will be produced with different travel options, as well as the price for, and the duration of the trip.

Another option is to do this calculation by yourself using websites like carbonfootprint.com or climatecare.org.

SO YOU ARE GOING TO OFFSET...

When deciding to offset your travels, please consider whether your offset is certified with a recognisable standard such as the Gold Standard, CDM or VCS. Also think about in what kind of impact you would like to have. For example, some places offer to plant trees, but this option is not always considered to be efficient (lack of permanence, slow to grow, and doesn’t address the fossil fuel dependency). Another way to offset could be to invest in renewable energy sources and energy efficiency programmes in parts of the world that are still developing solutions to environmental challenges. You could also invest in the European Emissions Allowances as a private individual to affect the price of carbon and by doing so reduce the negative planetary pressure created by your travels.

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