Luggage and bags: Make sure your handbag does up at the top - don't want anyone trying to stick their hands into it while you are out and about.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Don't forget to bring your scarf and gloves when you come to London (unless it is summer).
I wear mine here for 8 months of the year!
A hat is a good idea too - when that wind picks up your ears ache!
Photo Equipment: You will takes loads of photos, so be prepared. Shame about the grey days - not the best for photography
Miscellaneous: Carry an umbrella at all times - you can buy tiny ones that fit in your handbag.
- Budget Travel
Things to Leave Behind ... And NOT!
Luggage and bags: Pack up your troubles and leave them behind. Your objective is ... to Have Fun! Whatever your idea of fun is, just do it! Leave enough space in your luggage to bring home treasures of your memorable experience. Before arriving at the airport, check on the baggage weight limit for your flight. By no means go overboard, it is a costly mistake. (Unless, of course, money doesn't matter to you). The 'penalty' charges are nearly out of this world!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Depending on your length of stay, bring enough clean clothes to last the entire visit. Reminder, See above tip: Laundry is NOT fun! COMFORTABLE shoes are a must have! Note: Walking in London IS fun!
Deciding what types of clothes to pack depends entirely on the time of year you are traveling ... Check the weather forecast before you leave home. After all, you ARE on the Internet! A tiny fold up umbrella (brolly) is always useful, and not much bother. Mine fits inside my purse, even! For your convenience, I have included a link to the 5 day forecast in London. There is an option to view in Fahrenheit degrees also, as many Americans do not know Celsius.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: If you are on medication, then surely you wouldn't leave home without it! If you fancy your own toiletries, then pack 'em. If you forget a few items, well, buy 'em. Please don't forget your toothbrush and toothpaste, at least, although these items are readily available in London.
Photo Equipment: A digital camera would be ideal, (as you can see the shot and decide if you want to keep it or try again) but a camera is a must!!! Even if it is a disposable one, it is something you simply can not live without whilst in London. Trust me, you will be glad you did. Photo opportunities are endless!
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Well, if it is an outdoor adventure you are planning, then do bring the necessary gear along, or buy disposable items, if you prefer. Just don't start any forest fires trying to make a cup of coffee, if you are out in the English countryside camping.
Miscellaneous: Be sure to bring enough money! (Or rather, access to your cash) ATM (cash machines) are everywhere, so only carry the amount you will need for a few days at a time. If using a credit card, be sure you set it up to require a PIN # for purchases, in case lost or stolen. Also, always carry some coins, because you may NEED them, as some toilets require an entry fee, but ... mostly to impress the shop attendants with your ability to count foreign currency.
Don't forget to bring a prepaid phone card in case you need to use the telephone. (Hint for Americans: DO NOT say, "I have a calling card." It means something ENTIRELY different!)
Most importantly, bring a smile along to brighten someone's day. Relax, and take time to enjoy yourself. Create some pleasant memories, that will last a lifetime, to take back home with you. One last thing to remember... If something doesn't go quite as planned, do not allow yourself to be upset. Instead ... Laugh at yourself, if only to amuse others. You are only human, after all.
- Adventure Travel
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
Harden's "London For Free"
Miscellaneous: This excellent little yellow book has oodles of info on things to see and do in London, Museums, city zoos, galleries, parks and with maps and websites etc etc. At only £5.99 (mine was £4.99 from a local bookshop) it's an invaluable resource for travelers on a budget! It's nice and slim too, so easy to carry in a pocket or rucksack.
Think, Think, Think
Luggage and bags: If you are using public transportation to and from the aiport, make sure you can lift your bag. There will be many stairs to conquer!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Comfortable walking shoes, a light windbreaker, and an umbrella.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: If you use a washcloth, bring your own. Hotels do not provide small face towels!
Photo Equipment: Plenty of batteries for digital and film for regular cameras! Cameras and accessories are VERY expensive!!
Miscellaneous: Most hotels offer an in room kettle for boiling water. To save money, we bought oatmeal packets and plastic spoons and ate out of the cups for breakfast.
- Family Travel
Smart Packing for a More Pleasant Visit
Luggage and bags: Small bag within your backpack or else you will have to check your backpack at most sites. When going out for the day to museums, only take the small bag, and that will save you lots of hassles.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Broken-in walking shoes (broken in BEFORE you leave for the trip!), and make sure they do not look like tennis shoes. I always wear black leather running/walking shoes that serve day and evening attire.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: All prescriptions in their ORIGINAL containers. I also make a copy of them, and place that copy in another location.
Photo Equipment: It's not photo equipment, but you should bring a passport-sized photo of yourself because you will need it if you plan to purchase a travel card for the "Tube".
Miscellaneous: Bring a lightweight pair of binoculars to view the gargoyles, painted ceilings, and statues.
I had an advantage as to what to wear in London because my daughter lived there and gave me tips. Pack "upscale" leisure clothes. If you dress with respect in London, you will be treated with more respect.
- Museum Visits
- Theater Travel
Don't leave home without these!
Miscellaneous: If you are going to be traveling around London you shouldn't leave home without one of these! An A-Z is vital if you are here for a couple of days or a couple of weeks or a couple of years! The Tube map is also an absolute necessity. You can pick one up free at any tube station. The A-Z is around £6 or £7 from any UK bookshop, garage or newsagents. Mine is a little dog-eared now but that's 'cos it's in almost constant use!
Raindrops might well fall on your head!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: An Umbrella might be needed, although depending on where you are when it rains, you might not be able to open it due to congested streets.
Good walking shoes are essential if like me you prefer to walk & see different things walking London Streets.
Photo Equipment: Make sure you have plenty of memory in your camera - the cost of disposable cameras near major attractions are sky high.
- Historical Travel
Mobile Phone / Cellphone
Photo Equipment: Mobile Cellphones are cheap in the UK. It is possible to pick up a phone for £30, insert a SIM card and keep it in credit on a Pay As You Go Basis. Depending on the SIM, there is a tarrif which distinguishes between calls on the same network, between networks, to landlines, international and so on. The basic Pay As You Go tarrifs can be very expensive because you often have to pay to recieve International calls. unlike most of the other call categories where you only pay to make calls.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: However, there are some SIMs which allow you to recieve International calls for free and make calls for modest amounts. However, if you are concerned how much people calling you pay., eg relatives, it may be better for you to call them.
In the UK the market is divided into four large GSM mobile operators: 02, Vodaphone, T-Mobile and Orange. They all have about the same porportion of the market in a highly competative market. Each of them sell SIMs for around £5 which can be used in the UK and provide you with a UK telephone number. You can buy these before you arrive in the UK, so you know your new phone number. Top up vouchers are widely available from phone shops and many small stores.
Miscellaneous: These SIMs are expensive to use for foreign calls. However, International calls can be bought from other telecom operators. Either by buying a new SIM automatically linked to package of international call rates. (eg. 0044.co.uk sell these.) Alternatively, from any phone it is possible to use a 'call through operator'. Some of these are very easy to use. Call a special premium rate number to register your phone and top up your international account, then when you want to call an international number, dial a special access number first. There are lot of passthrough operators and their rates are the lowest in the business.
Here is a list of them for calls to the US, some at 0p per minute.
Here is one of these operators:
Tube and Bus leaflet
Miscellaneous: Take a free leaflet about the public transport system in London. It includes the tube and train lines and the key bus routes in central London. Apart from that the location of the stations in the 6 travelcard zones is shown in the leaflet. It is available from the Tourist information offices, major tube stations and various hotels.
- Budget Travel
Don't bring new shoes!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: There is nothing you can't buy in London, though it may be expensive.However, the one thing you should definitely bring from home are comfortable, well-worn shoes.
During a trip with my mother I had packed a pedometer, because we wanted to know how much walking we were doing. Even though I didn't walk as much as I would have done on a trip on my own, in the evening the counter showed us 21 km.So, comfortable shoes are a must!
For walking around London you need...
Luggage and bags: Small backpack/daypack, nothing too large.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Comfortable shoes, some kind of sneaker might be best or a really good pair of sandles (check outdoor gear shops). Bring an umbrella, just in case. And dress in layers.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Take face wipes with you as I can guarantee by the end of a day walking around your face will have dirt on it.
Photo Equipment: Stock up on film/memory cards as there is a lot of pictures to be taken in London. Also I recommend buying Lithium batteries for your camera (they're good batteries to get if you have a digital camera).
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
Luggage and bags: Obviously you don't want to be burdened by unnecessary bags. Bring only what you need and try and choose the luggage with the wheels to make things easier for you.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: The weather is quite unpredictable in London. If you go in the summer time, most of the time its quite nice out. Its usually sunny, but there's always a chance for rain. So bring a jacket incase it rains or incase it gets cold. Other than that, I say be yourself. People always say wear nice walking shoes, etc... but if you want to wear boots and it doesn't bother you after all that walking... great! Wear boots. I just say as long as your comfortable, you'll be okay.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: I always say you need to bring some kind of anti-diarrhea medicine. Its usually handy if you should eat something that upsets your stomach. Other than that, you can get all your toiletries at drug stores like Boots.
Photo Equipment: Yes... bring them. So many opportunities for great photos. Or bring your camcorder to record your adventures through the city.
Miscellaneous: Bring a converter if you are coming from another country. I'd recommend purchasing some kind of travelguide so that you get the most out of your trip if you are unfamiliar with London.. At least that way you can see if a particular attraction is worth it or not.
It Rains --- Think Layers
Luggage and bags: We had two soft side carry-on size bags each. That way we could carry them ourselves.
Note: Don't call those bags that strap on around your waist "fanny packs". That's obscene to the English (apparently refers to a part of the female anatomy which is hidden even when topless). To be less offensive, call them 'bum bags' or 'waist bags'.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Umbrellas and/or raingear because even though we had only about 2 days of actual rain, it clouded up and either rained or looked like rain fairly often.
Take jackets and sweaters to layer. It can get hot in the summer, but it can also get cool and be windy.
If you want to ride on the top of a tour bus, you will need an extra sweater or a coat - even on a warm day, it is colder up there, as Bob learned when he didn't have one.
It should go almost without saying that clothing should fit well and be comfortable. Shoes should be well broken in.
The perception is that Americans tend to wear baseball hats, and T-shirts with slogans on them. So you might want to pack less T-shirts with slogans, but there's no point in trying to look like a local - London is full of tourists from all over the world. Everyone is local in London
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring any prescription medicines (labeled) with you in your non-checked luggage.
But LOTS of people buy their toiletries when they get to London. If you need a hair dryer, definitely get that in London. The US ones not only won't work but may start a fire.
Photo Equipment: I had a digitial camera and a film camera. I got better pictures with the digital. For the digital camera, I ordered a special recharging attachment for English plugs
- Family Travel
- Arts and Culture
- Road Trip
Peanut butter, Hershey's Kisses and deodorant!
Luggage and bags: Bring a bag that zips closed and doesn't just have a single snap in the middle, leaving the rest of the bag open. There ARE cases of pickpockets so keep it under your arm and don't be a floozy. Also, a roller suitcase that you KNOW you can carry up and down stairs (metro stairs...assuming you take the metro from Heathrow airport) If you take a rollersuitcase, make sure your bag either slings over your body so your hands are free to carry your bag.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Wear comfortable shoes, ladies. I seriously grew up wearing heels (wearing sneakers everywhere was a no-no with my lady-like mother) and I brought all heels with me. However, heels and COBBLESTONES do not mix. (Horrid memories of trips to D.C. in heels...heels and gravel...::shudder:) Bring lady-like flats (from JCrew or otherwise). They go with pants, skirts and you still look cute. Make sure you get arch support ot padding from Boots or something because you will be doing a lot of walking on hard cement/cobblestones/the very bumpy non-skid area which is found on every corner in London. Flats all the way!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring your own deodorant. They don't make a lot of American deodorants here and I know of too many cases where people have to study here for 6 months or so and only have one thing of deodorant. Bring it and you will feel right at home. Also, any make-up, lotions, and medicines that you don't think are available in London. The medicines here (ie. cough syrups or tylenol) are called different things here, so come prepared with things you know that work on you (like your favorite cough drop) because you never know if you can find it here. I was sick when I first arrived and thank god my mother made me bring tons of tylenol, cough drops, and vitamin C candies with me.
Photo Equipment: Some digital camera battery chargers do not have flexible voltage. You need to get a voltage CONVERTER (or TRANSFORMER) for this. YOU CANNNOT USE AN ADAPTOR (which you might use on a laptop comptuer) because your appliance will BLOW UP. Make sure it transforms the voltage to the appropriate settings.
Miscellaneous: If you're going to be here awhile, bring your favorite foods because they will most likely not be available here (ie Goldfish crackers and PEANUT BUTTER). Also, they don't have Hershey's chocolate here, so bring a couple bags of Hershey's chocolate kisses or something and you can use it to give as presents to locals or to bribe airport officials. It's a very rare commodity here and has helped me in more ways than one...plus, it's always great to snack on during that "time of the month." Tee Hee! Sorry! TMI! :-P
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
- Study Abroad
Bill Bryson - Notes from a small island
Miscellaneous: Notes from a small island by Bill Bryson tells the story of Bryson's last trip around Britain before moving back to the States after almost 20 years on the British island.
The book is packed with interesting and funny stories about travelling as it really happens. By reading the book you get a nice insight into the life of the British people and their peculiarities. Some places Bryson visits on his trip are: Bradford, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Llandudno, London, Porthmanog and Thurso.
This book is definitely a must-read for everyone before or after a trip to Britain.
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