10 Tips for Visiting London during Summer
It’s important to remember a few essential items when traveling in London during the warm summer months. These ten tips should come is useful if you are currently planning a break...
1. Phone Charger & Converter
When you know you’ll be spending the days walking around and sightseeing, it is best to always make sure you take your phone charger and a converter. With everything being digital now, it’s really important to make sure you are always charged so you can keep going. Plus who doesn’t love a coffee or tea break mid day; perfect time to recharge yourself and your phone.
2. Walking Shoes
Make a plan of all the places you want to see. Many of the popular spots have an easy access to a tube station and it might be smart to invest in a day tube pass for where you’re heading. Whether you’re going to do a tour bus, the tube or walk everywhere, it’s important to make sure you wear good walking shoes. You never know when you’ll end up walking a few miles because a local told you about a wonderful spot you just have to check out. My personal favorites are TOMs and Chaco’s, best for every occasion.
3. Cash and Card
Most places now-a-days take card but have you ever had the embarrassing situation where your card gets declined at home? Imagine being overseas and not able to call your bank to check on what’s going on? Now that is terrible, and a tad embarrassing. It’s important to have both cash and a card with you whenever you go out. This way you have cash if your card doesn’t go through or you have a card if you spend all your cash. I always try to keep the equivalent of about $25 USD with me every day whenever I go out. Just enough for food and travel, and you can always add more if you know you’ll be doing shopping. It’s important to have multiple money sources incase you lose one or one gets stolen.
It may sound like a ‘duh’ to stay hydrated but often times it’s the hardest thing to make sure to do. Brits are notoriously stereotyped for an afternoon tea break. I found that I drank more tea and coffee than actual water, which wasn’t bad but it wasn’t the best for my health either. The worst thing is when you get sick from not drinking enough water and not be able to keep traveling. Many places enough let you just refill your water bottle without having to buy one. If you time it just right, you can stop in a shop to buy a new bottle of water and use their loo at the same time. If you’re at a restaurant and just want water, ask for tap, it’s safe to drink and free.
5. Ask a Local
Just like the afternoon tea stereotype, Brits are stereotyped as not being friendly, which I found to be utterly untrue. Incase your GPS sends you on a wild goose chase or decides not to work, or you even try to go without it and end up in Oxford rather than Buckingham, ask a local. They’re helpful, they understand, they’ll point you in the right direction, sometimes even walk with you some of the way to make sure you get there. Don’t worry, Brits don’t bite.
6. Take a Jacket (and maybe even an umbrella)
England’s weather is as temperamental as a teenage girl. Some days it will be rainy and cold, and it may seen like the sun will never come out. Other days, it will be so warm and sunny that people walk around without shirts on. Be prepared for it all. It’s best to ensure you pack a good cardigan that can go with anything you take. Take it with you most days, or wear a jacket. Make sure you have a good raincoat and umbrella too just incase the heavens open up on you while you’re exploring.
7. Plan Ahead
As lame as it may seem especially when you want to have a spontaneous holiday, it’s important to plan head on where you will be spending the night. London is a 24 hour city, much like New York, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, it never sleeps; which means even though many of the hotels, hostels, and B&Bs fill up fast because people are always coming and going. Don’t worry about staying right in the middle of the city, with the Tube, you can get anywhere in just a few minutes.
8. Eat in a Traditional English Pub
Traditional British food is good for the soul. After a day of exploring go to a local pub (that you can find pretty much on any street corner) and enjoy some of their food and a pint. It’s not just the food that you should go for, many of them hold a rich history, ask the servers about it!
9. Look into Walking Tours
Many hotels, B&Bs and even hostels offer free walking tours. It’s a great way to see the city and make some new friends. Plus, some are even tours of places that might not be on the main ‘check it out’ lists. Be sure to check them out, especially if you’re on a tight budget.
10. Travel on ‘Off-Peak’ Times
Just like any major city, if you travel between 6:30am-9:30am, prices will be more expensive on the Tube. Try to get out before hand, walk, or have a leisurely morning and leave after peak times.
By Gwen Debaun