LONDON – TRAVEL TIPS
“PUT DOWN THAT MAP AND GET WONDERFULLY LOST…”
BUT FIRST GET PREPARED!
- I put this list together of little things we learned along the way to help you out and be prepared before you go so you can relax and have fun when you get there!! There’s no particular order so bare with me – I promise they’re all important!
- Browse the web to find out what the weather will be like when you’re traveling. How can you know what to pack if you don’t know what to expect? Here’s a link for a general idea for all of the seasons in London http://www.visitlondon.com/weather. Set your weather app on your iphone to London, this way when you wake up you can check the forecast for the day and know what to wear and if you’ll need an umbrella.
- Download the open table app on your phone so you can make dinner reservations while you’re out and about during the day sight seeing and know you won’t have to wait for a table when dinner time rolls around.
- Go to your bank and exchange your local currency for the pound. Make sure you know the current rate exchanges so you get an accurate amount. The following link is a conversion for dollars to pounds. http://www.dollars2pounds.com/
- Make sure you’re carrying at least 10 pounds with you when you land so you can tip your taxi driver, private car hire, concierge etc.
- Be sure you call all of your credit card companies and banks before you go…let them know the dates and locations you will be traveling to so you don’t experience any problems using your cards while there.
- A week before you go call to verify airfare, hotel, rental cars etc. and make copies of your reservations to carry with you. (I took an entire folder on the plane in my purse carrying all of our info. just in case our luggage was lost we still had documentation of everything)
- Check the Groupon page for even more great local deals while you’re there!!! You can find a ton of new experiences and save a lot of money by doing so. You have to create an account for Groupon UK but there’s no charge to do so. http://www.groupon.co.uk/vouchers/london
- Go to your local government website and check any travel warnings or alerts that may be issued.http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings.html
- If you are recently applying for a passport, make sure you track them and pay any extra fees to get them before you leave. If you currently hold a passport, make sure it’s good for at least 6 months as most countries will not allow you to travel if it expires within 6 months.
- Carry the number for the US Embassy (or for the embassy for your home country you are traveling from) in your phone and in your wallet. You can contact them should you have any problems while there, like losing your passport.
- If you are renting a car make sure you obtain your International Drivers license…it’s quick, painless and cheap! The only place I know of with experience to get one at is your local AAA office. You do not have to be a AAA member to get one. http://www.aaa.com/Vacation/idpf.html
- Make copies of your itinerary and travel documents and leave them at home with a trusted family member or friend.
- Call your cell phone provider to check international plans they offer! Nobody wants to have a perfect vacation and come home to a HUGE bill filled with roaming charges. Make sure you clearly understand what you’re paying for and what is covered under their international plan. I spent 2 hours on the phone with my cell phone provider before I totally understood it all (however, that’s not saying much as I’m not by any means tech savvy).
- If you have any prescription medications make sure you have enough to last the duration of your trip and a few extra days should something go wrong and your flight home is delayed. I also bought over the counter medications (for fever and pain) and put it in our checked luggage as it is much cheaper here at home.
- Get any voltage convertors/adapters before you leave. You can find these at stores like Best Buy and they cost about $20-$30. You won’t be able to charge your phone or use your flat iron (GASP!!) without one.
- Make sure all your bills are either paid or scheduled to be paid while you’re gone.
- The 2 weeks prior to leaving keep a note pad around the house and write down the things you use everyday that you’ll need to pack. Most of us remember the obvious shirts, pants and socks but you’d be surprised how many of us overlook the daily things like toothbrushes, hairbrushes, body wash etc. Make a list for everything you need to pack so there are no surprises!
- Write down important numbers of family or a trusted friend to carry on your person God-forbid in case anything should happen.
- Make sure to pack your camera and go pros! Double check the amount of space available on your card and buy any larger memories if necessary. We took over 2,500 pictures on our 2 week trip.
- You can always try the London Pass (http://www.londonpass.com/) it covers entry for a list of things (http://www.londonpass.com/london-attractions/index.html) and could be a huge money saver. The price ranger from 52 Euro per adult up to 116 Euro…probably not your best bet to use for a day or two but is well worth it for multiple days.
- For a ton of helping getting around London, finding new events and maximizing your time there take a look at these Must have London Apps to download before you go!
- We flew with British Airways, so before I booked the tickets I made sure to sign up with their mileage club and now we have a bunch of points towards another flight or to redeem rewards with! Check the hotel you’re booking with too to see if there are any reward cards worth signing up for.
HAVE FUN! Get everything in order before you go so you are not preoccupied with any minor things that may come up from not preparing ahead of time.