Top 10 essentials for touring London
If you’re planning a London vacation, don’t forget to bring these 10 essentials for touring London to make your day a real success!
- “Water water everywhere….”
In the summer months doing a London tour is thirsty work. There’s always plenty of places to buy bottled water at the main tourist sites, but it can be very expensive. So best advice is to buy cheaper bottled water nearer to your hotel or accommodation from one of the supermarket stores before you set out for the day, or the night before. You will be amazed at the price difference. Buy a large bottle and decant it into smaller bottles for your days out.
- Cover up!
We may not be southern Italy but UV rays can do a lot of harm, even on the not so sunny days. Weather in London is very temperamental and it can swing from hot to cold in just a few moments. So don’t get caught out by surprise – bring small bottle of sun block and a hat for those sunny moments (when they eventually arrive).
- Wet weather gear
For those unexpected rainy days. During a British summer where there’s sun, there’s normally rain and cold just around the corner … So alongside the sun block, scrunch up a light weatherproof jacket in your bag.
- And please don’t forget your ‘brolly‘
I worked with a school teacher from New Jersey who insisted that every one of the students his school trip to London, had an umbrella in their bag before we went out for the day. They were far too cool for brollies. But were very appreciative when caught out in a downpour.
- For those unforgettable selfie moments you’ll need your cellphone
Some of the London galleries and museums don’t allow the use of selfie-sticks as they can often get in the way of other visitors trying to enjoy the displays. So do check museum or gallery policy before you start your tour.
- And if you prefer to take photos on a real old-fashioned camera
then don’t forget to pack it in your bag. The camera is often one of the first things to be left on a bus, or at a restaurant, or in the bathroom. Sometimes having your cell phone number on the camera can save a lot of aggravation. When it’s handed in then they’ll know who to call so you can be reunited.
- Guide books, maps and paperwork
Most of us use our cellphones to get around with the help of maps and online services. But you may not have any cell or wi-fi coverage in London when you are out and about. And who knows how long your battery may last? So paper copies of all the information you need for the day is essential. An old fashioned paper map can help you work out itineraries and routes. You can see other useful landmarks you might be passing on the way and maybe able to include something extra in your day that you hadn’t thought of. Make sure you have printed copies of any bookings that you’ve made as well.
- Getting around
Travelling on public transport in London is easy-peasy. But you’ll need to have a ticket. So invest in a Visitor Oyster card. It’s like a credit card that you top up with money. And every time you use it on a bus, or train, then the correct amount is deducted. You can get them sent to you in advance before you travel to London, or buy them when you arrive from any ticket machine in any station. London buses don’t take any cash now, so the Visitor Oyster card is a must for bus travel.
Making sure you’ve got emergency supplies in your backpack can really help get you through the day. If you’re in London for only a short time you want to see as much as possible. During the day you may not want to spend too much time waiting for table service – so eating ‘on the go’ can be a great plus. Save the restaurants and sitting down until the evening when you’ve got more time and all those major London sites on your to do list are closed.
- And finally keep the address of your hotel or accommodation close to you
So even if your travelling companion has stayed at your hotel a hundred times and knows the way, you may not be so fortunate. If this is your first time in London and you get separated from your friend or family you need to know where you are trying to get back to! Jet lag can make you confused which won’t help. Make an arrangement with the rest of your group before you go out, so that if one of you is separated then everyone knows that you’ll all meet up again at the hotel later.