If you’re headed overseas to take a well-deserved vacation to London, you’re going to realize at some point that there is a lot to do there. London is not only the capital of the United Kingdom but one of the largest and most globally-relevant cities of the world.
You could easily spend your entire vacation exploring the city’s sites and you still wouldn’t see them all. From the catacombs and tombs at Westminster Abbey to the shops at Piccadilly Circus, there’s a lot to do in London.
But before you pack your bags and fly into Heathrow, take the time to do some preplanning. Proper planning can keep your vacation from being derailed in case of an emergency or help you make the most of your time.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of seeing a new place, especially during a vacation when your time is limited. Here are four quick tips to helping you make the most of your time in The Big Smoke.
- Emergencies Happen – One of the first things you should plan for on any vacation is making sure that you have contingency plans in case something goes wrong. This can be something as simple as knowing what your medical insurance will cover if you get injured. You should also know how your airline handles rescheduling in case you miss any flights.
Another emergency that can happen is theft. It’s unfortunate, but you can lose your wallet or purse from a pickpocket or a simple purse snatching. If you do, canceling your credit and debit cards is a simple matter. What’s not so simple is getting the money you need so your vacation doesn’t get derailed. Some credit cards will overnight you a replacement card, but in the meantime, a money transfer service with local branches, such as Ria Money Transfer UK, will make sure that you aren’t left hungry for the night.
- Choose Your Battles – London is a big city with a lot of history to explore. You could spend a year there and only scratch the surface of what it has to offer. So don’t wear yourself out trying to see everything in a week. You’ll be so tired from trying to bustle to and fro that you won’t have the energy to enjoy the sights. Instead, pick your top five activities and a couple of alternates and focus on those.
Try to aim for one big attraction or must-see site per day. That will give you time to get there and explore as well. Some of the best memories of London will happen as you explore your destination. Whether it’s buying an inexpensive umbrella from a shop on one side of Westminster Bridge as you make your way over to see Big Ben, or finding an out of the way pub near Trafalgar Square to enjoy a Sunday Roast, there are adventures all over London just waiting for you to find them.
- Decide How To Get Around – While your feet are going to be good enough to get you to a lot of places, if you’re heading to the Town from Notting Hill, you’re going to want some form of motorized transportation. In London, you’ve got a few options available to you. And as with most things travel related, the earlier you get it sorted out, the less you’re going to spend.
The first and most expensive option is to use a privately hired car. This can range from a chauffeured limousine to arranging licensed minicabs. Minicabs can be booked on an as-needed basis, but they have to be booked in advance, or you risk running afoul of the law. Also, minicabs do not use meters but have set fares that they will tell you in advance.
The second option is to use London’s famous Black Cab. These special cab drivers in London have to undergo a thorough exam which includes memorizing every street in London in a six-mile radius around Charing Cross. That’s over 20,000 landmarks and 25,000 different streets. Black Cabs are metered, but have different rates depending on the time of day and, in some instances, where you’re going or being picked up from.
The third option is public transportation. Booked in advance, this is often the cheapest and best option for most travelers. A Visitor Oyster Card enables you to use the Underground, buses, and overground trains whenever you need it. As you run low on funds, you top it off with your credit card. The best part of using public transportation in London is that there’s a maximum amount you can be charged for travel each day – the daily travel cap – so you can use the busses and Tube as much as you need, whenever you need.
An ancient city with a history and footprint to show it, London is a must-see for anyone who wishes to see the best this world has to offer. Just make sure to plan accordingly.