London is a very interesting city to visit as a tourist. It combines old charm with new day luxury, which makes the city perfect for all kinds of travellers.
When the traveller in you urges you to book a flight/train to one of the most sought-after destinations in the world, you must follow your instincts. Here’s a handy checklist to help you:
Depending on where you live, you might need a visa to visit London. Check out this UK Govt official website to see if you require a visa before travelling to London or not. If you are eligible for one, you should apply a couple of months in advance to have the document ready when it’s time to travel.
This one is a no-brainer. Get your tickets booked as soon as your visa arrives. If you are visiting London for the first time, you must book tickets as early as possible to get the best rates. Once booked, save a soft copy of the e-ticket and print a copy to put with your travel documents.
Remember to arrange insurance for your trip. It is the most important thing to secure your travel with a trusted insurance company. Even if you might not end up using it, the insurance is there as a backup in case of emergency situations.
Many insurance companies offer travel insurance. The best way to find one is to search for a local company that operates in London or the UK.
If you are a frequent traveler, you must know that the money situation is essential to keep in check. Decide how much you are going to spend in London and prepare in advance.
The best way to go about it is to have some ready cash in hand and the rest in your credit or debit card. The card should preferably be a Visa or Master Card. Both of these can work in ATMs and card machines all over the world. An additional layer of protection can be put through an RFID blocking wallet.
Your checklist must include a SIM. You have to choose between a Data SIM or a Voice and Data SIM based on your telecommunication needs in London. It is one of the most modern cities in the world, so you can get a SIM that has internet and voice calling features.
You can find the office of various telecommunication service providers at the airport. Do some research beforehand on which company you will choose and what package will suit you the most.
Keep your travel documents like tickets, visa and your country’s identity card in a travel wallet. It saves a lot of time when you are running in between transits or getting late for the train. Secure the documents in a bag and keep an eye on your travel wallet at all times.
Since the weather in London is unpredictable, a tourist must pack for everything on the safe side! You may experience snowflakes in April and all the four seasons in summer. The best way to be a step ahead is to install a weather app on your phone that will warn you of any changes.
Keep an umbrella
Before you even think about anything else, buy a sturdy umbrella for your trip to London. You will not regret this one. It is something you will need when the rain starts to pour all of a sudden. This is also one of the most important tips you will receive as a tourist from those who witnessed a sudden change in weather while visited London.
The chances are that you will do a bit of walking once you hit the streets of London. What are your thoughts about travel shoes? The cobbled streets, escalators and tube travel means you need to wear something that is practical and comfortable.
Moreover, your shoes should also be water resistant. Boots and joggers will be your best bet along with anything that will help you walk extensively every day.
Nowadays, a smartphone can work as a tour guide, photographer and phone.
But to make the most of your trip to London, here are some apps you can download before your travel. When you look for a SIM, make sure it is compatible with your smartphone model. Otherwise, you won’t be able to fit the SIM in your device’s SIM port.
Toiletries and makeup
This goes for both men and women. The water is a bit hard in London, so you must keep a good conditioner with you. Otherwise, your hair will suffer the consequences of hard water. Try to find travel-sized versions of your favourite shampoo, conditioner, and moisturiser.
Keep razor blades, a nail kit, scissors, straightener, hygiene products, cleansers and sunscreen in your luggage.
Let me tell you the harsh truth: overpacking is not going to benefit you in any way. If you pack four pairs of jeans, you will end up wearing only two of them. You need to be smart in apparel choices when packing for London. It is a fashionable city, and you don’t want to look out of place in this happening place.
If you plan to shop for your outfits, don’t take more than two pairs of shoes, jeans, and 3-4 tops. Keep style and comfort in consideration and take a scarf (a stylish pashmina will work!) and jacket (pink leather jacket for ladies, brown for men) to be prepared for extreme weather.
Crossbody bags are a tourist’s best friend, and they keep your precious belongings close to your heart. Invest in a good crossbody bag that you can trust.
Even in the era of Google Maps, you must have a copy of the map of London. Maps make it easy to spot places without pulling out your phone. The second and most preferred method of navigation is Google Maps with its fastest route predicting feature.
Walking tours are a big attraction in London. You can book a walking tour from your home country before you leave for the UK. These tours require you to reach a certain place at allotted given time before the tour begins. You can stroll around with the other tourists and learn more about the city from the tour guide.
A trip to London or anywhere in the world is incomplete without a list of places you must visit. Keep a list ready and Google how long it will take for you to travel to each location from your accommodation.
You can easily find places that everyone visits in London. In our checklist, we have included some unusual places tourists should see in the city:
- Chiswick House and Gardens in West London
- The Skinny House in Kensington
- The Seven Noses of Soho
- Britain’s Smallest Police Station
- Abney Park Cemetery
- Faux 10 Downing Street
- Sir Christopher Wren’s Monument
London is where the world comes to shop! When you are set to shop in this city, the options are endless! Here are the most important shopping places in London:
- Oxford Street
- Trafford Centre
- Covent Garden
- Regent Street
- Bond Street and Mayfair
Apart from shopping, don’t forget to pick some souvenirs from London! It is a cool place, and you must keep some tokens to distribute amongst friends and loved ones when you go back. You can also do some research on this beforehand and find souvenirs that you would love to take home from London.
A cool but less known idea is to look for London-based crafters on sites like eBay. These crafters come up with unique souvenir ideas that are different from the souvenirs you will commonly find in the market.
This is a useful tip no matter where you’re travelling. Keep some basic medication for your travel days. If your medicine is prescription-based, keep copies of the prescription with you.
Have a pain relief kit and a first aid kit at hand when travelling. If you are travelling with kids, pack their food items, milk and other containers in zip locks.
So, what are you waiting for? London is calling!
If you are a seasoned traveller and have visited the city before, leave some tips for other tourists below.