Travel to London, England

Travel to London, England
The vibrant and bustling city of London is one of the most visited places in the world. As soon as you set foot on the "tube," jump in a black cab and listen to everyone's strange accent, you know you are no longer in the US. Yet how is it possible to arrive feeling refreshed, prepared and ready to embrace all that London has to offer? With some careful planning and preparation, your travel experience to London can be smooth and worry-free.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Planning and preparation

Things You’ll Need:
  • Map of London
  • Map of London
Step 1
When packing, keep in mind that weather in London is unpredictable throughout the year, so it is best to pack something for all types of weather. Rain gear is essential and a travel umbrella is a handy addition. London is a great city to enjoy on foot, so comfortable walking shoes are highly recommended. Be sure to check baggage allowance and weight restrictions with your airline prior to travel.
Step 2
If traveling with outdoor equipment, check with the airline regarding restrictions and excess-baggage charges. According to the TSA, camping stoves can be carried in checked or carry-on bags if they are clean, fuel free and don't smell of fuel vapors. However, it is virtually impossible for fuel canisters to be vapor free, so TSA recommends shipping or buying these upon arrival. Compressed gas, such as butane, can never be taken on board a plane. Trekking poles, knives and leatherman tools should be packed in your checked luggage. All of these items are considered potentially dangerous and cannot be in your carry-on bags.
Step 3
When choosing luggage, consider how much traveling you expect to do by public transportation. Traveling by "tube," train or bus often requires a lot of walking and stairs. In these circumstances, a large backpack or a duffel with wheels is highly recommended.
Step 4
For international flights, plan on arriving at the airport three hours prior to your departure time. Inquire about check-in requirements with your airline prior to traveling. With most airlines, you can save time at the airport by checking in online prior to arriving at the airport. Upon arrival at the airport, simply follow the signs to "Bag Drop."
Step 5
International flights to London arrive at Heathrow or Gatwick. Both are connected to London by public transportation. The fastest way to travel from Heathrow to London is on the Heathrow Express. It takes 15 minutes, runs every 15 minutes and as of August 2009 costs £16.50 for a single passenger. Trains start at Heathrow Central (Terminals 1, 2, and 3) and Terminal 5 and end at Paddington Station. If you arrive into Terminal 4, then a free transfer bus will take you to Heathrow Central. Tickets can be bought on board, but there is an additional £3 charge. The cheapest option is to take the tube, which takes about an hour and costs £4. When traveling from Gatwick, the best option is to take the Gatwick Express into Victoria Station. The journey takes 30 minutes, trains run every 15 minutes and the cost is £16.90 for a single. Tickets can be purchased on board at no additional charge.

Tips & Warnings

 
If you plan on staying in London for a couple of days, save money on public transportation by purchasing an Oyster card. This card only costs £3 and gives you a 50 percent discount on buses and substantial discounts on the tube. You "top up" your card by cash or credit card at the machines or at the ticket counter. Carry a change of clothes and essential items in your hand luggage just in case your luggage doesn't arrive. Pack a sweater or jacket because it often gets cold on long flights. A map of the center of London is invaluable, especially if you plan on doing a lot of walking. A laminated map is handy when it rains. Upon arrival in London, buy the "Time Out" to find out what is happening in the capital during your stay. Avoid jet lag by changing your watch as soon as you board the plane. When traveling on long flights, avoid caffeine and alcohol on the day you travel because they dehydrate you; drink plenty of water instead.
 
If you plan on staying in London for a couple of days, save money on public transportation by purchasing an Oyster card. This card only costs £3 and gives you a 50 percent discount on buses and substantial discounts on the tube. You "top up" your card by cash or credit card at the machines or at the ticket counter.
 
Carry a change of clothes and essential items in your hand luggage just in case your luggage doesn't arrive. Pack a sweater or jacket because it often gets cold on long flights.
 
A map of the center of London is invaluable, especially if you plan on doing a lot of walking. A laminated map is handy when it rains.
 
Upon arrival in London, buy the "Time Out" to find out what is happening in the capital during your stay.
 
Avoid jet lag by changing your watch as soon as you board the plane.
 
When traveling on long flights, avoid caffeine and alcohol on the day you travel because they dehydrate you; drink plenty of water instead.

Resources

Article Written By Alexandra Pallut

Alexandra Pallut is a travel, health and fitness writer based in Steamboat Springs, Colo. She has been writing her way around the world since 2008 and currently works with Ruba.com. Pallut graduated with a degree in English literature and French language from Lancaster University in Great Britain.

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