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Our first international trip planned solo by yours truly (toot, toot) was to London. We tested the waters and spent 2 full days in London. It was a short visit but just enough time for me to overanalyze in true Dee Dee fashion and be scared silly about planning our first family International trip. I researched more than I want to admit but what I did do is create a quick list of London tips to consider when planning your own trip to London. Oh, and did I mention that I absolutely LOVED London. It might be creeping up on New York as one of my favorite cities. The vibe was contagious.
London Ain’t Cheap
Yep. I said it. London is not a cheap visit. From Ireland, it costs us less than $200 to get there but once you arrive, you bleed pounds (more on pounds later). I was warned about how expensive London was but to actually experience it is crazy. I can’t tell you how many times I clutched my pearls when I saw the price tags of everything from a bag of candy in the M&M store to a simple Mc Donald’s Happy Meal. Just know that you have been warned. So, my advice is to budget and then come back and OVER budget. Again, you’ll thank me later.
The UK Uses The Pound
London’s currency is the pound. And based on this system you will end the day with several coins in your pocket and it will feel weird. There are £2 and £1 coins along with £.50, £.20, £.05, £.02 and £.01. Some common slang you may hear is “quid” for pound, “fiver” for five pounds and “tenner” for ten pounds. If you find yourself needing to exchange currency, I highly adjust doing it at a post office if possible for rates that are fairer than most. Just know you will need a strong coin purse/pouch for your trip to London to carry all your quid. 👈🏾 See what I did there!
They Drive on The Left
If you plan to rent a car, the rules are significantly different because they drive on the left. I have been driving on the left side of the road for over a year now and I still get confused so if you plan to partake in this adventure, good luck and buy the car rental insurance. If a car rental is not in your plans then pay close attention when crossing the street. There will be “Look Left” and “Look Right” warnings at most crosswalks to remind you where to look.
Public Transportation is My Golden London Tip
London has arguably one of the best public transportation systems in the world. In 1863, The London Tube opened as the first underground train (metro) in the world. The Tube is beyond easy to navigate and pair it with an Oyster card and your life will be golden. Don’t be afraid. You can get an Oyster card everywhere and kids under the age are 11. It’s a win.
Get a Travel Adapter
When traveling to London, a travel adapter is a must. The UK uses a higher voltage than the states and combine that voltage with American electronics and it’s a recipe for disaster. Oh, and don’t forget to make sure you have flipped the switched to get the power outlets to work. Not being able to plug in your essentials or even frying your electronics is definitely one way to be caught off guard. To be safe, a worldwide universal travel adapter (amongst other items) will take the drama out of trying to figure it all out.
Our first trip to London was a busy yet non-eventful one and we were highly prepared. If you plan to visit London soon, I hope this list of tips will also give you a leg up on your preparation for this amazing adventure.
Hugs and love,
Is there something you think I should add to this list of London tips? Please leave a comment below and I will get back to you.
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