If you are planning your first trip across the pond to the United Kingdom here are some of my top tips to help you prepare.
Bring your Adapter
The UK uses 240v voltage compared to the US which uses 120. If you are planning to bring your Laptop, Cell phone, Hairdryer or any other electrical equipment you will need to purchase an adapter plug.
Try the Pubs
Pub grub is a staple of the UK and should be tried for the cultural experience but it’s also pretty good and generally reasonably priced. If you are trying to stick to a budget keep your eyes open for Wetherspoons, A British pub chain that offers very cheap food and drinks. I got a huge Burger and pint of Cider for around £8. If you are really looking for an authentic experience though avoid the chain and find your local neighborhood pub and treat yourself to some fish and chips for a truly British experience.
Bring Decent shoes
This applies all year round but especially if you are traveling in the winter. The streets are often coble stone and uneven and when it’s rainy or icy you want a pair of comfortable and sturdy shoes that will keep your feet warm! London is a huge city so you need to be prepared to do a lot of walking, even if you are traveling by tube you will be amazed at how much ground you will cover in a day. There is no easier way to spoil yours and everyone else’s fun then by wearing the wrong shoes and moaning that your feet hurt an hour after you have left the hotel room.
Bring a Raincoat
The weather can change quickly in the UK and chances are you have heard the stereotype about the rain in England. Well stereotypes aside, it does rain a lot and unless you are prepared to deal with walking around wet, I would suggest you pack some sort of waterproof coat. If you forget to bring one with you try to find a Primark where you can find some cheap rain gear. I found a coat for £5.
Plan Your Bathroom Breaks!
This is my number one tip for traveling around the UK, it may sound strange but there is a trick to it. In the UK, particularly in London, there is an astounding lack of free public bathrooms. All the major train stations and tube stations have them but they charge you for access to the bathroom. If you are like me and feel that it is your god given right to go to the toilet when nature calls and refuse to pay then you will need to plan ahead. Keep your eyes open for Starbucks, Mc Donald’s or any big fast food chains, most of them have a bathroom inside. I don’t recommend using the smaller family owned cafes because they are more likely to insist that you purchase something and you can’t really blame them for that. However, I feel no shame for sneaking into a Starbucks to use their restrooms.
Questions? Comments? Get in touch with me!