Even though London has been one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world for decades, first-time tourists still make several blunders. Most are minor, but they might increase the cost of your trip or squander valuable vacation time, preventing you from getting the most out of your visit to England’s capital city.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the most prevalent misunderstandings about this vast metropolis and things to keep in mind when planning your first trip to London. Avoid these blunders, and we’re confident you’ll have a far better day.
1. The Public Transit System Is Fantastic
For buses and the tube, the prices are fairly low. Just keep in mind that buses do not accept cash. When compared to a single ticket, an Oyster Card is your best bet, saving you up to 50%.
If you just use buses and trams and pay with the same card every time, the daily cost maximum is £4.40. This daily maximum would not apply if you were using single tickets or several modes of payment. You could also use a contactless card, but make sure your credit card qualifies by reading the criteria first.
2. Tipping in London Is a Bit Different
If you’re in a London restaurant and the bill includes a service charge, there’s no need to tip on top of that. If there is no service charge, then a 10% tip is fine if the service is satisfactory.
If you received poor service, the service charge already applied to the bill is optional. Simply pay the check amount before the service charge was added.
If you’re an American, keep in mind that service in the UK isn’t always up to par with what we’re used to in the US, so be patient.
3. Go With Cost-effective Lodging
One of your major travel expenses is where you sleep at night, so before visiting London, it’s better to find inexpensive lodging that will allow you to leave more money in your pocket for other activities. With ever-increasing hotel bills, a vacation to London can seem like a financial nightmare.
Fortunately, there are many suggestions and website resources available these days to assist you in finding safe, practical, and affordable accommodation.
4. Make a Route Plan
It may seem obvious, but one of the most important things to remember before visiting London is that it is a massive city. So before you go out for the day (or night), make sure you have your bearings and choose the most logical path.
You can easily get around the city with a little forethought. The majority of the major attractions are in the heart of the city, but don’t assume that everything is just a few tube stations away. Don’t squander any of your time in London by being stuck on public transportation.
5. On the Left
Cars drive on the left side of the road in this country, which is the polar opposite of most other countries. It can be perplexing at times, so check both ways before crossing the street, or look for the “Look Left” or “Look Right” indicators written on the crosswalks to help you figure out where to look.
We also don’t recommend driving in London. Driving outside of the city is OK, but avoid London if at all possible.
6. Keep Temperature in Mind
The typical perception of English weather is that it is dreary and rainy all the time. Few people anticipate how cold it can get in the winter and how hot it can be in the summer. Although you won’t require Arctic clothing or a bathing suit, it’s always a good idea to be prepared, regardless of when you want to visit.
The best approach is to bring a lot of layers so you can take them off as the weather warms up and add them as the weather cools down. Just keep in mind that the top layer must be watertight.
7. Last-minute Theater Tickets Might Save You Money
What would a trip to London be without a night at the theater? If you’re keen to see a show in London’s West End, you should book a few months ahead of time to ensure you receive tickets for the specific date you’ll be visiting. The most popular performances often sell out months ahead of time.
However, wait until the last minute if the experience is more important to you than attending a certain concert. On the day you want to watch a performance check what last-minute tickets are still available—you’re sure to get a good deal.
Most tourists’ bucket lists include a visit to London, which is a bustling and interesting city. To make the most of your vacation to London, simply keep these London travel tips in your back pocket.