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What You Should Really Pack for a London Getaway

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london tower bridgeWhether you’re a RTW traveler, work and holiday maker, summer and spring break planner, or weekend jet setter, you’ve probably asked “what should I pack for fill-in-the-blank destination for X number of days at this time of year”! No matter how often you travel, the packing question can still prove to be a challenge. Hopefully, the longer we travel, the more savvy we become with packing smartly and lightly!

After five visits to London, I think I may have the packing essentials down to a science. From the slightly cheeky to the practical, here are my tips for what you should really pack for a London getaway.

London weather

red gum bootsA pair of cute wellies (rain boots, gum boots) – chances are it’s going to rain during your visit, so find some boots with a fun design and colors to match your outfits.

A brolly (umbrella) – again with the rain!

A jumper (sweater or even a jacket or hoodie) – As a little girl in the USA, we called a certain style of dress a jumper. You can imagine my surprise on my first visit to the UK when a male friend said he just needed to “grab a jumper” before we went for a walk.

Sports fan?

Some attire in football (soccer) team colors – to fit in at the pub! I love American football and Australian football, and now a friend is trying to get me into what the world calls football. He’s a Chelsea fan and thankfully blue is my favorite color. My Arsenal friends are not very pleased!

Don’t forget

A plug adapter – you’ll want to charge the laptop so you can blog about the beautiful weather!

More money – not only is London known for being an expensive city but the exchange rate doesn’t help either.

A pocket dictionary or translator app – to understand and communicate with the locals! Many of us have heard of loo (toilet, restroom) or queue (a line or to form a line), but even after five visits, I’m always learning “new” words or being reminded of British English phrases, terms, and slang. In the last few weeks, I received a refresher that (American) pants are (British) underwear, something “dear” is expensive, and a friend needed bandaids when she asked for “plasters”.

Getting around

london undergroundAn Oyster Card – save money on public transportation with London’s travel card.

A Tube map – there are maps at every Underground station, but sometimes it’s nice to have one of your own.

A London A-Z – get the pocket size map & street finder (that’s A-”Zed”, not A-”Zee”)

Good walking shoes – the Tube is easy to use, but it’s nice to get from A to B on foot (just be sure to look right when crossing the street)

Forget something?

Head to Primark for inexpensive clothing. If the queue for the fitting room is long (and it will be), join the others who are trying on clothes over their outfits in the aisles.

If you’re staying at one of the many hotels in London, the staff can provide you with missing toiletries or point you in the direction of a nearby chemist/pharmacy.

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11 Responses to What You Should Really Pack for a London Getaway

  1. Andy September 16, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    You loved Primark, don’t deny it :)

    • Gav September 19, 2011 at 7:38 am #

      We all do :-P

  2. Heather September 18, 2011 at 12:52 am #

    It was an adventure for sure :-) What a lucky girl I was to have you guys come to my rescue when the airline lost my bag!

  3. Cailin September 21, 2011 at 3:53 am #

    An Oyster card is definitely one of the best tips!
    I got one on a trip to London in 2007 and have been to London probably 4 more times since then and I always have it with me and top it up when I arrive or sometimes it has still had money on it! :) A must have for sure.
    The pocket dictionary might be a bit much thought for fellow English speakers? haha

    • Heather September 22, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

      I agree on the dictionary, Cailin :-)

  4. Julie September 22, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    An Oyster card is a must! I was only in London for four days and it was still so great to have. Also, make sure you get a US to UK power adapter and not a standard European one because they’re different!

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