The Do’s and Don'ts of Traveling

So this past summer, my roommate Rachael and I went on a two week trip to London. On this trip, we learned a lot of things about each other, ourselves and traveling in a foreign city. So I wanted to let you know about some of the things we learned about traveling, things that you should know to do or not do whether you are a first-time traveler or a seasoned one!

1. Do: Research On Public Transportation

Before Rachael and I had seriously decided we wanted to travel to London, we did our research. We looked up public transportation systems, watched YouTube videos on how to travel through London like a local and even London slang so we wouldn’t get confused in any way. For example, English buses don’t work the same way American buses do. London is pretty ahead of America in terms of technology. English buses only accept two forms of payment: touch pay and through the use of Oyster cards. Oyster cards are travel cards that allow you to add funds to it and can be used for any type of travel through London that’s labeled “TFL” which stands for “Transport for London.” 

2. Don’t: Go In Blind

I know that when planning vacations, we always have an idea of what we want to do or see but that’s not usually enough. Now, I’m not saying you have to plan every day of your vacation, but you should at least have a list, written down or on your phone, of all of the things you want to see and do. This way, you can plan what you want to do or see on a daily basis and you won’t be scrambling for ideas. I suggest that you list twice or thrice as many things as the days you are there because a lot of the time, you have enough time to do or see multiple things in one day.

3. Do: Pack For All Kinds of Weather

This was something unfortunately Rachael and I didn’t do and paid for. London is a city of many weathers, it’s basically as crazy as Missouri. It can be hot, rainy and then become extremely cold in less than 12 hours. During the summer, temperatures in London don’t usually dip below 65 degrees fahrenheit. However when we visited, it was in the 40s and 50s. We packed for the rain and heat, but had nothing for the cold. Luckily, we were staying with some of my family there, so they loaned us some of their coats. So, do pack for all kinds of weather. 

4. Don’t: Fill Your Suitcase Up

Now I’m not saying don’t pack the essentials or pack the bare minimum. I am a very well known over-packer because the thought of traveling gives me anxiety because I feel like I have to pack everything I can. However, leave some space in your suitcase for things like souvenirs and gifts for people that you will inevitably buy even though you might have not planned to do so. This was something Rachael and I had partially planned on but ended up not leaving enough space for everything we would be bringing back so we had to get an additional duffle bag to pack the souvenirs and gifts we were bringing back. So after having gone through that, I recommend estimating ahead of time how much space you would need for the things you bring back and then doubling that amount of space. Now this could mean leaving half your suitcase empty or just bringing an empty carry on, that’s for you to decide.

I hope that this article has made you more prepared, or at least feel more prepared. I know how daunting it can be planning your own trip and these were some things that I really wish I knew ahead of time. Also, if you want to check out some of the really cool things I did while I was in London, check out this playlist. Happy planning and packing!