By Harrison Jones
London is an absolute tourist’s dream, but those who visit this charming city for the first time are prone to making common mistakes that might put a damper on the entire trip. To prevent your visit to London from turning into a disaster or at least to make it more enjoyable, make sure you become aware of these mistakes, so you don’t commit them yourself.
1. Underestimating Trip Costs
Belonging to the most expensive cities in the world, London can devour your travel budget if you’re not careful enough. You can expect your average daily spending to be around £145, but you should also be prepared for some unplanned expenses.
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2. Not Seeing the Panoramic Views of London
Enjoying the views from up above is something you should definitely have on your London bucket list.
Each year, over 3 million tourists flock to get on the London Eye for this purpose as this is the world’s largest observation wheel. However, many Londoners think this attraction is a bit overrated and might not be worth the £36 you pay for it. After all, you can visit the Sky Garden or Greenwich Park without the annoying queues, and the views won’t cost you anything. Alternatively, you can soak up breathtaking views from The Shard or while sipping coffee and exploring traditional Brit cuisine at Duck and Waffle, the highest 24-hour restaurant in the city. The choice is yours.
3. Staying Close to the Centre
The main attractions of London, such as Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, are in the central part, but many other big attractions are spread out. You will find some places worth a gander no matter which part of London you are staying at.
Once you quench your thirst for hot spots, you might want to get an authentic taste of the neighbourhood’s charm to make your visit to London even more memorable. Why not take the rush out of your trip by wandering around Notting Hill, South Kensington, Bloomsbury, or Chelsea? Need to go further out, then consider Nannybag suitcase locker storage to store your luggage.
4. Hiring a Taxi
Don’t think that taking a taxi in London will be faster than using the tube. In 2021, the UK’s capital was ranked number one in the world’s most congested cities, with an average of 148 hrs lost in jams.
The traffic can be bad even in the middle of the night, so hopping on the underground train would be a safe bet to get where you want without any delays. Also, when you find out how much it costs to take a taxi in London, you’ll become adamant about using other means of transportation to get to where you want.
5. Not Using the Bus
If you’re not rushing, take the bus instead of the tube. Not only is this cheaper, but it will also let you see the city. Besides, London is proud to have one of the best bus networks in Europe. However, don’t expect to pay for the bus with cash as nobody does this anymore. Londoners use a contactless card called an Oyster card to pay their fare. A single journey costs £1.65 regardless of the distance.
6. Wearing Wellies
Some tourists seriously think they will need their wellingtons when travelling to London. They found out soon enough that it’s a bad idea. Rain boots are simply unsuitable for walking long distances and make you feel miserable in an hour or two. Unless you’re going to cross bogs in the countryside, consider wearing lightweight waterproof shoes instead of wellies.
7. Riding the Tube the Wrong Way
Curiously, some of the most typical mistakes made by tourists in London are related to the tube.
- It makes no sense to buy single tickets if you’re planning to stay in London for a few days or more. It’s just too expensive. Instead, you’re highly recommended to buy an Oyster card at any tube station and top up if there is a need for more. It will allow you to score the lowest rate.
- Don’t use the tube too often, especially in the centre where the stops are close. It might be far more enjoyable and faster to go on foot.
- Make sure you stick to the right side when standing on the escalator to make clear the left side for people who wish to use it as a staircase. Think of it as a requirement rather than a simple suggestion.
- Stay away from the middle of the tube. As a rule, the ends of the tube are much less crowded.
- Download the Tube Map app on your mobile device to find out where you are and how to plan your route accurately.
8. Choosing the Wrong Places to Eat At
Many tourists, who claim that British cuisine leaves much to be desired, apparently visited the wrong places. Every city has restaurants with dreadful food, and London is no exception. Do your research while planning your trip, relying on unbiased reviews from locals on food blogs. Avoid large fast food chains and pay attention to rare gems that only a few regular customers know about. Sadly, not all secret eateries have survived the Covid-19 period, but many still exist. Some are hidden behind secret doors, others in a basement with no signs. It might be challenging to find them, but your quest will be a part of the adventure you’ll most likely enjoy.
9. Endless Waiting in Queues
Don’t forget that you can avoid a great deal of frustration during your trip with pre-purchased tickets and passes to most tourist attractions. Book everything online beforehand, and you won’t have to spend hours of your time in never-ending queues.
10. Ignoring the Free Activities
One might erroneously think that only expensive things are worth your undivided attention. In fact, there are myriads of fabulous places you can visit free of charge, including the city’s markets, the promenade along the Thames, public parks, the British Museum, etc. Don’t overlook these spots when planning your itinerary.
Harrison has been a freelance financial reporter for the past 6 years. He knows the major trends in the financial world. Jones’s experience and useful tips help people manage their budgets wisely.