Thursday, 19 February 2015

Things I Learned from Travelling Part 1 - London Edition

This year has been definitely one of the most exciting, interesting, eye opening  and all in  in all the  best start to the year I could have ever have hoped for. These past months I have traveled to London and Madrid. Which they where only a month apart. Seeing they where so close together it was very easy to compare them with each other.

The London trip was the first one which I went with three of my very good friends. We spent over a year planning the trip which in my opinion is the first mistake we did. While planning is important, so much in advance something is bound to go wrong.

Don't get me wrong it was a lovely trip which I absolutely loved but a lot of things could have been avoided.

For example 

1. Do schedule your time and have a plan, but do not be disappointed if something comes up and plans have to be changed or scheduled. This could be either due to delays from the airport which is very common in the winter months due to bad weather.

Also one of your companions could get sick. Which is very unfortunate as if you don't know how the health system in that particular country works, it gets very worrisome and you are bound to panic.

This was something I was very guilty in doing. Keep in mind that you do not need 5 different types of lipsticks neither do you need 10 outfits for a 4 day trip in which you scheduled in shopping time adding to your clothing load.

3. DO NOT schedule a whole day for shopping
While admittedly Oxford street is a beautiful sight for all shoppers. Only stay for a maximum of 3 hours. Pick out the stores you want to visit and keep it to that. Shopping is very trying and you are bound to get cranky and tired with all the bags your carrying.

A mix of sightseeing and shopping in a day is better. This also gives a spontaneous feeling which everyone loves and keeps spirits high.

4. Do keep in mind the currency difference
While a jacket does seem cheap at 25 pounds its actual value in euro is 33 not 27 or 28 which I was convinced of at that time. Wish I kept that in mind while shopping.

Primark is amazing. There is such a wide variety of stuff to choose from and all of which are so very cheap. Your are bound to regret some of your previous buys if you leave it for last.

6. When buying souvenirs and present for everyone keep in mind how much they weigh. If your torn for a present for your mother go for a nice sweater not a snow globe.

Also keep in mind when buying a jacket that these roughly weigh around .8kg to 1.2 kg. So do try to buy only one or two.

 Remember the weight limit on a plane is not a goal!

7. If your hotel or hostel offers breakfast do take it. Nothing is more annoying when your sight seeing having to remember to pop to Tesco's for a meal to have in the morning, or remembering that you have to buy water.

8. London is a wonderful place if it is a your first time visiting DO  spend at least 5-7 days. You'll feel much better when their's no rush.

9. DO visit the London Eye, Tower Bridge, Madame Tussaud, London Zoo and the Big Ben.

10. Go watch a musical. I highly recommend Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Amazing cast which all gave a magnificent performance.

11. Ask the receptionist for tips.
Their job is to help you and guide you and make your life easier. A special mention is also deserved for the staff of the YHA London Central Hostel which where absolutely a delight to talk too and helped us out in which ever way they can.

12. Be cautious about the London Tube
While it is a lifesaver when you are far from your hostel or if it is night time if you can walk, do walk. You are saving almost 5 pounds per trip and at the same time you are learning the streets and sight seeing at the same time.

13. Keep in mind the London weather
London or England in general is known to have rainy dark weather especially in the winter time. Which a person coming from sunny Malta is quite a shock. It is quite normal for us to have rainy gloomy day but not day after day of not seeing the sun.

That it for my London trip! Stay tuned for Part 2! The Madrid edition.

Ella x

Keywords London, Flights, Tips, Weight Limit, Shopping, Oxford Street, YHA, London Zoo, Big Ben, Luggage, Musical, London Weather, Receptionist, Primark, Packing, Planning

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  1. Haha I love this post as I'm in London often so it's nice to see London from someone else's point of view :)

    Layla xx

  2. Love your London travel review! Such a great guide to go by! I miss London, such a lovely city!

    xo, Suzie Q

  3. I am so jealous you got to go to London! It's definitely at the top of my list of places I want to go. When I finally do plan my trip, I will remember your tips :) sounds like you had fun!