Common Travel Mistakes to Avoid While on the Trip to London
Travelling to a fantastic city like London is a once in a lifetime experience. Between the culture, history, shopping, food and drink there’s simply far too much to explore during even a longer stay, and that’s why it’s vital that you plan your trip carefully and avoid making the kind of mistakes that can ruin your time in London. The first and most important choice you can make is that of where to stay while you’re in London, and London Backpackers Hostel offers the ideal solution. Clean and secure room to stay, access to laundry and cooking facilities, shared social areas and free Wi-Fi are just a few of the many facilities we offer. Our location in the heart of London makes it easy to explore everything the city has to offer, and booking via our website couldn’t be easier.
Free tourist guide and friendly members of staff on hand to help you decide what to do with your time in London mean that you’re likely to enjoy a fantastic stay packed with memorable adventures. Still to be certain, however, here are a few of the more common travellers mistakes that we’d like our guests to avoid:
Using Taxis Too Often
London is a very big city and getting from place to place can seem like a daunting thing to plan and execute. All too often the answer tourists opt for is to simply flag one of the iconic London Hackney taxis. There are two reasons why doing this too often would be a mistake. The first is that a black cab is probably the most expensive form of transport per mile that you could use. The second is that the centre of London, in particular, is almost always packed with traffic. Combine the cost of travel with the time taken to get from A to B and too many taxis could leave you short of both time and money. Take the time to familiarise yourself with the Underground system instead, once you’ve got the grips with the London Tube map, as it is pretty simple to navigate.
Standing On the Wrong Side of the Escalator
Speaking of the London Underground – when you’re taking the escalator down to your station, or back up to street level, make sure you stand on the right hand side. If you don’t, you’ll find irate locals in a rush to catch their train barging into you as they race down the steps. The left of the escalator is for walking, the right for simply standing and riding.
Sticking to the Centre
There are so many world famous tourist attractions in the central district of London that it can be tempting to stay there during your visit, but it would be a mistake. Although areas like Westminster, Oxford Street and Piccadilly Circus are packed with things to see and do, they’re also packed with tourists. However, with the London Underground, you’re still never more than a few stops away from fascinating areas such as Shoreditch, Camden and Battersea. Take the time to explore a little further and you’ll find fascinating slices of London life with far more depth than the usual tourist clichés.
Paying for Individual Tube Trips
Once you’ve got to grips with it, the London underground will become an indispensible part of your trip to London. The city is a huge place, and the Tube is the best means of getting around quickly and cheaply. It won’t be quite so cheap, however, if you pay for every individual trip as you take it. The more economical option is to purchase an Oyster Card, which can be capped at a certain price for every day, allowing you to control exactly how much you spend on Tube travel. It also means you can just swipe in and out of each station without having to queue for tickets.
Paying to Enjoy the View
Many visitors to London want to take advantage of the city’s panoramic views, taking a stunning selfie with that iconic skyline as a backdrop. All too often the method they opt for is to pay more than £20 for a trip up to the viewing platform at the top of The Shard. What they might not realise is that they can enjoy equally wonderful views from the Sky Garden, which is located at Fenchurch Street and is actually free to visit – although slots do have to be booked in advance. For an alternative that combines great views with fresh air and sunlight, take a quick hike up Primrose Hill or to the top of Greenwich Park, both spots offer fantastic views of the city.
Missing Out on Freebies
When you’re busy booking tickets for attractions, or paying to get in, it can be easy to forget that some of the best attractions in London are actually free to enter. World class museums and galleries that you can simply stroll into include The British Museum, The Science Museum, The Victoria and Albert Museum, the Tate Modern and the National Gallery. Each of these is worth more than a full day of your time in their own right, and that list is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to free London attractions.
Red Phone Boxes
The red London phone box is an iconic piece of street furniture which has cropped up in innumerable films, next to the British ‘Bobby’ and double decker buses. It’s only natural, therefore, that you might be tempted to snap a selfie of yourself inside one of the boxes. This will probably be something you regret, however, as the sad truth is that many London boxes, in the age of the mobile phone, tend to be used mainly as impromptu urinals by people on the way home from a night out.