Travel tips and advices comes from the travellers experiencing problems during travel. They share and we learn from them for our smooth travel. Helpful Tips
Travel Tips for a Smart Traveller. Be a smart Londoner for a few days. Worth reading
Travel Tips or advices: Specially for London Travellers
01. On leaving the aircraft, follow the signs for arrivals and pass through passport control, baggage reclaim and customs.
02. Even though Britain is an English-speaking country, things can be different from home. At first time you may find their English a bit not-understandable as they speak usually so fast. Don’t feel hesitate to ask them again. English is spoken everywhere and non-speakers can have a difficult time.
03. There are two queues at passport control – one for European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), British and Swiss nationals, and a second for all other nationalities. At the passport desk a Border Force officer will ask to see your passport or travel document and any supporting documentation necessary for your visit. With tougher checks now in place at the border, you may have to wait a little longer to get into the United Kingdom, especially at peak times.
04. E-passport gates – arrivals made easy- Automated e-passport gates offer an alternative to conventional passport checks. Simply scan your e-passport at the barrier. The system runs a face-recognition check against the chip in your passport, then if you’re eligible to enter the UK the gate opens automatically – all in a matter of seconds. You need to be over 18 and have an e-passport (look for the ‘chip’ logo on the front) issued by a country in the European Economic Area* or Switzerland.
05. Baggage reclaim– After passport control, follow the arrivals signs to the baggage reclaim area. Look for your flight on the information screens and wait for confirmation that your baggage is ready. When it is, the carousel number will be displayed. Free baggage trolleys are provided for your use and plenty will be available in the reclaim hall.
06. If your journey started in a European Union country (your hold baggage will have a green-edged tag) and you have nothing to declare, use the blue exit. If you have goods to declare, you should go to the red Customs point.
07. Arriving from outside the EU- If your journey began in a country outside the European Union (your hold luggage will have a white tag), use the red point if you have goods to declare or the green exit if you don’t.
08. Never bring prohibited goods into the UK. If in doubt ask at the Customs enquiry point. If you are unsure about your duty/tax-free entitlement, go to the Customs enquiry point.
09. All airports have official airport meeting points marked with signs. You will find somebody who come here to greet you.
10. It’s okay if somebody come to Airport to greet you. If not, take service from authorised airport’s UK car rental for travelling to your destination places in London. The best way to do taxi/Cab booking online or Tour operator in advance before leaving home. It will be a cheap. They will come to Airport according to your flight schedule.
11. Buy Oyster Card from Underground Ticket Office or Ticket Machine if you want to use public transport. You can recharge the oyster card here. You also use your Debit or Credit Visa or Master card directly if it supports. So you do not need to buy Oyster Card or Ticket separately. Check TFL Journey Planner website to understand how to go to your place
12. Journey time to/from central London is 45 minutes to 1.30hrs depending on your London Airports. Buses, trains, and the underground run from the major airports to the centre of London.
13. All UK airports around London and the South-East of England have excellent public transport connections in to central London. Bus, underground and train services connect the three major airports of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.
14. Here climate is changeable and it’s always a good idea to be prepared for rain. You need to check weather always before leaving Home/Hotel/Hostels etc.
15. Make a hotel booking if you don’t do yet with Hotel reservation desk (BHRC) at Airport. BHRC also offers tickets for West End shows, SIM cards, mobile phone hire and London sightseeing tours. You can also purchase a Visitor Oyster Card. But remember you will get cheaper accommodation option with better facility if you book in advance. Tour Operator can manage the whole things nicely
16. Talk to your airline straight away. Airlines are responsible for your missing bags all the way from check-in to collection at baggage reclaim.
17. If you don’t have British Pounds/Notes, you can take service from Bureaux de change in arrivals. Before you leave home, get some change in British currency so you won’t have to hunt up a bank/exchange bureaus as soon as you arrive. Exchange bureaus generally offer better exchange rates than banks. Pounds are the legal tender in Britain. Some stores and pubs don’t accept £50 notes because of their rarity and the risk of forgery. You may hear the slang word “quid” used to mean pounds.
18. Shops in UK towns and cities generally open six or seven days a week. Monday to Saturday from 09:00 to 17:30 is normal, and many shops trade on Sundays, typically from 10:00 to 16:00. Many, but not all, close on public holidays. Banking hours are usually from 09.30 to 15.30, Monday to Friday, but some branches open until 17:30 and on Saturday mornings. Most banks have cash dispensers (ATMs).
19. Britain uses Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Daylight saving time (British Summer Time or BST) operates from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October, and is one hour ahead of GMT. You can use an internet world clock to know Time at back home- Time and Date website to compare the time in cities around the world.
20. Distance is measured in miles (1.6km), made up of 1,760 yards (1.9m). From northern tip to southern, the British mainland measures just over 683 miles (1,100km). By car, the distance would be 835 miles and take about 16 hours, according to the AA.
21. Measurements and sizes- Since the 1970s Britain has been gradually moving from imperial to metric measurements, but in practice both systems are used. Packaged food is often marked with both metric and imperial weights. Petrol and bottled water are sold by the litre whilst milk and beer come in pints. Clothing and shoe sizes differ from those used in the USA and Continental Europe. There are plenty of charts and converters available online.
22. In London, ride the buses or walk to see the city. Use the underground for quick transportation, avoid it at rush hour if possible.
23. Stand on the right side on tube escalators; walk on the left.
24. You will have to pay to park almost everywhere in central London, either at on-street meters or in designated car parks. Charges and rules are set by local councils. Before that you must check on Government website that your driving license is acceptable to drive in UK. In the UK, cars drive on the left side of the road. Remember to look to the RIGHT before stepping off a curb.
25. Keep a London A-Z street plan book. You will also see map indicator stand at important place. Online/Local bookstores/Local Library/Tourist Information Centre/ W. H. Smith or any stationery stores are a rich source for any map.
26. B&B’s serve traditional English breakfasts of fried eggs, sausages, bread, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Many also have a light buffet style breakfast-cereals, yoghurts and such.
27. Pub grub is quick, reasonable, and accessible, though not necessarily good. Local bakeries and deli’s offer take-away options. In the UK, french-fries (called chips) come with vinegar.
28. Tipping in UK is not compulsory. It depends completely on you. As a thumb rule, tip 10% to 12% in cafes and restaurants (unless a service charge is included in your bill), and for taxi drivers or hairdressers, whilst £1 or £2 is fine for hotel porters or room service staff. Please read our complete Tipping Guide (at the end of the page).
29. Use the local Tourist Information Centres (TIC) for information on attractions in the area, directions, and special events (concerts, ghost walks, historical re-enactments). Some can book a B&B locally or ahead for you.
30. Value Added Tax (VAT) is 20%. Added to sales and services, it is included in prices posted or quoted.
31. Most British banks charge large fees to cash traveler’s checks; it’s best not to use them.Traveller’s checks on Barclay Bank are the easiest to cash as there is a Barclay Bank in most towns; cashing travel checks anywhere except on the bank they are drawn on is prohibitively expensive.
32. A North American cell phones won’t work in Britain unless they are a tri-band (GSM) phone. You may still need to purchase SIM cards. If you bring your mobile phone, check beforehand with your service provider that it can be used in the UK. And remember you will pay to receive calls as well as to make them, so it is worth checking the tariffs. There are no free local calls. Cheaper rates apply between 6.00 pm and 6.00 am. Payphones are widely available and many accept payment by card as well as coins.
33. The UK’s international dialling code is 44. To call abroad from the UK, dial 00 followed by the country code (eg 1 for the USA), then the phone number without the first zero
34. The emergency police/ambulance number in the UK is 999. For emergency calls only, dial 999 (or 112) for the police, fire service, ambulance, coastguard, or mountain rescue – these calls are free.
35. If Fraud If you have been a victim of accommodation fraud or else you can report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or by using their online reporting tool.
36. Go to the popular tourist spots early. You will avoid long line-ups and wait times. Purchase tickets ahead online if possible.
37. Electric voltage is 240v 50Hz AC as opposed to North American 120, so you will need a special plug for the wall. Plugs have three square pins.
38. A Bank Holiday is a three-day weekend. Businesses may be closed. Many special events take place on these busy weekends. Book your accommodation early.
39. July- August – September are the busiest months for tourism in the UK.
40. London has business operated internet connections. Local libraries and some YMCAs have free-of-charge internet service. Many accommodations have Wi-Fi.
41. No special health precautions are necessary, but do purchase health insurance before you leave home.
42. Have your optometrist write out your eyeglass prescription before you travel. Without it you will be required to pay for an eye exam if you need to replace your glasses.
43. Wear sturdy walking shoes. There are cobbled streets, uneven pavements, and worn stone steps to navigate. Always keep an umbrella with you.
44. Laundry facilities are scarce. Take easy-to-wash, quick dry clothing.
45. Always carry lots of change—you will need it for car parks. Lots of the car parks have peel-off tickets that you need to stick on your car window.
46. Carry a role of paper towels for picnics, clean ups , drying and wiping car windows, etc.
47. Carry bottled water for drinking—none is available. Coffee, tea and soft drinks are expensive.
48. Cars seldom stop for pedestrians; cross any street at your own risk. Sometimes there are buttons you can push for the green man to cross a street or highway. Double check before road crossing
59. A “lorry” is a truck, a “boot” is a car trunk, and the “underground” or “tube” is a subway. There’s more than language lingo that first time travellers to Britain need to know. Ask for the “WC” or “toilet”. “Bathroom”, “washroom”, and “restroom” are North American terms.
Source: Compilation of various Websites like Heathrow, Intolondon, Gatwick etc
Travel Tips and advices: before leaving your country
To help your travels go without a hitch, check these essentials. There are some things you need to know and act accordingly. So please be aware of them and make sure you take action where necessary.
01.Check your passport and visas are up-to-date and valid for whole of your Journey
02.Vaccinations and health information – Check with your Airlines. And visit related Government websites. You can also visit the IATA Travel Centre . It is important to check with your doctor 6-8 weeks before travelling for advice about the vaccinations required for the places you’re visiting.
03.Do research on web or buy Guide book to know as much as possible where you are going. and also make a plan how do you enjoy your holiday. For download, visit London Map and Guide
04. Plan your route from home to the airport, ensuring you have all the contact details for the airport, hotel or car park you are staying at and the airline you are flying with.
05. Confirm with your accommodation provider/Hotel everything is fine. Take their contact details and all contact phones. Ask them if they airport Pick & Drop service.
06.Confirm travel arrangement from airport to Hotel/Accommodation Provider.
07.Ensure all bag tags from previous flights are removed from your checked baggage before you travel.
08.Baggage allowances- Baggage allowances vary by class of travel and by route, so check that you carry the correct weight.
09.Label your bags inside and out with your name, destination address, email address and mobile or cell number.
10.Don’t pack valuables in your checked baggage. Carry medication, money and important documents in your hand baggage. Put all tickets, visas, foreign exchange and passports safely in a travel belt or bag, and keep these documents with you at all times.
11.Scan and upload to online cloud storage your passport copy, driving license, Travel documents Insurance Policies etc. for any emergencies
12.Finance Related Matters– Calculate your travel budget. Check exchange rate and order foreign currency. You can buy currency at the airport. Buy travel and medical insurance. Apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), if applicable. Take your insurance details. Take proof of insurance coverage. Take your debit card and credit card and check with your banks for its usability in London. Keep the credit card with you used for bookings. Take our lost/stolen cards emergency number. Remember your Personal Internet Banking details, Take your national insurance number, Keep your purchase receipts, Claim back tax from purchases, Change your currency back
13. Leave your house keys and contact details abroad with a trusted friend or relative.
14. If you have a house alarm, ensure a trusted neighbour has the details or the alarm company if necessary for flight delays.
15. Check all electrical appliances are switched off and unplugged.
16. In winter, turn the water off at the mains to prevent the pipes from freezing.
17. Securely lock all windows and doors
18.Check-in online for your flight. You can do this using online check-in from 24 hours before your flight’s scheduled departure time and choose your seat early. Alternatively, you can use an airport check-in kiosk which takes just a few minutes. It varies airlines to airlines
19.Airport Security– You must go through airport security and be at the departure gate at least 20 minutes before your flight’s scheduled departure time.
-Printed Copy of Airline Ticket/E-Ticket
-Keep your boarding pass and ID within easy reach to show to security staff. Wear shoes that can be taken off easily as you may be asked to remove them for screening.
-Remove all metal objects before going through the metal detectors.
-You may need to remove your laptop from its travel case so that both can be x-rayed separately.
-Do not take sharp objects in your hand baggage that will be confiscated at security.
-Cigarette lighters are not permitted in hand baggage or about your person when travelling to/from/via the USA and specific Caribbean countries, i.e. Barbados and Jamaica.
20.Disabilities and special assistance- let the airline staff know before you travel
21.UK Government advice about travel – Travel Advices from UK Government