What to Pack for London, England?

Packing for a trip to London can be a challenge. Our number one bit of advice is not to over pack. We know that this is easier said than done (From experience, we understand your pain). When filling your suitcase, remember that you'll want plenty of room to bring back souvenirs for family and friends.

Aim to fit all your belongings in a carry-on (e.g., 24 inch wheeled suitcase). You can zoom through customs when you land, and can easily take public transportation into the city.

Even with the new security restrictions enacted, we always travel with a carry-on to London and avoid the potential for "lost luggage" due to the overload carriers are experiencing with checked luggage.  

Here are several essentials that you should make sure you have along

1. Travel Kit for the Flight - Since many flights to London are overnight, you will likely be arriving in the morning. Your goal for the transatlantic flight is debark in London having gotten some sleep and ready for the day. To help you relax, pack a travel kit - similar to the complimentary bags that passengers receive in first/business class. Fill a small bag with an eye mask, earplugs, sweat socks, and instant toothbrushes such as Oral B Brush Ups.

Since the August 2006 restrictions forbidding liquids on flights, airlines have increased the amount of bottled water on overseas flights.  So drink liberally to avoid the dreaded dehydration headache upon landing.

2. Travel Umbrella – London is known for it’s unpredictable (yes, rainy) weather.  A short, afternoon shower is not uncommon.  Pack a small, lightweight umbrella in case of quick showers.  If you are at all concerned about your hair in the rain, make sure you include hair accessories or a hat.  A beret, newsboy, or skull cap are good options.

3. European Adapter - To recharge your cell phone, digital camera and other electronic devices, pack a universal adapter.

4. A Detailed Street Map – This is a city where the “tourista general” map will only lead to headaches. London is a maze of little courts, terraces, and places that barely appear on even the good maps.  So you’ll need a great one. We recommend The London Map Guide by Michael Middleditch (Penguin Books). (Available at Amazon.com)

5. Books/Music - Bring a good book or an i-Pod with tunes to entertain you during downtime in the hotel (hopefully, not when you're awake in the middle of the night with jet lag).

6. Walking Shoes - Leave any shoes that you can't comfortably walk, on uneven pavement, for a few miles at home. London’s streets will be a challenge for your feet.  But some of the neighborhoods are so attractive that even couch potatoes will want to stroll through them. Don't let your choice of shoes slow you down.

7. Extra Bag / Suitcase - Avoid the stress of wondering how you're going to get all your treasures back to the States by tossing an extra foldable carry-on bag or checkable duffel suitcase inside your luggage. Don't think of shipping - we've priced it. UPS to the States costs a small fortune.

8. Stain Remover/Woolite - Toss in a Tide Stain Removal Pen to fix any "OOPS" on your clothing – they instantly remove red wine and food stains. Also, pour some Woolite in a small bottle to bring along in case you need to freshen up any hand washable items. And finally, try Shout Wipes to treat stains before they set.

9. Cell Phone - Bring your cell phone for ease of making/receiving international calls.

10. Copies of Important Information - Bring copies of your airline itinerary, passport information, and credit card account numbers and leave them on your hotel safe so if something happens, you will save hours of headaches. For some additional ideas of how to store this type of information, read our Checklist of Things to Do Before You Leave Home.

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