My wife, son, and I had the opportunity to spend 10 weeks in London, from early January to mid-March. It was an experience of a lifetime, and I thought it might be helpful to share some of the things that made it such a wonderful trip.
So without further ado:
- have a good pair of walking shoes; it is the perfect town to walk, walk, walk. I loved the Brooks sneakers I bought from the Bryn Mawr Running Company
- have a good raincoat/windbreaker; I bought an Amazon Essentials jacket that was perfect
- have a good backpack – mine came in handy for grocery shopping and weekend trips away. I bought a Solo New York backpack that was perfect.
- buy an Oyster card for use on the transit system
- buy a local sim card for your phone; we went with EE, and it was great all over Europe; along with this, set up a whatsapp account which was useful for communicating with people both locally and back home
- find a U.S. bank that does not charge for foreign transactions. I was completely unaware of this, but fortunately a colleague mentioned this to me before we left, and we found out that our bank would have charged 3% every time we used our bank card card outside the U.S. We opened an account at TD Bank, which does not charge for foreign transactions; this saved us a few hundred dollars.
- enjoy all that London has to offer; the museums, the markets, the pubs, the plays, the street performers, the shops, and the people! (for some things, such as the ceremony of the keys and some plays, advance planning is recommended)
There’s still a lot more for us to explore in and around London, so hopefully we get the chance to visit again, now that we’ve learned a few things.