We all make mistakes when travelling; don’t worry, it’s just something that happens. Yet, the more you travel, the better you get at learning from your mistakes and getting it down to a fine art. A good example is how, what and why you pack when travelling overseas – often for a flight. For instance, if you’ve ever travelled to London before, you’ll doubtless have advice to offer on what to pack for the UK capital. And on that subject, here’s ours…
Do choose your clothes carefully
First up is perhaps the most important tip of all – if you’re going to remember any of what follows, be sure it’s this paragraph! Now, of course, you can’t take your full wardrobe away with you and, while much of it may well be suitable and very wearable in the temperate climate and culturally liberal and stylish urban haven that’s London, you’re going to have to choose what represents it at its best, in a slimmed-down, small-scale way. Moreover, you’re well advised to think in terms of layers – the weather can change in the UK capital and the rest of the country in the blink of an eye (and then change back again just as quickly); so you’re going to want to be able to create outfits out of layers of clothing (shirts and sweaters/ cardigans and light jackets/ waterproofs). And don’t – for heaven’s sake – forget to pack a decent umbrella (British: brolly) as well!
Don’t pack more than three pairs of shoes
For a man, packing a trio of shoe types may sound more than adequate; for a woman, though, it may indeed prove a challenge at the packing-at-home stage. Yet, don’t doubt it; it’s unnecessary – it’s really about saving space (see clothes-packing above). So, when talking female shoes then, what on earth should go with for a trip to Blighty? Well, you might want to opt for one pair of ‘dressy’ night-out shoes and then a couple of pairs of über-comfortable footwear for the flight, travelling and walking about the city (expect to do *a lot* of the latter) – that means then either two pairs of loafers or boots, or a pair of each.
Do try to take your smallest suitcase
Now, while your suitcase is going to need to be sizable enough for everything you’re taking to fit in it, bear in mind that you’re also going to have to lug it about with you – through airports, on and off airport-to-mainline-train transfers and/ or Tube trains (to get to your Central London accommodation, such as the Park Grand Lancaster Gate hotel). So pick out, if not your smallest suitcase, a very sensibly-sized one for your London trip; of all the cases you own then, one that you can genuinely imagine lumbering about with you – without totally exhausting or injuring yourself in the process!
Don’t pack what you won’t get through airport security
Although a very tolerant nation in the main, inevitably the UK does enforce restrictions on exactly what you can and can’t bring with you on to its shores. For instance, be aware that specific foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as raw meats and unpackaged foods are all likely to be unceremoniously removed from your luggage should you try to get them through airport security. Similarly, you’re likely to struggle with fluids (bottles of water, certain cosmetics, lotions, perfumes, aftershaves and so on). Be safe not sorry; check with the airline before you travel as to exactly what they will and won’t accept.
Do keep copies of essential documents on you
Finally, rivalling the first tip above in terms of importance (all right, I lied!) is this one. Now, of course, you’ll need your actual passport on you when travelling through customs at an airport, but you’re highly advised too to carry in your luggage secondary copies of that and your birth certificate – basically, for your own security purposes. After all, if you lose your real passport, what are you going to fall back on in the case of a dire emergency when you’re thousands upon thousands of miles away from home?