Here are a number of important things you need to know, before taking public transport in London. If you know them in advance, you’ll be way better off.
First off, No public transportation in London takes cash, so here are a few ways that you can pay for your rides. First up is an Oyster card, get one of these, top it up, re-top it up, when you need to and that’s it.
There is also a daily limit per carrier, above that limit, you pay nothing extra. If you are in London for a week and you want to travel a lot, then it is cheaper to buy a 7-day travel card and load it onto your Oyster
You can get two different Oyster cards: the first is a ‘Visitor’s Oyster Card’ for tourists, but you can only order this in advance and have it delivered at home. The second option is a regular Oyster card, that you can buy in different places in London. For example at the airport (in a vending machine).
You can also use your debit or credit card if it has the contactless feature enabled on it. I usually recommend people to just get an Oyster card, it’s the easiest way and the most reliable. You need to tap in and tap out. When you’re taking a train or the Underground in London, you always have to make sure you tap in at the first station you get on it and tap out at the station, that you leave at, This is because you get charged depending on how much distance that you traveled.
If you’re using an Oyster card and you need to check the balance you have, there are two ways to do it, the first is to use one of the ticket machines in a station, or when you tap out at a barrier, you’ll see the amount of credit that’s left on your card flash up.
Most of the time, you’re going to hit barriers to get into the station and out, so you’ll know that you need to tap in and tap out, but sometimes at night, they leave the barriers open, so make sure you still tap in and tap out, even if that happens.
Rush hour in London has tons of people travelling at the same time, so try not to travel on public transport at those times. if you can avoid these times, you will escape major crowds and traffic. Try to walk, if you can. If you need to avoid walking, when getting around London, the buses are always going to be your best bet. They’re equipped with ramps and wheelchair accessible seating. You’ll also see on every Tube map, that the accessible stations are marked off.
How do you stop a London bus? If you’re waiting at the bus stop and you see your bus coming, put your hand out and it will tell the driver to stop. If you’re already on the bus and you need to get off at the next stop, press the red stop button and it will tell the driver that you want to get off. The Tube runs until midnight from Sunday to Thursday, but select lines and Tube stations are a part of the Night Tube, which means they’re open all night Friday and Saturday.
Be careful if you take black taxis because they can very expensive and the amount you will pay can run up considerably without you noticing. So if you have to travel far or you’re in the middle of the rush hour then I wouldn’t take a taxi. If you do then you will likely see the meter tick up quickly without you being able to do anything about it If you really can’t use public transportation then I recommend Uber.
The peak times of the day when public transportation and the roads get even more crowded are Monday to Friday between 6:30 and 9:30 AM and between 4 and 7 PM.
Uber is an app that lets you can request a car that you pick up where you stand and they often come very quickly. Especially when you are in the center of London, you never have to wait long. It is also very useful if you do not have cash with you because some black taxis do not accept cash, but Uber does. You can also connect the app to your credit card in advance and if you use Uber for the first time you even get a discount.
If you want to see London from a different perspective, then the Thames river by boat is a great way to see the portion of the city alongside the river.
The Exchange Rate
At the time of the making this article, GBP is worth approximately $1.20 to 1,25 to the IS dollar. You will want to make sure to check the exchange rate before traveling.
Cars in the UK drive on the left so make sure to always pay attention to both sides when crossing the road. Cycling in the city center can be dangerous, so is crossing the street, so always pay attention.
London is relatively safe but does take all the usual precautions typical for big cities like avoiding less touristy areas, especially at night. London is unfortunately also full of pickpockets so hide your wallet, passport, and other valuables somewhere safe and pay attention to your bags, especially in crowded areas like in front of major attractions or when using the underground. There are a lot of scams, targeted mostly at tourists, so make sure you always buy your tickets at the official ticket office and not on the streets. For emergency services, dial 999.
London is known for its unpredictable weather. In general, the climate is mild year-round, but just remember to pack a lightweight raincoat to keep in your daypack. The hottest month of the year is usually August when the peak temperature can reach 90 F while the average temperature in August is about 70 F.
The coldest month is usually January when temperatures can sink to around 33 F. Don’t forget to check the weather forecast before traveling. You can expect rain in London in practically any season so don’t forget to pack an umbrella. However, the wettest month is October.
Best Times To Travel To London
High season in London is between May and September and in December. Low season is January and February and shoulder season is between mid-September and November and then again in March and April.
Best time to travel to London is in the spring (April to June) and fall (September to November). when it’s usually warm and dry. Not only will you be able to avoid the big crowds, but the accommodation and entertainment rates are less expensive compared to the high season. To avoid big crowds and higher prices you can also travel during the week.
Tips For Where To Stay During Your Visit
The average hotel room rate in London is around 150 GBP per night. Of course, it depends on what kind of accommodation you want, as well as on the location of your stay. You can get accommodation below $100 per night, but that probably means you’ll be located further away from the city center and you’ll need more time to reach the attractions.
London is a big city, we recommend that you book your accommodation close to the underground so you can easily access all areas of the city. If you want to book a room close to where the action is, some of the best areas to stay are, Oxford Street if you like shopping, The City if you like skyscrapers, and Covent Garden if you want to be located close to London theatre district and nice restaurants and cafes.
You will probably need special UK power adaptor to charge your phone and other devices. We recommend purchasing a power adaptor before traveling to London. In fact, it is worth buying the adaptor for the entire world so you can use it in other countries too.
The London Pass
A London Pass is a great option if you want to see many attractions and want to save money, don’t want to deal with buying tickets all the time, want to skip the line, if you’re traveling as a family, etc. For example, one-day London Pass costs 69 GBP. Check the internet to see how much it costs for different durations, and what you can see with a London Pass, and for the link to purchase one. You can even download the pass to your smartphone.
By the way, museums are free! Most of the important and interesting London museums, such as the Natural History Museum or The British Museum are free of charge.
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