Traveling to London for the First Time
So I just traveled to London for the first time. It was actually my first International flight and first time using my passport (woooo)!
Considering the differences in money, timezones, and culture I took a lot of notes to share with you.
Part One: Preparing & Planning
Everything You Should Do Before Traveling To London
1. Calculate timezone differences and start adjusting your sleep schedule accordingly.
We did this to minimize jet lag and make the most of our trip. For example, there is a 5 hour difference between Louisville, KY and London, so we did the following over the course of 6 days:
Thursday May 24 - we went to bed at 11pm
Friday May 25 - we woke up at 6:45am, we went to bed at 11pm
Saturday May 26 - woke up at 6:30am, Went to bed at 10:30
Sunday May 27 - Woke up at 6am, went to bed at 10pm
Monday May 28 - woke up at 4:45am, went to bed at 6pm
Tuesday May 29 - woke up at 3:30am, left for the airport around 1pm, flew from Lou -> Phil 3:25pm, Phil -> Heathrow 7:30pm-7:30am (7.5 hr flight)
We arrived in London on May 30 at 7:30am *which is 2:30am EST
It still took a day or two to feel completely normal but I do think the timeshiftimg helped a lot!
I downloaded the Chronoshift app to calculate everything. Basically, you enter your current wake up time (7:45am) and bed time (11pm), orgin city, destination city and it will tell you when to start limiting light exposure, go to bed, and wake up. *We clearly didn't do the shift to a T, but hey...what do you expect for me? ;)
2. Buy Necessary Travel Supplies
Universal adaptor for plugging in devices
Rain jacket (although I didn't need it after all)
Snacks for the plane (nuts, larabars, epic bars - just make sure you eat all of your snacks before customs. They don't want you bringing meat into the UK, LOL)
Green pill supplements
Headphone splitter for joint movie watching <3
3. Make sure you check off everything on your "International Travel" To-do List, like:
Notify bank(s) that you're traveling Internationally
Add International plan to cell phone
4. Get familiar with the Tube system if you will be using public transit
The Tube System is very efficient, cost effective, and clean (much much cleaner than NYC). I say use it and explore the city underground : ) We got 7-day travel Oyster Cards, but please note that you can't always use your Oyster card to go on long distance trips. Oyster card = "metro card" We took the train down to Brighton (about 1 hour) and got dinged for trying to travel on our Oysters. Apparently that trip requires additional train tickets. Overall, do you research. If you don't know, but ask someone at a Tube station. The workers are very nice and helpful : )
Part Two: Food & Parks
Where to eat and go in London
We are officially calling this part, "How to lose 800 Pounds in 7 day" (although once we returned we spent much more than we planned, LOL. I guess you can say we "lost" a lot of pounds on the trip, haha!)
Restaurants we went to:
Dishoom (Curry - SO GOOD! We went twice)
The Spaniard's Inn (super old Pub! It's kind of hard to get to...)
The Holy Bush (Pub)
Sunoso (in Brighton)
Feldos - for lunch (kind of expensive for what it is)
The Market Inn (Pub in Brighton)
Chinese in Brighton
Roots Juicery (avocado toast, kombucha)
Palms of Goa (Curry - apparently I ordered the hottest thing on the menu, lol!!)
Black Lion (Pub)
Coffee Shops *Note: if you just order "coffee" they are going to ask you what kind: espresso, cortado, cappuccino, americano. We rarely saw standard drip coffee like you do in the US.
Over Under Coffee (really cool, hip spot! + delicious espresso and avocado toast)
Plant Shop (a coffee shop that also sold plants in Brighton)
Joe & The Juice
Hampstead Heath - this park is GORGEOUS and huge. There are gardens, random mansions, bathing ponds (LOL!), a zoo, woods, and who knows what else.
Sights & Touristy Stuff
Westminster Abbey - do it! It's so old and holds tons of history. There really aren't words to describe its beauty. P.s. you can't take pictures inside.
Royal Pavilion (in Brighton)
River Thames, view of London Eye, Big Ben, etc.
Part Three: Local Lingo
English Words & Phrases to know when traveling to London
Lift = elevator / escalator
Biscuit = cookie
ind the Gap -> literally means there's a gap between the Tube and concrete platform
Sunlounger = sun chair
Everyone says sorry - just because
Give way = yield
Way out / up = exit
Loo, lavatory, WC, toilet = bathroom
You'll hear "Very good" a lot
Ice lollies = popsicles
Pavement = side walk (which makes no sense to me. The road is just the road)
Telephone box (not booth)
Household rubbish bin (not trash can)
Take away = take out (at a restaurant / coffee shop) - You'll be asked "for here or take away?"
Fire brigade station
Royal mail is their version of USPS and their little red trucks are so cute
Push chair = stroller
Humps = speed bumps
Sodie pops = soda pop (LOL)
Sprogs = children
Car park = parking garage
Garage = mechanic
Tits on the table = like..... be honest, LOL!
Pants = Men's boxers
Trousers = Men's pants
Trainers = tennis shoes
Fanny = vagina (You will be looked at funny if you say Fannypack! bumbag = fannypack)
Girlmates = girlfriends, duh! how cute?
Twat = idiot
Ready, steady, go! As opposed to Ready set go ;)
Bank notes = cash
A good knees up = a good time
What’s on = whats showing / happening
Tipples = small cocktails LOL like sipping a small glass of sherry (Bigger than a shot, smaller than a cocktail)
Kneck it = To take a shot / take it back quickly (kind of like "Chug it!" over here)
Queuing = standing in line
Let = rent
Sun cream = sun screen
Crossing (also sometimes called a pelican crossing) = crosswalk
Buck’s Fizz = mimosa
Propping = to literally lean against the outside of the pub or bar and drink your pint with your mates
Scale of Drunkness
Squiffy = more than tipsy less than drunk
Wankered / twated
Other random things we didn't know:
If you are an avid Handmaids Tale viewer, via Hulu, take note that Hulu does not work in London. It's a US-only service. Who knew?
Air Conditioning is not common (locals say Air Con). Some places may feel stuffy on a warm day.
People just lay out in their bikinis at the park
Proper English beer (pint) = room temp and kind of flat
TJ Maxx is called TK Maxx over there
Cigarette packs say QUIT NOW on them, which is pretty cool.
I didn't see any window screens in the windows
Baby on board pins for pregnant women taking the tube. This is in hopes that someone might give you their seat if the tube is packed
Apparently there is a congestion charge for driving in London (we didn't drive ourselves though). Uber works there ;)
You have to ask for your check at the restaurant when you're ready to pay
You also have to close your menu so they know you’re ready to order
And... cheese boards are typically ordered and eaten after dessert, not as an appetizer.
Have you been to London before? What are the places you really enjoyed? Did you notice cultural differences like the above? Share in the comments below : )