Author Topic: Help me pack for London!  (Read 1100 times)

Philociraptor

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Help me pack for London!
« on: July 08, 2019, 05:54:21 PM »
Good evening comrades!

The wife and I will be taking a 10-day trip to the UK November 10-20 of this year. The plan is to spend about 5 nights at an AirBnB in London, take the train and do a couple nights around Edinburgh, then hop a puddle jumper for a couple nights in Dublin before returning to London to fly home. Living in Texas most of my life, I imagine it will be quite a bit cooler and rainier than I'm used to. We're thinking we can do laundry the last night in London, so realistically we need to pack for about 6 days each. Not planning on renting a car, so we'll be transiting everywhere. Right now my wardrobe consists entirely of graphics tees, jeans, and athletic shoes. What type of clothes will I need to get (material, brand, or otherwise) to make sure I'll be comfortable no matter what comes?

(Any recommendations for places to check out in those areas are welcome of course)

Peachtea

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2019, 08:09:27 PM »
I wouldn’t over think packing other than reading some travel articles about packing light to reinforce the concept of not packing for all the what ifs. You can always “buy” your way out of unexpected needs, although this has yet to happen to me for clothing. Especially when using transit it’s such a relief to have light bags and for a 10 day you should be able each only take a backpack. Then you don’t have to worry about lost bags on way there as you’ll bring them as carry ons. (We do backpacks for longer trips than that.) You don’t even need to do laundry other than hand wash some undergarments. Just pack 4-5 outfits and wear each 2-3 times without washing... In November you’ll probably be wearing jackets and most your photos will be of you in a jacket not able to see the underlying outfits anyhow.

The secret to wet climates is wool or synthetic materials (polyester etc) as they dry faster. Also wet clothes dry faster out in your room, not in the bathroom. The secret to cold climates is layers. Polar vortex, -40 weather, in Chicago and a base layer, thin sweater, fleece jacket, and windbreaker was fine walking around downtown. I don’t even have a “real” winter coat or snow boots...I just wear either sneakers or my ankle or knee boots (neither of which are special for winter or snow). My husband when it snows will wear these low hiking boots, otherwise just wears his loafers or sneakers.

So I would bring for London in November: fleece zip-up, water resistant windbreaker, long underwear top and bottom (aka a base layer) in wool or synthetic materials, 1 pair synthetic pants, 1 pair jeans (or a couple fleece leggings if wearing dresses/skirts instead of pants), a couple thin long sleeve shirts or sweaters, a couple T-shirts, 3-5 pairs of underwear and socks (preferably not cotton), a hat or headband, scarf, wool gloves, and an extra pair of athletic shoes (to wear if first pair gets wet while they dry out) or if you have them a pair of boots (low hiking boots, women’s ankle boots or knee boots, not anything specific). Wear your heaviest clothes on the plane and in transit, like the jeans and boots if relevant, and pack the lighter synthetic pants/shoes. Pick shirts you already have for least weight and bulkiness. For the things you don’t have, I would worry more about material and weight than brand. It’s one 10 day trip and even very crappy clothes should hold up for several years of once a year 10 day trips to cooler climates.

ObviouslyNotAGolfer

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2019, 10:05:07 PM »
CAREFUL!!! Both Dublin and London are pickpocket central. These thieves can rob you blind in a picosecond. You will feel nothing, hear nothing, see nothing. Be on the alert, especially in touristy areas. Carry only a little cash and one credit card in a body safe or money belt, while out for the day. Leave other cash and cards in the hotel safe or secured in your room. Carry NOTHING you don't mind parting with in your pockets or in a backpack! (I Paris recently, I only had a map and notebook in a front pocket) Do not flash valuables, cameras, jewelry. Pickpockets can slash your backpack and steal the contents in:
 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001 seconds

Perpetrators are often minors, who cannot be prosecuted as adults. Also beware of strangers asking you to sign petitions, claiming you dropped a ring or other valuable, or any other member of the human race.

Anywhoo:

In Dublin, the following are must-sees IMO:

National Museum of Archaeology
https://www.museum.ie/Archaeology/Exhibitions/Current-Exhibitions

The Book of Kells exhibit at Trinity College
https://www.tcd.ie/visitors/book-of-kells/

Glendalough, the most beautiful place on earth, accessible by 2hr bus ride:
http://www.glendalough.ie
http://www.glendaloughbus.com

Newgrange, if you have time. Admission is not guaranteed except on certain tours. I highly recommend Mary Gibbons Tours:
https://www.knowth.com/newgrange.htm
https://www.newgrangetours.com

For a great pub with Irish music and dancers, Murray's Bar
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g186605-d1599708-Reviews-Murray_s_Bar-Dublin_County_Dublin.html


Also, in Ireland, as in Germany, things run on time. When the bus is scheduled to leave at 11AM, the doors will be closed and the driver will be flooring the accelerator at 10:59!


« Last Edit: July 08, 2019, 10:11:43 PM by ObviouslyNotAGolfer »

Imma

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2019, 11:53:22 PM »
I always wear hiking socks & shoes on a winter trip because you're going to spend a lot of time outside and as long as my feet are warm, I'll feel warm.

It's not that cold in London in november usually. As long as you've got a good, water resistent coat and shoes and a sweater you'll likely be ok.  If you're from a warmer climate you might like wearing a hat/scarf/gloves but Londoners usually don't wear them yet in fall unless it gets exceptionally cold. If it does get cold you can always go and buy extra warm clothes.

What I would bring is a thermos/reusable coffee cup because nothing is better than a hot drink on a cold day. Also, in the UK public museums are free of charge so when I get cold during a trip I just find the nearest museum and go there for a short visit to warm up again.

I'm sure pickpockets are everywhere but my impression is that they are pretty rare in Dublin. I've always felt completely at ease there. In London this is an issue in super touristy areas but if you avoid these you're probably going to be fine. If you read the tabloids you'd think it is a war zone, but in reality it's nothing like that.

ObviouslyNotAGolfer

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2019, 12:00:52 AM »
Not rare in Dublin at all based on everything I have heard and seen. My wife was a victim in Dublin in 2017, and we even heard of someone being victimized in Ennis, which is not a touristy place at all. 

Also, for London, if you would like a beautiful, picturesque, peaceful neighborhood to stay in, consider Kew. It is about 15 minutes away from central London by tube. If you had a few trillion pounds, you might be able to contemplate making a down payment on a tiny place in that neighborhood. However, I've stayed in BBs there that are quite affordable.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2019, 02:32:42 AM »
For when you are in the city, an umbrella might come in handy. When hiking, a raincoat. Some hiking trousers have a pocket on the inside of your trousers, against the pickpocketing. But I'm not sure how you can easily pay with that.

Manchester

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2019, 03:21:46 AM »
CAREFUL!!! Both Dublin and London are pickpocket central. These thieves can rob you blind in a picosecond. You will feel nothing, hear nothing, see nothing. Be on the alert, especially in touristy areas. Carry only a little cash and one credit card in a body safe or money belt, while out for the day. Leave other cash and cards in the hotel safe or secured in your room. Carry NOTHING you don't mind parting with in your pockets or in a backpack! (I Paris recently, I only had a map and notebook in a front pocket) Do not flash valuables, cameras, jewelry. Pickpockets can slash your backpack and steal the contents in:
 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001 seconds

Perpetrators are often minors, who cannot be prosecuted as adults. Also beware of strangers asking you to sign petitions, claiming you dropped a ring or other valuable, or any other member of the human race.




I'm sorry but this is nonsense.  There are pickpockets, yes, but it's no-where near as common as what you're suggesting.

It's like me saying 'you better wear your bullet proof vest when you next walk to the shop in the US, gun crime is rife there'. 


London, Dublin and Edinburgh are Amazing!  If you have time, visit York as well - There are direct trains from both Edinburgh and London.

UncleX

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2019, 04:29:54 AM »
Another Dutchie here. Been to London and Dublin, also Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Paris, Rome etc. Never felt unsafe, nothing ever happened. I know maybe one or two people who got pickpocketed ever, anywhere in Europe.

Daytime temperature in Dublin and London in November is around 10 degrees Celsius and there will probably be rain. I would bring a coat and maybe an umbrella, that's it.

Public transportation is great in London as well as in Dublin. Best get a card for a few days. If you miss a bus, the next one will be there in maybe 10 minutes max.

keepingfocus

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2019, 04:57:37 AM »
I've managed to live for 47 years in and around London without ever being pickpocketed - keep your wits about you (especially on the Underground which can get *very* crowded at peak times), store your stuff securely about your person and you'll very likely experience no issues. For paying for travel in London as a visitor, see this page for advice: https://tfl.gov.uk/travel-information/visiting-london/visitor-oyster-card.

Inter-city trains can be ridiculously expensive, and last-minute travel is eye-watering, so use trainline.com to keep an eye on prices. Discounted tickets are often available 12 weeks in advance if you can decide on your itinerary, and occasionally you can find first class tickets for almost the same cost as standard class (like £1 - £5 difference), and in first class you have tea, coffee, bottled water, sandwiches and cake available at no extra cost, so if you're savvy it can work out really well.

It may be chilly, it may rain, but it won't be freezing. Don't overthink the clothing - layers, something waterproof, comfortable footwear.

reeshau

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2019, 05:18:56 AM »
#1: a water-resistant coat.  I have a small, foldable umbrella but I hardly ever use it; if it's raining hard enough that I want it (more than a drizzle) then it's usually so windy it will just invert anyway, or be a problem.  @Imma 's tip works for Dublin, too:  if it's raining, duck into a museum or into a coffee shop, and by the time you have had a little break, the rain will likely be over.  (for the moment)

I'm not sure I agree with @ObviouslyNotAGolfer 's observation on timeliness in Dublin.  Maybe for tourist buses, but time here among natives is always "-ish."  as in, "I'll see you at 3-ish."  without the "ish," that means 3:15.  With it, maybe 3:30.  Even the airport buses are +/- 15 minutes, and they run every 30!  You definitely want to have the various apps for public transport (Dublin Bus, LUAS, and DART) for accurate times.

That's another point for Dublin:  a rare European capital without a train connection from the airport to the city center.  But there is decent bus service:  as fancy as you want, although the Dublin Bus / public pus routes 747 and 757 are just fine.  The city buses are also double-decker, so get yourself in the front of the top deck, and have a free little tour.  (But do be on your toes for your stop, though--head downstairs beforehand.)

One thing on wardrobe:  washers and driers in Europe are tiny compared to the US.  If you bring jeans, one pair might be the whole load.  And quite likely, you will have a combo washer / dryer, so you can't double up through both machines.  Laundry can take *a  l o n g  t i m e* so quick dry is your friend, even without the weather.  Think in terms of 1/4 your US washer capacity, and 3 hours per load--it's time management as much as weight.  Also, there aren't a lot of laundromats here in Dublin, but there are a lot of drop-off laundry services.  So, if you want to save time, you may also want an identifiable laundry bag to drop off.  (if you do self-serve, there are a number of machines in the open air at gas stations.  Shocking to see, at first glance)  You will definitely not be able to do 6 days' clothes in an evening.  I would rather suggest packing for 3 or 4 days, and doing it incrementally (when you leave for the morning, before going to dinner, or overnight) or splurging on a laundry service to do the work for you.  Finally, if you are sensitive to fragrances, bring your own detergent.  It seems clean = reeks of flowers or fruit here.  Very difficult to find unscented detergent; it's one of the things we bring back in bulk from the US.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2019, 05:26:38 AM by reeshau »

terran

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2019, 05:49:08 AM »
One thing on wardrobe:  washers and driers in Europe are tiny compared to the US.  If you bring jeans, one pair might be the whole load.  And quite likely, you will have a combo washer / dryer, so you can't double up through both machines.  Laundry can take *a  l o n g  t i m e* so quick dry is your friend, even without the weather.  Think in terms of 1/4 your US washer capacity, and 3 hours per load--it's time management as much as weight. 

This could be an incredibly stupid question, but are you telling me all those washers we've always used in European AirBNBs are also dryers? I thought everybody just hung things to dry (usually not too bad since those little things spin clothes pretty dry even so). In all fairness most of the washers we've used aren't in english, so that takes a little figuring out, but it would be nice to know if drying is a likely option we should try to figure out.

Peachtea

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2019, 05:54:07 AM »
To clarify my earlier post re layers and freezing temps, I wasn’t trying to imply that it would be freezing in London in November, just that if those layers work in freezing, snowing weather in Chicago then the layers in that packing list can be combined to keep you warm in London in November regardless of what the temp ends up being. No need to go buy a fancy heavy duty winter jacket and boots.

Although I would recommend the base layers which you can pick up pretty cheap at any department store (online if necessary) and don’t take up much room in bags, because you might want to dress warmer than the locals as someone coming from a much warmer climate. Everyone’s different but my friend from Texas dresses extra warm to be comfortable when going somewhere cold for a short time, like Kansas City, even though when she lived in Boston she had acclimated enough to dress the same as everyone else to be warm in the cold. It’s the short periods that throw her for a loop. Base layers and any other cold gear you’re thinking of buying could wait until a couple weeks before the trip so you can see what the temps are looking like.

For pickpocketers...I take the same precautions abroad as I do here and that’s it. But I do think folks in US car centric cities don’t even realize what those precautions are sometimes for walking around a city. Keep you wallet in front pockets or interior coat pockets, use cross body purses instead of shoulder ones, and keep valuables in small interior pockets or at bottom of daypacks rather than front and center of the main compartment. Get a foreign transaction/atm fee free debit and credit card so you don’t have carry gobs of cash with you. (Instead of pulling out $500 at a time to avoid multiple atm fees.)

reeshau

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2019, 06:10:57 AM »
One thing on wardrobe:  washers and driers in Europe are tiny compared to the US.  If you bring jeans, one pair might be the whole load.  And quite likely, you will have a combo washer / dryer, so you can't double up through both machines.  Laundry can take *a  l o n g  t i m e* so quick dry is your friend, even without the weather.  Think in terms of 1/4 your US washer capacity, and 3 hours per load--it's time management as much as weight. 

This could be an incredibly stupid question, but are you telling me all those washers we've always used in European AirBNBs are also dryers? I thought everybody just hung things to dry (usually not too bad since those little things spin clothes pretty dry even so). In all fairness most of the washers we've used aren't in english, so that takes a little figuring out, but it would be nice to know if drying is a likely option we should try to figure out.

Not a stupid question: the minimum you have to provide a renter in Dublin (i.e. on a lease) is a washer plus a drying line.  But the little units under kitchen counters or tucked into a bathroom are often both.  Not that that means they are *good* at both, but there you are.  (often, the drying capacity is less than the washing capacity, thus my comment on one pair of jeans)

As an example:
https://www.expert.ie/products/home-appliances/laundry/washer-dryer
« Last Edit: July 09, 2019, 06:13:49 AM by reeshau »

former player

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2019, 07:15:02 AM »
You are going to be in three cities, so wear what you would wear to be comfortable in a city in the daytime.  Except that you will be doing a lot of walking - and I mean a lot - and the pavements are hard.  So you need good socks and good, comfortable shoes to walk in.  Apart from that I would suggest a rain jacket and an umbrella.  Sorted.

lizzzi

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2019, 07:28:41 AM »
Wear a waterproof jacket with a hood on it, and then you don't need the umbrella. Make sure your shoes are comfortable for lots of walking. Wear casual/nice outfits in darker neutrals. Carry-on luggage only, of course, but small enough bag so you can haul it around easily on trains and buses or up and down stairs. You might consider one of those multi-pocketed vests. Think about quick-dry underwear, but for the rest of your laundry, just leave it at a drop-off laundry and pick it up after you're done touring around that day.

lizzzi

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2019, 07:30:43 AM »
Just jumping back on for a minute to say I've been to London and Dublin a lot, so I think I know what works. And no need to overthink it--if you forget something, just buy it there.

Hirondelle

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2019, 07:59:06 AM »

One thing on wardrobe:  washers and driers in Europe are tiny compared to the US.  If you bring jeans, one pair might be the whole load.  And quite likely, you will have a combo washer / dryer, so you can't double up through both machines.  Laundry can take *a  l o n g  t i m e* so quick dry is your friend, even without the weather.  Think in terms of 1/4 your US washer capacity, and 3 hours per load--it's time management as much as weight.  Also, there aren't a lot of laundromats here in Dublin, but there are a lot of drop-off laundry services.  So, if you want to save time, you may also want an identifiable laundry bag to drop off.  (if you do self-serve, there are a number of machines in the open air at gas stations.  Shocking to see, at first glance)  You will definitely not be able to do 6 days' clothes in an evening.  I would rather suggest packing for 3 or 4 days, and doing it incrementally (when you leave for the morning, before going to dinner, or overnight) or splurging on a laundry service to do the work for you.  Finally, if you are sensitive to fragrances, bring your own detergent.  It seems clean = reeks of flowers or fruit here.  Very difficult to find unscented detergent; it's one of the things we bring back in bulk from the US.

Wait, wut? One pair of jeans fills the whole machine? I cannot speak for Ireland, but this definitely isn't the case all over Europe. Europe ain't a country so not everything is the same between countries, even washers. I washed in Germany, Italy, Romania and Austria as well and it never was a problem, maybe an Ireland specific thing? I usually wash a full week of clothing + towels + bedsheets in my tiny European machine and doing just fine. Yes they're smaller than their USA counterparts, but so are our average jeans sizes ;) (jk)

My machine has a 30 min quick wash option as well and most supermarkets have a mix of perfumed and non-perfumed detergents.

reeshau

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2019, 09:15:02 AM »

One thing on wardrobe:  washers and driers in Europe are tiny compared to the US.  If you bring jeans, one pair might be the whole load.  And quite likely, you will have a combo washer / dryer, so you can't double up through both machines.  Laundry can take *a  l o n g  t i m e* so quick dry is your friend, even without the weather.  Think in terms of 1/4 your US washer capacity, and 3 hours per load--it's time management as much as weight.  Also, there aren't a lot of laundromats here in Dublin, but there are a lot of drop-off laundry services.  So, if you want to save time, you may also want an identifiable laundry bag to drop off.  (if you do self-serve, there are a number of machines in the open air at gas stations.  Shocking to see, at first glance)  You will definitely not be able to do 6 days' clothes in an evening.  I would rather suggest packing for 3 or 4 days, and doing it incrementally (when you leave for the morning, before going to dinner, or overnight) or splurging on a laundry service to do the work for you.  Finally, if you are sensitive to fragrances, bring your own detergent.  It seems clean = reeks of flowers or fruit here.  Very difficult to find unscented detergent; it's one of the things we bring back in bulk from the US.

Wait, wut? One pair of jeans fills the whole machine? I cannot speak for Ireland, but this definitely isn't the case all over Europe. Europe ain't a country so not everything is the same between countries, even washers. I washed in Germany, Italy, Romania and Austria as well and it never was a problem, maybe an Ireland specific thing? I usually wash a full week of clothing + towels + bedsheets in my tiny European machine and doing just fine. Yes they're smaller than their USA counterparts, but so are our average jeans sizes ;) (jk)

My machine has a 30 min quick wash option as well and most supermarkets have a mix of perfumed and non-perfumed detergents.

To be fair, OP is traveling to the UK and Ireland.  But I did overstep my expertise to declare this for all of Europe.  However, these are not just Irish brands of washers that we buy here--the market is too small to be special.  My experience in the US is more like what you describe, and we miss that dearly.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2019, 09:17:05 AM by reeshau »

Samuel

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2019, 09:30:51 AM »
In addition to being chilly and wet it'll be dark, especially by Texas standards. London is much farther north and sunset will begin around 4:30pm.

Worth doing a little planning around when museums and other attractions close (and if they have evening hours on specific days) so you can maximize your time outdoors when the sun is up.

As for packing: layers, good coat with a hood (don't bring an umbrella, those are a dime a dozen at all the tourist spots should you need one), and comfortable shoes (I walked 20 miles one day in London).

jeroly

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2019, 09:39:44 AM »
CAREFUL!!! Both Dublin and London are pickpocket central. These thieves can rob you blind in a picosecond. You will feel nothing, hear nothing, see nothing. Be on the alert, especially in touristy areas. Carry only a little cash and one credit card in a body safe or money belt, while out for the day. Leave other cash and cards in the hotel safe or secured in your room. Carry NOTHING you don't mind parting with in your pockets or in a backpack! (I Paris recently, I only had a map and notebook in a front pocket) Do not flash valuables, cameras, jewelry. Pickpockets can slash your backpack and steal the contents in:
 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001 seconds

Perpetrators are often minors, who cannot be prosecuted as adults. Also beware of strangers asking you to sign petitions, claiming you dropped a ring or other valuable, or any other member of the human race.




I'm sorry but this is nonsense.  There are pickpockets, yes, but it's no-where near as common as what you're suggesting.

It's like me saying 'you better wear your bullet proof vest when you next walk to the shop in the US, gun crime is rife there'. 


London, Dublin and Edinburgh are Amazing!  If you have time, visit York as well - There are direct trains from both Edinburgh and London.
+1

If you've spent time in a big city in the US and have some street smarts, you won't have much to worry about.
If you're coming from East Bumf**k and find somewhere like College Station scarily big, then you'll have a problem.

Regardless, it's always a good idea to: 
- keep your wallet in your front pocket
- don't wear flashy jewelry
- avoid empty streets especially at night
- avoid dark places like parks at night

Imma

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2019, 09:53:02 AM »

One thing on wardrobe:  washers and driers in Europe are tiny compared to the US.  If you bring jeans, one pair might be the whole load.  And quite likely, you will have a combo washer / dryer, so you can't double up through both machines.  Laundry can take *a  l o n g  t i m e* so quick dry is your friend, even without the weather.  Think in terms of 1/4 your US washer capacity, and 3 hours per load--it's time management as much as weight.  Also, there aren't a lot of laundromats here in Dublin, but there are a lot of drop-off laundry services.  So, if you want to save time, you may also want an identifiable laundry bag to drop off.  (if you do self-serve, there are a number of machines in the open air at gas stations.  Shocking to see, at first glance)  You will definitely not be able to do 6 days' clothes in an evening.  I would rather suggest packing for 3 or 4 days, and doing it incrementally (when you leave for the morning, before going to dinner, or overnight) or splurging on a laundry service to do the work for you.  Finally, if you are sensitive to fragrances, bring your own detergent.  It seems clean = reeks of flowers or fruit here.  Very difficult to find unscented detergent; it's one of the things we bring back in bulk from the US.

Wait, wut? One pair of jeans fills the whole machine? I cannot speak for Ireland, but this definitely isn't the case all over Europe. Europe ain't a country so not everything is the same between countries, even washers. I washed in Germany, Italy, Romania and Austria as well and it never was a problem, maybe an Ireland specific thing? I usually wash a full week of clothing + towels + bedsheets in my tiny European machine and doing just fine. Yes they're smaller than their USA counterparts, but so are our average jeans sizes ;) (jk)

My machine has a 30 min quick wash option as well and most supermarkets have a mix of perfumed and non-perfumed detergents.

To be fair, OP is traveling to the UK and Ireland.  But I did overstep my expertise to declare this for all of Europe.  However, these are not just Irish brands of washers that we buy here--the market is too small to be special.  My experience in the US is more like what you describe, and we miss that dearly.

As far as I know in Europe the most common size machine is probably 7 kilo, the smallest ones are 5. I put a week's worth of clothing for 2 people in a 7 kilo machine (second load for towels, sheets and underwear, but we probably only do that one once every 10 days).

I haven't tried to look for neutral detergent in Ireland, but if you visit the UK frequently you should try to buy it there. It's certainly available there.

Dicey

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2019, 10:16:22 AM »
I think you're probably more likely to be pickpocketeds if you look like an American tourist. #1 Tip: Do not wear tennis shoes!! You have time to buy and break in a sturdy pair of walking shoes. Do it. Bonus points if you chose a European brand like Mephisto. There are others, but that will get you started. When I travel, I'm always tickled when someone (not a pickpocket) asks me for directions.

robartsd

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2019, 10:48:20 AM »
I've managed to live for 47 years in and around London without ever being pickpocketed - keep your wits about you (especially on the Underground which can get *very* crowded at peak times), store your stuff securely about your person and you'll very likely experience no issues. For paying for travel in London as a visitor, see this page for advice: https://tfl.gov.uk/travel-information/visiting-london/visitor-oyster-card.

Inter-city trains can be ridiculously expensive, and last-minute travel is eye-watering, so use trainline.com to keep an eye on prices. Discounted tickets are often available 12 weeks in advance if you can decide on your itinerary, and occasionally you can find first class tickets for almost the same cost as standard class (like £1 - £5 difference), and in first class you have tea, coffee, bottled water, sandwiches and cake available at no extra cost, so if you're savvy it can work out really well.

It may be chilly, it may rain, but it won't be freezing. Don't overthink the clothing - layers, something waterproof, comfortable footwear.
For my visit to London, I had hoped that the contactless icon on my Citi Costco Visa meant I could use it to pay fare on Transport for London; unfortunately it didn't work. Buying an OysterCard locally wasn't a problem and cost the same as a visitor OysterCard (but wasn't as pretty). If you don't plan to return to London, you can get a 5 GBP refund for returning it at any train station served by Transport to for London except Gatwick airport. We traveled into London on Thameslink service through Gatwick station using paper tickets purchased at the station (if you plan ahead and purchase online for specific trips you can save a lot on train tickets, but if your plans change there is no refund or exchange). Within London we rode T4L buses (the iconic red double decker closed top buses - the open top double decker buses are hop-on-hop off tours). I did have difficulty figuring out the connections once (Google transit directions for buses only includes other bus lines that we didn't recognize/know how to use).

UncleX

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #23 on: July 09, 2019, 11:32:21 AM »
I think you're probably more likely to be pickpocketeds if you look like an American tourist. #1 Tip: Do not wear tennis shoes!! You have time to buy and break in a sturdy pair of walking shoes. Do it. Bonus points if you chose a European brand like Mephisto. There are others, but that will get you started. When I travel, I'm always tickled when someone (not a pickpocket) asks me for directions.
We wear sneakers in Europe, also American brands like Nike. If you want to stick out as an American tourist you should wear white New Balance shoes. Google “white dad shoes” if you want to see more examples of shoes that make you look like an American tourist.

And if you want to look like you don’t care how you look at all, wear Mephisto shoes. They’re supposedly very comfy and good quality.

Villanelle

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2019, 11:46:10 AM »
When I lived in Europe and traveled extensively, I found that a good scarf was key.  It's easy to remove and stuff in a bag or tie around a bag handle (or your waist), and can be used as a sweater or a blanket. 

Also, I think the pickpocket warning feels over the top.  Yes, you need to be aware of your surroundings and protect your valuables.  When traveling, I usually skipped a purse and DH would sometimes wear a neck wallet (wallet on a necklace, basically) under his shirt.  Other than that and just being aware of our surroundings, we did nothing and never got mugged or pickpocketed traveling to 32 countries in Europe, some of which were far more notorious for pickpockets. 

And yes, washers are generally smaller than the massive US front loaders, but you can surely wash a weeks worth of clothes for one person in a load, and maybe even for two people if you rewear things. 

Bee21

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #25 on: July 11, 2019, 01:19:08 PM »
Definitely aim for carry on only and wear outer layers multiple times. They don't get stinky that quickly in colder climates, esp if you wear a t-shirt under the pullover. I have not lived in London before, but long underwear sounds like an overkill in November. Don't bother with those. Washing can be tricky in apartments, even if they have a washer they might not dry overnight. I would plan to wash shirts, socks and undies only as they will dry quickly, even if you hand wash them. You should be able to manage with 3 sets of tops and bottoms plus a few extra t-shirts, shirts plus the set you are wearing on the plane. You might need a hat (or a hooded jacket), gloves and a scarf. It is supposed to be rainy in London, so get a hooded waterproof jacket and make sure your shoes are waterproof.  This is an absolute must, there is nothing worse than wet feet.


Ps I am in the middle of a 4 week European trip and I packed 4 pairs of pants, 4 tops, 4 dresses, 2 shorts, 2 t shirts. Swimwear. It is more than enough, I could have managed with half of it. Don't lug around a whole makeup collection, hairdryer, large cameras, laptops, guidebooks. Download offline google maps on your phone. You need less than you think.
Have fun.
 
« Last Edit: July 11, 2019, 01:24:41 PM by Bee21 »

WalkaboutStache

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #26 on: July 12, 2019, 02:35:10 AM »
Off topic a bit but have you compared the cost of flying vs train to Edinburgh?  Unlike the continent to which the UK reluctantly belongs, rail in the fair island is eye-wateringly expensive and not particularly efficient.   I recently read an article of a guy who bought a car to visit his girlfriend because it was cheaper than a round trip ticket.

The London tube is good enough, though, provided the guy next to you does not lift his arm.

Oh, and Borrough Market on the weekend is great (go hungry), Monmouth coffee there will ruin Starbucks for the rest of your life, Spittalfields and Brick Lane are good to visit and for food.  If you go to Spittalfields, have a beer at the Ten Bells for me (presumably it was frequented by Jack the Ripper too).  The Tate can be amazing if you like modern art and hit a good week, and The Globe is an experience (Shakespeare became a snob thing recently - go see it in all its rowdy glory).  You can easily make a day of bumbling around Regent's Park, Regent's Canal (and Little Venice) and Camden Town (if you get drunk you can always get a tattoo you'll regret forever here).  Depending on your stamina, you can extend the hike to Primrose Hill where they also have good food.

For Dublin, the Guinness brewery tour is brilliant!  They have live music at the end, and you are free to bumble around and look through the various exhibits without being rushed.  If you don't like Guinness, I am sorry you have lived such a miserable and misguided life and hope you will see the error of your ways and seek redemption one day.

I am not good with packing recommendations.  For me, if it takes more than a backpack it is a move, not a trip.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2019, 03:08:34 AM by WalkaboutStache »

cerat0n1a

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #27 on: July 12, 2019, 03:38:04 AM »
Off topic a bit but have you compared the cost of flying vs train to Edinburgh?  Unlike the continent to which the UK reluctantly belongs, rail in the fair island is eye-wateringly expensive and not particularly efficient. 

True - although it is sometimes possible to get very good deals on train tickets if you book 2-3 months ahead and the experience is much nicer than the airport. The London-> Edinburgh journey takes 4 hours and is the one decent fast train service in the UK. You can often pick up flights from Stansted or Luton to Edinburgh for < £20, but it takes time and money to travel to/from the airports.

London gets tens of millions of tourists per year. Literally millions of its inhabitants were born outside of the uk. No need to worry about looking like an American tourist. No-one cares. Think New York but a little busier. In my limited experience, people in Dublin will be even friendlier if they know you're American. Being an *obnoxious* American tourist, OTOH, will get you a bad time pretty much anywhere.

I've lived in the UK nearly all of my life and never heard of anyone I know being pickpocketed or having backpacks slashed, nor seen one of these tiny washing machines.

November can be a pretty miserable time - not particularly cold compared with much of North America or Europe, but grey and wet. It does mean the good places won't be completely overrun with visitors though.

If the UK does indeed leave the EU without any kind of agreement on October 31, you might want to bring a supply of food & medicine though ;-)

Villanelle

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Re: Help me pack for London!
« Reply #28 on: July 12, 2019, 09:38:24 AM »
Definitely worth checking on air vs. rail, but when we did Inverness to London (roughly 2011), it rail was cheaper.  Also, when looking at air, make sure you calculate all the costs.  Flying out of Stansted is cheaper, but it costs (time and money) to get onesself out there, something many people forget to include in the calculation.