3 Travel Tips to Get Around London Like a Pro

  • Travel Team
Feb 20, 2013

Thinking of taking a trip across the pond? The British capital of London is awaiting travelers on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, and with so much to do and see while in the metropolis, there's never a dull moment. Of course, the flip side of this is that travelers are often scurrying around the expansive city, constantly in search of the most fascinating landmarks or delectable eateries that are spread out across quite a large area.

While making your way around the city ensures you'll get to see a number of exciting spots, it also can cause some stress. Luckily, travelers can find relief with the city's underground train network, which boasts more than 250 miles of routes that can make venturing around the English capital easy and affordable.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the public transportation system, called the Tube, but before you celebrate in London, consider these tips that could help you out during your travels:

1. Invest in a pass

Because you'll likely be traipsing across London in an attempt to hit as many hot spots as possible, you will probably find yourself taking the Tube quite a bit. The most efficient and affordable option is an Oyster card.

Available in a range of time increments - daily, weekly and monthly - the Oyster card is widely regarded as the best way to access the underground. Buying single journey tickets or paying cash fares each time you take a ride is significantly more expensive than a prepaid card, and if you plan on using the subway frequently, it's probably in your best interest to purchase these tourist-friendly passes.

As a bonus, the passes are also good for the city's iconic double-decker buses, so you can catch a ride on a quintessential piece of the city without any hassle. Children under age 11 ride for free, which could make family travel a little easier on your wallet.

2. Plan your routes beforehand

It can be easy to get lost in the confusion of the underground. Hundreds of people, a potentially confusing arrangement of stops and unfamiliar locations can make finding your way around difficult. To avoid this kind of preventable distraction, spend some time before your trip planning out the spots you want to go to and their corresponding Tube stations.

By mapping out routes before entering a station, you'll be able to confidently know - and inform each member of your party - where you are heading and what to look out for. That way, even if you get separated while on the train or when making a transfer, you can all end up in the same place.

3. Download the app

If you plan on carrying your smartphone with you while in London, bring Tube information right to the device with the help of the most efficient apps. Programs like Tube Deluxe or London Tube cost money to purchase but provide frequent updates on delays, trip planning services and time estimates, Londonist reports.

Free apps like iTrans London Tube and Tube Map offer basic maps of the underground, along with departure and arrival times, but they won't do much else. However, if you simply want to look into routes ahead of time and don't anticipate needing much more than that, these free programs may be your best bet.

For those who don't plan on bringing the latest technology with them on their adventures, at least invest in a small map of the underground system. Many guidebooks have rudimentary charts that can help you navigate, but free maps are usually available at Tube stations around the city.

Have additional tips for traveling around London?

Leave a comment below and tell us about other tips and tricks for traveling about London!

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