What Should I Consider When Planning a Trip to London?

Diana Bocco

London has long been one of the world's top destinations for both business people and vacationers. If a visit to the "City of Fog" is on your near future, there are many things you can do to prepare and make the most out of your trip. If you are planning a pleasure trip to London, the decisions, will be left to you, so it's important to choose what you want beforehand.

US citizens will need a valid passport when traveling to London.
US citizens will need a valid passport when traveling to London.

The first considerations of a trip to London should be the time of year to visit and the length of your stay. If you are only staying in the city for a couple of days, planning becomes even more important, as there is a lot to see and do there. When it comes to weather, late summer or autumn is probably the best choice, since this is when the sunniest days occur. Summer is often unpredictable in London, and rain can barge in on a sunny day without any warning. July and August are also busy months for tourism, so keep that in mind if you want to avoid large crowds. If you enjoy crisp winter weather, visit around Christmas.

The Parliament of the United Kingdom, which is composed of the House of Lords and House of Commons, meets in the Palace of Westminster on the Thames. .
The Parliament of the United Kingdom, which is composed of the House of Lords and House of Commons, meets in the Palace of Westminster on the Thames. .

Members of the European community, Americans, Canadians, and Australians do not need a visa to enter England. A valid passport is enough to enter and stay in London for a period of up to three months. There are usually no travel advisories in place for England, but it doesn't hurt to check with the US Department of State before your trip.

Finding a hotel near London's underground makes getting around cheap and easy.
Finding a hotel near London's underground makes getting around cheap and easy.

When you are planning your trip to London, try to choose a hotel in a central location or at least one that is near an underground station. Going out of the yellow line on the metro map means that transportation price will rise considerably, and you will need to catch taxis frequently. Just because the hotel prices may seem lower doesn't mean you will end up saving money in the long run.

Many of London's attractions can be crowded during the busy tourism months.
Many of London's attractions can be crowded during the busy tourism months.

Finally, make a list of the things you want to do and see while in London. The number of attractions is overwhelming, and if you don't plan in advance you may end up wasting a lot of time. Combining several attractions in one day according to location may sound like a lot of work, but it will save you a lot of time once there. For example, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey are close to each other; so are the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, and St James's Palace. Combination entrance tickets are sometimes available for popular attractions, which will also allow you to save some money while in London.

The Old Bailey courthouse is free and open to the public.
The Old Bailey courthouse is free and open to the public.
Buckingham Palace -- the official residence of the British royal family -- is a popular sight in London.
Buckingham Palace -- the official residence of the British royal family -- is a popular sight in London.
London is a center of culture and history with more than 250 museums.
London is a center of culture and history with more than 250 museums.

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Discussion Comments

yumdelish

If you like history and museums you could plan at least one day visiting a few. London has many attractions, but as so many of the museums are free to enter this is a must do, in my opinion! If you want to see special exhibitions you may have to pay of course.

CaithnessCC

@Windchime - As a keen traveller I can give you a few tips. I've never been to London for a vacation, only for work, but my company paid for a serviced apartment. This can work out cheaper than London hotels if you are staying for around a week or more.

When I travelled elsewhere in Europe I looked around the net for information on university dorms. If you time it right you could get a basic room for less than a hotel.

One other possible idea is couchsurfing. You need to be a member, but it's free to join. Local people host you for no cost, often providing their services as a guide or advisor on things to do.

Windchime

I'd like to travel to London but the rates for a hotel stay are a bit depressing. The tips given here are really helpful, but is there anything that I can do to reduce accommodation costs?

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