Some advice for traveling out of London…Part two of my London travel summary
If you are stationed in London, whether living here or just as a home base to travel out from on vacation, this city is close to everything so it’s a great spot to travel out from, especially if you are looking for smaller outings. If you are looking to do more of these small trips as I wish I had during my time out there, there are a few pieces of advice you should keep in mind:
First, you don’t (and I really mean never) need to pack as much as you think. You can really go weeks at a time living out of a backpack or carry-on sized bag if you pack it correctly. By this, I mean both HOW and WHAT you pack.
Most travelers know that rolling clothes takes up less space in your bag, allowing for more room for other pieces which is a great tool, however, if you pack a good mix of durable items (even if some are thinner) you can get away with not packing very much at all.
A pair of basic blue of black denim pants can generally stretch across weeks with no problem, especially if you pack them in with dryer sheets and/or a small bottle of fragrance spray. If you pack two pairs (say if your trip is longer than a week) you can switch back and forth to let things air out during the day rather than all night which is the best idea with a single pair. Adding a pair of leggings or two helps with this rotation as well while still keeping things light.
Tops are a bit harder because they tend to be less resilient, however, if you are careful, follow the same patterns as stated for jeans, you can get away with double wearing shirts—triple wearing if we’re talking about a thicker material (like you’ll find in a unisex top, thicker thermals and plaid button ups). Think about packing stuff that goes together and you shouldn’t run into any issues!
This changes if you have to plan for events, of course—I’m graduating soon which includes a week of travel between countries, meaning adding in outfits for multiple nice events/nights out as well as the cold of Europe in January.
For a quick trip (call it a week,) I pack a pair of jeans, a pair of thick leggings, one jacket, one sweater, 4 shirts—two of which are long tops—and pjs. I’ll wear boots and pack a pair of easy sneakers and/or flats that I can walk in.
But this isn’t just about packing, so moving on to point two:
Before you even think about what to wear and where, plan a few small day to weekend trips at a time without any dates necessarily attached. This lets you schedule them in once you have ideas of what you want to do and around your non-travel schedule. Once you are more settled in, this pre-planning will make it much easier to actually get things set up.
A note here: when I say plan these trips, I mean write them down and in detail; don’t just keep ideas in your head. You have to know how long you want these trips to be or need them to be going into the later stage of planning (ie. nailing down your details) so you don’t waste time.
I also really recommend using the favorite feature on Google maps. You’ll be able to plan your day to day excursions based one where things are in relation to each other, as well as find easy links and time tables for when things are open and the time it will take to get from one stop to another. It also lets you discover places you physically cannot get to whether because of lack of transportation, time, cost, or any of the other issues which tend to pop up. I check this everyday I’m traveling just to check where I stand.
After you finish up one of your trips, make a list of everything you wanted to do that you weren’t able to get around to. You’re more likely to go to the same place multiple times if it’s not far or hard to reach, so having this list already created will make it easier later. I’m experiencing this now while planning a few days with my parents in Paris. While my mom is doing a lot of it with my father in mind—he hasn’t been to Paris in a very long time—I was able to send her some places from my list that would work for each of us.
But my biggest piece of advice for traveling out from London—or really any European hub city—is to do at least one solo trip with these bits of advice in mind. It’s an experience that lets you grow in ways you probably won’t expect and lets you figure out what YOU want out of traveling, which if you’re reading this, seems like the whole point.
Today was hectic and this was a quick piece, but if you have other key pieces of advice you’ve picked up along your travels, I’d love to hear your travel codes!
This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.