My brothers and I are walking down Abbey Road

I have only traveled to London once for two days, but after all of the crazy mishaps my family and I went through on that trip, I feel like an expert on how not to prepare for a trip to London. Here are some quick and easy tips that are guaranteed to help you avoid any similar mishaps and enjoy your stay:


Bring an umbrella. I learned this lesson the hard way on my first day in London. My family and I woke up early to walk around our hotel. The only two things I remember from that walk is how blue and beautiful the London sky appeared and saying something about how wrong all my friends were about always needing an umbrella in London.

Then, the inevitable happened: it not only rained but poured. In what seemed to be less than a minute, the sky went from a perfect blue to a stormy gray normally saved for the tropical storms of Florida. Luckily, we were by our hotel and still able to run inside. You, however, may not be so fortunate so please remember to always bring an umbrella.

Make sure to pack for warm and cold weather, as London can go from 80 to 40 degrees in one day. Before this storm hit on my first day in London, it was about 80 degrees outside. By the time 6 p.m. rolled around, it was 40 degrees. Needless to say, the weather in London is unpredictable so it is best to be prepared, even in July.


Bring plenty of British pounds, but make sure to avoid 50 pound notes. Luckily, my family and I were able to avoid this problem because of a tip listed in the Total London Experience tour's website. Fifty pound notes are difficult to exchange back to dollars because there are so many fake 50 pound notes out there. So even though I would recommend carrying enough of the British currency to get around and make all the gift store purchases that you wish to, avoid getting 50 pound notes.


My brothers and I are in front of the Sherlock Holmes Museum

Be prepared to separate from the group. Sometimes taking a detour during a scheduled break is the best decision you can make. One of the most memorable moments of my London experience was during such a detour.

Instead of using the break given to us for shopping and lunch, we quickly swallowed our fish and chips and dashed to the nearest taxi. Our first stop was to Baker Street to visit the museum and gift store of that famous literary detective, Sherlock Holmes. Our second stop was to Abbey Road, where the picture above was taken. By leaving the shopping for that night, we were able to enjoy two stops that would have been missed otherwise.

If you choose the Total London Experience tour and want a tour through St. Paul's Cathedral, don't take the tour on a Sunday. We did, and because of the church service going on, we were unable to go inside.


When in England, try fish and chips. Fish and chips are just something that any trip to England simply can't be without.

A Cautionary Tale

Always double and triple check your pockets. My mother failed to do this and because of her mistake, she didn't realize that her iPhone had slipped out of her pocket while we were on the Thames river boat tour. Luckily, one of the boat tour guides was kind enough not only to pick up the phone, but also to call all of the emergency contacts on it in order to locate us. After a taxi ride that cost us about 45 pounds, we were able to meet her at her second job around 8 p.m. to pick up the phone.

Even though that part wasn't pleasant, not only did we get my mom's phone back, but the woman who returned it refused to accept the cash we tried to compensate her with after all the trouble she went through. Though it was great to see an example of such kindness from a complete stranger, I wouldn't recommend the experience to anyone. Please remember to always double check your pockets, and if you can, avoid keeping anything in your pockets. If you have to carry something with you, take a bag instead.

My last tip is to be wary of pickpockets while walking around the streets of London. We didn't have any bad experiences involving pickpockets, but our guide on the London Double Decker Bus Tour warned us to keep our bags close to avoid having anything stolen. While our guide, David, from the Total London Experience tour gave us that same advice. If you don't want anything stolen, it doesn't hurt to be careful and to always keep an eye on your bag.