10 Common Mistakes Tourists Make When Visiting London

Do you ever wonder what it feels like to be lost in a large, foreign city with no idea where to go or what exactly to do? Well, no one should ever feel like that unless you intend to experience the feelings of such spontaneity.

If it’s not part of your plan to explore a new place without a specific course of action or to be caught unaware, then there are a handful of common mistakes that you can easily avoid depending on which city you are visiting.

If London is on your list of places to visit, we have prepared a preventive guide, especially for first-timers, so as not to commit some of the many common mistakes tourists often encounter during their trip.

Many people are attracted to the wonders of London such as Big Ben, the London Eye, endless rows of vibrant red telephone booths, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, and the list goes on and on. But when you look past these iconic monuments and landmarks, London can be very intimidating and overwhelming.

So you don't get caught short, here are ten common blunders to avoid when visiting this beautiful city.

Not Getting an Oyster Card

Paying for individual tickets for every tube ride you are planning to make once you are in London is not a very bright idea. For one, it costs more. Not to mention the time it will take queuing up to get tickets.

The solution? Get yourself an Oyster Card.

It’s very convenient as you can buy them at any of the tube or transport stations. Load them up, and you’re ready for your trip. Start with £20 on your card for a 4-day trip, and then add more credits if you find the need to.

Paying Too Much for a Room

It’s no secret, visiting London can pretty much hurt your wallet. If you don’t plan well, you would probably end up leaving your wallet not only hurt but dry and bleeding at the same time.

Lovely rooms are aplenty everywhere in this equally lovely city. If you fancy staying in an elegant hotel room, you definitely can, especially if you have the funds. But even an ordinary hotel room can cost you quite a lot.

To somehow lessen the cost of your already expensive trip, try looking for hostels, bed and breakfast rooms, even flats to rent out during your stay.

Not Carrying an Adaptor

Carrying an adaptor with you is a travel code you should always keep in mind.

Imagine having all of your essentials inside the best carry-on luggage there is, only to find out that you didn’t bring a power adaptor with you.

Don’t let this common mishap suck the life out of you and your gadgets. Look for a 100-240v adaptor since the standard voltage in London is 220v.

Most American appliances like a hairdryer, for example, use a 120v. So, aside from an adaptor, you also need to get a converter to be on the safe side.

Not Taking Advantage of Free Attractions

Free entrance to museums, local attractions, and other sites is a gift to humankind. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of it?

It’s an excellent way to immerse yourself in the culture of London and know more about the city rather than always spending a fortune at paid attractions.

We don’t mean paying for these entrance fees is a bad thing. There are particular London highlights that you really should see and pay for, but free attractions? like the British Museum, for instance ? can also heighten up your UK experience.

The British Museum, as well as the Tate Modern, the National Gallery, and the National Maritime Museum in nearby Greenwich are also free for everyone to see, so why not?

The Thames view is also there for you to revel in along with the beautiful Hyde Park where you can spend a significant amount of time just taking in the British vibe.

Standing on the Wrong Side of the Escalators

It’s standard etiquette to stand on the right of escalators anywhere in the world.

In London, most commuters are in a rush. It’s a busy business hub. What do we expect?

So if you don’t want to be screamed upon or quite possibly sworn at, keep to the right and stand. That is if you are not in a hurry. But if you’re like them who don’t want to miss the tube schedule, the left side of the escalator is the fast lane. By all means, go for it.

Looking the Wrong Way

England has a different road orientation compared to America and other parts of the world. It might be quite tricky to adjust right away. But the right amount of patience, and sometimes reading signs, can save you from being hit by a car.

These huge block letters of LOOK RIGHT and LOOK LEFT are there for a reason. Do take notice of them.

Not Exploring Other Places

Like what they say, to truly experience a culture of a place, you have to look beyond its famous spots.

Spend a day veering away from Camden, Leicester Square, and Trafalgar Square, and try to explore different areas and blend in like a true Londoner.

Not Using Coins to Pay for Things

In London, your pounds and pennies are useful and can pay for a lot of different things. You’re not in the US, where a pile of coins is likely to be just stowed away because it carries very little value.

These one-pound and two-pound coins can get you a decent lunch or a couple of nice London Souvenirs. You need to use them because you won’t be able to exchange these coins for other currency once you’re out of the UK.

If you have spare coins and you can’t find a use for them, some airlines collect them to donate to charities.

Only Eating Fish and Chips

London has a wide array of exciting cuisine, so don’t settle for fish and chips every waking day of your stay. You can eat fish and chips, sure, but there are a lot of other dishes that you should try!

Being a hodgepodge of culture, London can satisfy your cravings for, let’s say, spicy Indian goodness. They have wickedly good Indian restaurants and you should at least give these a chance. There are also other British meals that you must try like Yorkshire pudding, bangers and mash, and of course, the full English breakfast!

Tipping Too Much

The tipping culture varies from country to country. In England, it’s less customary to tip than it is in the United States.

If you want to save money, some establishments in London aren't expecting any tips from tourists anyway, so skip it. It won’t offend them if you don’t tip. Some services like fancy restaurants, however, might be expecting a service charge from you, so a 10 to 15 percent tip is generous enough for them.

Now, are you ready to take on London as your next travel destination? With this list, ‘blimey,’ we hope you are.