The other day I posted on my personal Facebook page that I haven’t even thought about my upcoming trip to London, England and I was wondering out loud what things I should do to prepare for the trip. (As many of you know I’m going to RootsTech London in October. )
Thank goodness for friends because the next thing you know I got an email from one of my Edmonton genealogy friends, Debby Was and she passed along a list of hints and lessons learned from an England trip she took last year. I asked her if I could pass them long and she said sure. So here’s some of what she sent.
Many of these tips are valid for any research trip.
- PREPARE! PREPARE! PREPARE! Make sure you know what you want to find.
- DO NOT OVERPACK! Especially research materials. Paper and books are heavy, and who can afford to be charged extra for overweight luggage. Plus, it makes it harder to transport if you plan to travel around the UK or Europe.
- Pack a few legal sized manila envelopes. If you do happen to make a lot of copies or purchase a few maps or books – you can mail them home. It may cost a bit, but it is worth the extra cost not to have to pack them around with you as you travel. They also come in handy for storing/sorting the copies you make.
- Bring extra batteries and SD cards for your camera. Also, bring a flash drive to download records.
- Don’t forget to bring an adaptor for your electronics. The UK uses a three-pronged plug with a 230v 50hz electricity supply.
- Bring a journal or notebook. I keep a notebook and record all my expenses for the day (to plan for future trips) and to keep track of addresses, contacts, sites, and places I visited and things I want to remember – oh yah and genealogy notes.
- Mobil phones – Contact your phone provider and ask for their international roaming plan or purchase a UK sim card. You can do this online before you leave or once you arrive. They are relatively cheap and can be topped up in most convenience stores.
- Load mobile phone with the XE Currency APP to keep you up to date on exchange rates. You can use it off-line to get an estimate when you are shopping.
- Make sure to have an Oyster Card and load it with at least 30-50 pounds sterling. You can purchase a Visitor Oyster Card online and have it delivered to you before you go. You cannot purchase a Visitor Oyster Card once you arrive in London, however you can still purchase a regular Oyster card at any tube station. The card cost 5GBP. If you still have an Oyster card from a previous visit – you can still use it. This card will save you time and money.
- Pack some baggies in your purse. Endless uses for them. Meals are usually LARGE, and many pubs do not provide take out containers. I also pack a spork, plastic food container, and a water bottle.
- Pack for any kind of weather.
- Make sure to have a photocopy of your passport and do not store it with your passport.
- Inform your credit card company that you will be traveling.
- Medications/First Aid kit – make sure you pack enough prescription meds in the original packaging for your trip and copies of your health information. Travel sites recommend you bring a copy of your prescription with you just in case. You may also want to bring any over the counter meds you use frequently. Examples: eye drops, allergy meds, digestion meds, cough drops, pain relievers, diarrhea meds, band-aides.
- Be VERY conscious of pickpockets, especially in crowded places – like on the bus.
If you think you’ll be interested in taking in a few shows here are a few more tips for entertainment.
- If you are 60 or over – you can request “concession prices” at many places – their term for senior rates.
- Theatre tickets: Cheaper on the same day. TKTS booth in Leister Square offers half-price tickets for great seats for same-day productions.
- OR if you are a senior going to the theatre – show up a couple of hours before the show to purchase your tickets. Each person in your group will have to provide identification to show they are 60 or over but the prices/seats are usually better. And if you happen to have any mobility issues – ask for seats with the fewest stairs!
Stay tuned because next week there will be tips for the London Records Offices. #I’mfeelingbetteralready #Igotthis #HoundontheHunt #RootsTechLondon