future Londoners, pay attention
My last post was somewhat similar to this, but today’s is solely aimed toward future Londoners for the most part. This is just a quick list of things that might help you save a couple of minutes or help you get home when you’re lost or just provide you with some insider information while in London. This is my list of things I was thankful to have while in London and things that I wish I’d had.
Things I was thankful to have while living in London
The London tube map app on my phone. This thing was a lifesaver. Sometimes you just don’t want to look like a tourist and spend five minutes staring at the tube map in the middle of the station, or you just don’t have time. This is when your handy-dandy tube map app comes into play! Everyone else just thinks your just another social media junkie but really you’re only doing your best to hide the fact that “she doesn’t even go here…” Another cool thing about the tube map is that you can just type in your point A and your destination and it gives you the fastest way to get there.
Along the lines of the last one, the CityMapper app. This is basically just a higher-tech version of the tube map. You put in where you’re coming from and where you’d like to end up and it gives you directions. The cool thing about this is that it isn’t just the tube, although it’ll tell you those details too. But it will also give you walking, driving, the quickest bus to take. Sometimes I ran into issues with it, but it was helpful when I needed it.
Basically, I was just happy to have really good public transportation here. The tube is great – for the most part, when it isn’t rush hour and half of London is trying to fit into one tube car – but it closes at midnight. I have heard rumors that they are beginning to make steps toward being open all night, but that won’t happen for a couple of years. When the tube is closed, usually around midnight, there are night buses. The buses are great, when you can find the stop that you want. I don’t even want to know how much time I spent walking around aimlessly just trying to find the 94 bus at night when all I wanted to do was go home and sleep. Once you give up on finding your bus, or you’re too cold or whatever to keep walking or even begin looking in the first place, there are the cabs. You’re always warned to only take the Black Cabs because they are the only legitimate cab service in London. They’re all over. You never have an issue finding a cab no matter the time of day.
Living in the technologically advanced world that we do, I was also extremely happy to have a working phone, that also had unlimited data, while I was here. I paid 15 GBP a month for unlimited data, a certain amount of calling minutes and like 3000 texts and it was well worth it. The wifi in our house is limited and is the most annoying thing ever. (as I’m typing this, I’m disconnected from the internet to save wifi) When I was making all my plans when moving here, I didn’t think I’d have a good phone. I thought I’d just buy a throw-away phone or a small amount of minutes. Thankfully, it wasn’t much more expensive just to keep the phone that I had and get the unlimited data plan. I can’t tell you how many times this came in handy.
Things I wish I’d had while in London
I wish that I’d had a debit card that didn’t charge me fees every time I wanted to take out cash. I had to take out large amounts every time I needed cash in order to avoid getting fined all the time. I don’t even want to know how much money I spent just on international transfer fees. I avoided swiping my debit card because most places only accept the kind of card with the chip in it, which mine does not have. I didn’t know that before I came.
Unlimited wifi might have been nice… Maybe I’m too spoiled living in America where there is wifi literally everywhere, but having to budget my wifi allowances was no fun. Especially when it came to skyping or late-night netflix binges. (I couldn’t really help this – in the house that I live in they limit our wifi for their own purposes – I don’t really remember what they are, but I’m sure they’re reasonable.) Still, its annoying.
Laundry is ridiculously expensive here. You wouldn’t believe it. I don’t even want to know the total amount I spent on laundry this semester. So I would have liked even just a washing machine in my house. I could have done without a dryer. But seriously, having to lug my super heavy laundry bag a block away got old reeeeal fast, especially because I waited until the last minute to do it because it was so freaking expensive. Anyway – this is another thing that I know I can’t change, and that if you run into the same problem you won’t be able to change it either, but this is just me, informing you of what I wish had been different.
My time in London has gone by sooooo fast. Too fast. I’m not ready to be writing these posts to you guys about the things that I wish I had known because that means I’m leaving soon. Too soon.