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Guide to Packing for a Trip to London – Britain Trip Packing Tips

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The first trip I ever took to England, I packed a suitcase so large, I could have slept in. I also brought a smaller suitcase. In all, I think I had packed my entire wardrobe! Needless to say, I NEVER did that again. Over time, I have learned how to pack for England, look great while there, and not lug around my entire wardrobe.

So Here are my Top 11 Tips To Ensure You Are Properly Packed for Trip To England:

1. Choose Your Clothing Wisely: This is perhaps the most important tip for packing. While you can’t take your entire wardrobe, you can still look fabulous during your vacation. Try to choose pieces of clothing that can go with everything else that you are taking, like a white button down shirt. You should also try to wear layers, as weather in the UK can change quickly. It’s important to have plenty insight clothing into how you pack. Pack one or two heavy shirts only, and layers to go underneath. Cardigans are perfect for this. Keep in mind, what you choose to wear will be remembered in videos, and pictures for years.

2. Three Pairs of Shoes ONLY: I know three pairs sound like a lot, but if you are a woman, it’s really not that many. I usually pick one pair of “dressy” shoes, for an evening out. I also pick a pair of shoes that will be comfortable on the airplane. My feet tend to swell, which is pretty common, so pick a super comfortable shoe. I recommend slip-on’s. Your final pair should be what you plan to walk around in. Keep this in mind when making clothing choices. On my last trip I took a pair of loafers on the plane, a pair of high heels for a fancy dinner, and comfortable boots that I could wear to walk around.

3. Make a List: No matter where I am going I always make a list of EVERYTHING I am going to need to bring with me, from a toothbrush to socks. I list each day I will be away and assign an ensemble for the day, listing everything needed to wear it. Once your list is made you are ready to select a suitcase.

4. Try to Take The Smallest Suitcase Possible: Make sure all of your things fit in your suitcase, you should not have to sit on it to close it, but you also don’t want tons of unused room. Keep in mind, you are going to have to make your way through airports, and through out your journey. If you can’t carry it, you’ve packed too much! Suitcases and buy from here.

5. Pack a Souvenir Bag: Jon and I learned this trick years ago, and it is the way to travel. We pack a collapsible bag that goes in our suitcase on the way to England. As we buy souvenirs, we can put them in the bag. When it is time to go home, we carry the bag on the plane with us. This trick serves two purposes, you don’t need a bigger suitcase and you are assured your precious souvenirs are not crushed in your luggage.

6. What You REALLY Need in Your Carry on Bag: As airlines are continuing to crack down on the size of carry on luggage, you need to make sure that you have what you really need in it. Jon and I learned this the hard way, when his suitcase was lost on one of our trips. He was left without knickers, a toothbrush or a change of clothes for almost three days. Make sure to take what you would absolutely need, if your luggage was lost.

7. Mix Up Your Suitcases: If you are traveling with a spouse, put some of your clothing in their luggage and vice-versa. If one suitcase is lost, you are sure to have at least some of your clothing. I would not recommend doing this if you are unsure of the person you are traveling with. Always be present when your suitcases are packed, that way you both know what is in them.

8. Keep Certain Items With You: All electronics, like cameras, and laptops should never be packed in your luggage! Make sure to put them in your carry-on bag. Ladies, you should also keep you jewelry with you.

9. Make Copies of Your Passport and Birth Certificate: I have done this every time I have traveled overseas. While your actual passport should be carried with you while traveling via the airports, I always have a paper copy of both documents tuck in my luggage. If my passport were ever lost or stolen I would need these documents.

10. Things You Can Not Pack: Like all countries, the UK has restrictions on what you can bring into the country. You cannot bring certain foods, like fresh fruit and vegetables, raw meets or unpackaged foods. As of my last trip, certain cosmetics and bottles of water, lotion and perfume were not allowed in my carry-on luggage for security reasons. If you are unsure if an item can come on the plane with you, check with the airline you will be flying with.

11. Plug Adapters: Be sure to pack plug adapters for your gadgets (iPhone, Laptop, etc) as American style plugs don’t work in UK Plug outlets. You can pick up plug adapters cheap at Target or Wal-Mart. In most cases, you will not need a voltage converter. Most American electronics can be used in the UK with a simple plug adapter.

Author: jackie

Jackie is the co-creator of Anglotopia and Londontopia. She became an Anglophile after meeting her husband Jonathan. They travel to London as often as possible, despite Jonathan's continued promise to take Jackie on a tropical island vacation.

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  2. Also, make sure the appliances you are taking are dual voltage. They must say 110/220 or 240 on them. Some appliances like hair dryers have a switch that you have to change once you get to the UK. Others do not.

    Another tip is to find out ahead of time if the hotels or B&Bs where you are staying have hair dryers. Most do now, so it eliminates the necessity of bringing one along. The last time I went to the UK, I didn’t even pack a hair dryer as all the hotels had them standard in the room. Most hotels also have irons, so you can skip the travel iron or steamer. Some rooms have them, at other hotels, I just had to ask at the front desk.

    And don’t forget your brolly! (That’s British for umbrella 🙂

  3. My rule, even before the current luggage restrictions, is “If you can’t carry it on, don’t carry it.” I only started packing two pair of shoes as a concession to my old age. One pair of sturdy walking shoes and one pair of equally comfy but slightly less funky slip-ons. The slip-ons make for easy undress at security checkpoints. I have to pack the heavier walking shoes which violates the rule about wearing the bulkiest clothing on the plane so more room in the suitcase, but it is worth it.

    Pack knits so you don’t have to iron. Take less than you think you will need–you are not going to Darkest Peru, and it’s a good excuse to pick up a wearable souvenir. Or, in my case, hit the charity shops.

    • Very sensible advice. Boarding is delayed due to people blocking the isles while stuffing over filled bags into the overhead bins.

  4. As a slightly disabled individual, I would also stronger suggest you take a ruch sack (not backpack) wih you to “carry around” as you walk. This will leave your arms free for whatever. A ruch sack is like a backpack except instead of visible zippers that can be opened by other people, the back is a large flap that SECURELY closes by two sturdy clips on the bottom. If anyone tries to open this, you’ll feel it. Plus they would have to lift the large flap and then try to get into your luggage.

    Make sure any luggage you take is made by a good company (Samsonite, etc). Last time I went tot he UK, I tried to save on luggage and it didn’t hold up. Samsonite makes “spinner” luggage that can be pushed on all 4 wheels around. This saves your hands and arm from the “2 wheel” carry.

    Although the souvenier bag is a great idea, I would suggest you take something that has a zipper!

    If you like coffee anytime (like me at 3AM) take a small one cup coffee maker that has it’s own thermal mug (Black and Decker – $20.00).

    Take washcloths! Most inexpensive places don’t have these!.

  5. These comments apply to travel to just about any Western country not just Great Britain.
    Yes, we Brits. take our flannels with us (that’s “washcloths” to Americans.)
    I recomend adding a light mac. which is short for Macintosh———-raincoat.

  6. I’ve never heard of men wearing ‘knickers’ that’s just women. Men wear pants (underpants) in the U.S.

  7. LOL I was trying to picture Jonathan in ladies knickers but could not! He doesn’t seem the type. I’m sure you meant his Hanes?

  8. I always put my tablet or laptop into a bag that I can put it next to me on the plane. I use a carryon luggage for 3-4days but 2weeks defo a big suitcase.
    I would recommend also if you have young kids 1-5 pack their clothes in a suitcase at a time (2 sets a clothes in a suit case for the kids sharing). For girls defo have their own suitcase because they have more stuff than boys..

  9. I lost my passport and driver’s license when I went to the UK ten years ago, so having a copy of my passport, birth certificate, and driver’s license with me made it MUCH easier to get an emergency passport at the Embassy in London. That was replaced with a permanent passport when I returned home, so now I have the fabulous souvineer of a (invalidated) U.S. passport issued in London (they sent the emergency passport back to me). ;D

    A travel tip I’ve found to be true for longer trips is ‘take twice the money and half the clothes’.

  10. Along the same lines as first commenter Mary stated, I took pictures of my passport info page as well as my credit cards I would be using and drivers license, front and back, then emailed those to myself to keep in a secure email folder. Then I deleted those photos from my pictures so they wouldn’t be a security risk. Worked great.
    One question re: points 5 & 6, if you carry on a souvenir bag, doesn’t that negate your ‘official’ carry on bag since so often you can only carry on one bag and one personal item which for women is often a purse or a laptop bag. My point being that the souvenir bag would be a 3rd item and not allowed.

    • On the return trip, you won’t need most of the things packed in the initial carry on bag (ex. make-up, extra set of clothes), so using a souvenir bag as suggested works just fine. Just swap one bag for the other.

      • So you’re saying check the regular carry-on bag on the flight back? Which means then that I would be checking two bags: The carry-on plus my regular suitcase – costing more, since airlines charge for an additional checked bag. Sorry, I just don’t see a practical way around this idea. What you suggest Rebecca has given me another idea, though. Take OUT most of the things from my original carry-on: make-up, extra clothes, etc., as there is probably room for that in my suitcase, and just fill the carry-on with the souvenirs. Done and dusted. 🙂

  11. LOl why is your husband wearing knickers? I love when non english use terms and they dont know what theyre referring to. ‘Knickers’ are just for women

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