10 STEPS TO PACKING FOR LONDON
To help simplify the packing process, we’ve created this 10 step packing guide for a trip to London. Make this your first stop
when planning your next trip. And don’t forget to download your free packing checklist!
I’m Going to London and Have No Idea What to Pack!
Planning a trip to London can be the dream of a lifetime until you realize you need to plan what to wear. Don’t stress! We’ve put together all the best tips from the entire blog so you can easily access everything in one easy location. Follow these tips for stress free packing for your dream trip:
Start by reading this guide on what to pack for London, which is a five part guide offering general packing information for London along with what to wear in spring, summer, autumn, and winter.
If you’re traveling between June-August, you’ll love this post on what to wear in London in the summer.
What to pack for London has everything to do with the weather. British fashion is partly defined by the country’s infamous grey skies. It’s unpredictable and changeable, but here’s a rule of thumb: when the weather forecast tells you that it will be sunny all week, be prepared for rain anyway.
For even more fashion tips, take a look at how to put together the perfect wardrobe for the top things to do in London.
If you’re traveling to other destinations in Europe in addition to London, use the guidelines explained in this Europe Packing Guide.
You might be surprised to learn that it is possible to travel carryon only even to a place with unpredictable and changeable weather like London. All you need is a strategic capsule wardrobe!
A capsule wardrobe is an essential concept to understand in order to create a minimal yet highly functional (and fashionable) travel wardrobe. Read this packing ebook to help you create the perfect travel wardrobe for your trip.
If you feel extremely overwhelmed at the idea of packing light or have a complicated itinerary, review this packing course which shows you specific techniques to plan around limited clothing choices, varying climates, and other unexpected life situations.
If you don’t see the information you’re looking for, post a question on TFG’s Facebook Group.
Check weather.com’s extended forecast in advance and 3 days before you leave. Think about how many days you will be in warm vs cold weather.
If you have a 10 day trip to London and will be spending 7 days in the cold and 3 days in warm weather, plan for 70% of your travel wardrobe to be for the cold and 30% to be for the heat.
If you are only spending a short amount of time in cold weather or if you’re unsure if you will encounter cold weather on your trip, pack only the essentials: two outerwear PLUS two additional items: long sleeve top and leggings.
If your trip shows both cool and warm weather, please read this packing guide for mixed weather trips.
I’ve created this easy three part guide on how to pack for cold weather to help you stay warm while packing light.
Knowing how to pack for cold weather travel can be quite daunting especially if you want to pack light. If you’re traveling in winter, bundle up!
There is one major difference between being at home in the winter and traveling when it’s cold: the amount of time you’ll spend outdoors. When you’re traveling, you’ll likely spend extended periods of time outdoors sightseeing. Don’t be unprepared. Consider layering lightweight clothing such as the ones featured in this winter packing list to minimize the need for bulky sweaters and coats.
You can even wear leggings or tights under jeans or pants for extra warmth. If you’re not used to the climate, add additional layers until you feel warm. Don’t forget essential winter accessories like a scarf, hat, and gloves!
Picking the best shoes for travel to London will be one of your biggest challenges so start by reading this 10 step guide to packing the best travel shoes for any trip.
One unexpected issue that many travelers discover once they get to European cities are the cobblestone streets. While great to look at, stone streets aren’t always the easiest to walk on and can make for sore feet even if you don’t normally have discomfort. Depending on the city, these streets can also be hilly, slippery when wet, and uneven. Find out how to choose the best shoes for London here.
My biggest piece of advice is to choose function over fashion. Really? Yes! The last thing you want is to allow pulsing, injured, or tired feet prevent you from enjoying the trip of a lifetime.
Bring no more than three pairs opting for shoes that match all your clothing. Pack one pair for sightseeing (walking), one pair of any special activities you have planned, and then a third pair to either dress up your outfits or one that’s appropriate for a change in weather.
These are the best shoes for sightseeing in the cold and these are the best shoes for sightseeing in the heat. Black ankle boots like these are the most recommended shoes for London when dealing with either cold or mixed weather.
Please read these posts for more Europe travel shoe inspiration:
Please note: ballet flats are a popular travel shoe option when you want a dressier look but they are NOT recommended for long hours on your feet sightseeing.
Choose one of these cute and comfortable walking shoes instead – they’re the options most recommended by our readers!
British fashion isn’t quite as chic as the French, and it isn’t always as slouchy as American fashion or as zany as Australian fashion. It can be edgy or conservative. But one thing’s for sure: just like the rest of Europe, a good fit is key. And when in doubt, choose dressy over casual.
In general, day-to-day European style is more dressy than American style. This DOES NOT mean business clothing. Think dressy top (or the type of top you’d wear to work) plus nice jeans (dark colors are always a good choice).
When it comes to jeans, a slim or skinny jean style is preferred to a bootcut. An ankle length pant is the perfect length; no longer, no shorter. If you’re not a pants person, black tights paired with skirts or dresses is perfectly acceptable.
Like anywhere, pack for the environment. Are you spending your time café crawling in the cities or getting lost in the wilderness? As with most destinations, practical sense applies. Leave the beachwear on the beach because it doesn’t translate well to streetwear in the city.
The same goes for gym wear; unless you’re actually headed to the gym, don’t dress in your gym attire.
There are many misconceptions about what should and shouldn’t be worn in Europe. To clarify a couple of the most common myths: you DON’T need to wear slacks or business clothing to sightsee and locals DO wear athletic shoes especially these – they just tend to wear them with a fashionable outfit.
One of the most important aspects about packing efficiently is using luggage organizers.
Watch this packing video to learn how to use packing cubes to maximize space and never check a bag again. These are the top 12 reasons why I prefer packing cubes to other organizers. We recommend these packing cubes – they’re ours!
Start with luggage. If you don’t already own a suitcase, choose one wisely. Read these tips on how to pick a suitcase and consider one of these top brands. Make your life easy with our best suitcase recommendations.
Use packing organizers. Do you want to know the ultimate tool to travel in a carryon? PACKING CUBES! They changed everything for me and thousands of other travelers. See my packing tutorial on how to use them! Trust me, they are a must!
Use tried and tested packing strategies. For a summary, read our top 75 packing tips.
I’ve recently taken on a few extreme packing challenges to show you that packing carry-on only is possible for any trip. If I can pack like an ultra-minimalist (with style of course) then you can pack more comfortably in a regular carry-on. Watch these packing videos to learn more:
Watch all my packing videos here!
The biggest mistake travelers make with toiletries is not considering how much product they actually use. There are five key steps when it comes to downsizing your toiletries properly for a trip:
- Find combination items. You can find two-in-one shampoos and conditioners, body cleanser that can double as shave gel, a foldable brush with a mirror attached on the handle, and multi-use makeup products.
- Purchase empty containers of various shapes and sizes and DO NOT default to choosing “travel size 100ml or 3oz” options. These are the best travel containers.
- Stick to the basics. Simplify your skincare and pampering routine and bring a capsule makeup collection. It’s only temporary.
- Replace liquid beauty products with solids. While solid toiletries may not help you downsize they will help you meet the carryon 3-1-1 liquids rule.
- Choose the right toiletry bag. These are the best toiletry bags and these are the best hanging toiletry bags.
For useful tips such as downsizing toiletries and choosing the best travel makeup, read our Ultimate Guide to Packing Toiletries. It includes a free printable checklist!
Don’t forget about safety: Be cautious about where you stash your cash. The safest place for your passport is locked in your accommodation. Carry a photocopy or other ID when you’re sightseeing or are out at night.
Keep your valuables safe with these anti-theft products:
- Money Belts and Anti-theft Accessories
- Best Anti-theft Bags for Women
- 6 Tools to Protect Your From Pickpockets in Europe
- 10 Tried and Tested Tips to Avoid Theft While Traveling
Read these tips on how to keep your passport safe when you travel!
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BONUS SECTION: TRAVEL TIPS
Aside from reading Wikitravel and travel blogs, we still believe in a good old-fashioned travel guide for maps, suggested itineraries, local history, basic language phrases, and other practicalities.
Your can download any of the below guides as ebooks or buy the print copies.
These are a few popular London guidebooks:
The Tube is a popular option to visit the site’s in London. Make sure to purchase an Oyster Card for £5 and top up with just the amount you need for the duration of your trip. Your Tube rides will be less expensive and you can return the Oyster Card at the end of your trip to get your £5 reimbursed.
Tip: the city is very walkable! All the major sites are within walking distance so don’t rely on the Tube too much! Take a free walking tour when you arrive to London so you can get oriented with the city.
I prefer to to book “the entire home” instead of opting for shared accommodation on Airbnb. Aside from safety, I also like to feel like I’m living in the destination. It’s a small taste of local life plus you get more amenities than you would at a hotel such as a kitchen and washing machine.
Read these Airbnb tips for more info!
To maximize your vacation time, fly into the city where you’re starting your trip and out of the city where your trip ends. Many times it’s the same price and saves you from having to spend extra time and money to go back to where you started your trip.
For hostels, we recommend Hostelworld and Hostelbookers. Always read the reviews before booking to get the best idea if the hostel is right for you. Some are quiet and family friendly while others are known for their party atmosphere.
As a personal tip, if you’re backpacking, instead of booking all your nights in advance, maybe just book one or two so you can first get a feel for the place without overcommitting. Of course, should you be traveling during a special event or holiday, book in advance.
Not sure about staying at a hostel? Read this.
In the US it’s common to eat everyday meals with a fork. In London, however, it’s generally customary to use a knife and fork even if you’re eating in a casual restaurant. This small tip might help you blend in a little more than your clothing.
For travel, I recommend Travel Guard, which saved me over $800 in hospital bills on my round-the-world trip. As a scuba diver, I also recommend using DAN, which helped me rearrange my and my husband’s flights at no extra cost when we had a dive incident.
One of my favorite type of tours to do when I travel are food tours. In London, I received a complimentary tour by Eating London and it was awesome. Even my English husband was happy with the food on that tour!
For more city tours, New Europe has excellent tours and the best part? They’re free! All you have to do is tip your guide.
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