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What to Pack
When You Come to London

So you have finally done it!  You have booked your plane ticket to London, you have booked your accommodations (at least we hope so, if not, we can help: http://www.studios92.com/ ), you have bought your guidebook to plan for all the trips you want to take take around Europe and you have your parent's blessing (even if they are disguising it by crying).  Now comes the dreaded part:  What the heck am I going to pack, what am I going to pack it in and how is everything going to fit?

The Staff of Studios92 is here to help (or at least try to help)!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Using a couple of travelling scenarios, the staff of Studios92 will use their "real" experiences to give you some ideas.

 

1st Staff Member

The Background: 
I am female, a Canadian and a part time officer in the Army (we are supposed to know how to pack properly).  I came over to London to work and travel for six months, mainly during the winter months.  I didn't know what type of work I would get so I made sure to bring dressy and casual clothes.  I also brought some gym clothes because I though I'd be working out (that hasn't happened as of yet).  Be warned that I am a BE PREPARED type of person so I may have brought a lot more than you are willing to carry.

The Luggage: 
1 large suitcase (with wheels), 1 large backpack, 1 small backpack, 1 handbag (not too bad to lug around everything, I had one backpack on the front and one at the back which looked pretty funny, thank goodness I got picked up at the tube station by Dino).

The Contents:
Clothing:  1 polar fleece jacket, 1 Gortex jacket, 1 polar fleece vest, 3 pairs jeans, 2 pairs cargo pants, 3 pairs dress pants, 2 skirts, 5 short sleeve shirts, 3 long sleeve shirts, 2 blouses, 4 sweaters (you will need at least two regardless of the season), 2 track pants, one sweatshirt, 3 T-shirts, 2 pairs pajamas, socks and underwear for two weeks, scarf, small gloves                      

Shoes: (wore the heaviest and bulkiest ones on the plane): hiking boots, sneakers, winter boots, black dress shoes, shower sandels (especially if you are staying at hostels)               

Toiletries: (bought brand new everything before I left) : 1 towel, 1 pack towel (mini super absorbent Viscose towel), 2 face cloths, 1 puff, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap with dish, face wash, gel, hairspray, moisturizer, toothbrush/paste, dental floss (apparently if you buy the right needle you can use this as thread to mend clothing etc), contact solution/case, extra contacts (remember to take your prescription with you, same goes for glasses), travel bottles of the major toiletries  (for weekend trips) , make-up (minimal), shaving cream, razors (pack of 15), 20 tampons, 10 maxi pads

Extras:  
Money belt, Let's Go London 2002, battery alarm clock, 6 hangers, mini first aid kit (bandaids, moleskin, Tylenol, Wet naps, Immodium), vitamins, walkman, 1 book, journal (glad I brought one), extra pens/highlighters, mini flashlight, mini umbrella (a necessity in London), clipboard with paper, folders to hold resume, transcripts etc., travel clothesline (nylon parachute cord), 6 clothes pins, address book, ziploc bags, combo lock, mini locks, stain remover towellettes, tweezers, nail clippers, copies of important documents (passport, travel insurance, plane ticket), extra passport photos (use for London tube travelcard, your job may require them), water bottle, lightweight laundry bag, sunglasses  

Tips:
- to make everything fit, roll it tightly, you'll also have less wrinkles    
          
- make sure to distribute the weight evenly especially in a back pack, put your heaviest items at the top of your backpack 

- stick your underwear in your shoes (don't waste space) 

 - for a week-end (or week long) trip, travel toiletry bottles are fantastic 

- you can never bring enough ziploc bags, you will use them all the time  

 -use different coloured stuff sacks and ditty bags to compartmentalize your undergarments, T-shirts etc. 

 -buy a man's shaving kit bag at a department store for your toiletries

-try having only 1-3 colors (black, tan, olive) in your wardrobe and make sure that every piece will coordinate with every other piece, think about how to layer your clothing, use accessories 

 -use 2-in-1 shampoo to save space, if you're backpacking try Camp Suds which will wash your hair, body, clothes, dishes, you name it  

 - bring a small sew kit (I forgot mine)

 - if you are bringing any appliances and you are from North America (110V) you need to bring both an adapter (so it can plug in) and a converter (to 220V so you don't fry your appliance)

-some things you may want to add to my list:  long johns in the winter, sink stopper, sleep sheet for hostels (silk is expensive but really light), duct tape, ear plugs, Swiss Army knife 

 -some things you may want to eliminate: multi-vitamins, gym clothes (I mean who are we kidding here), tampons and maxi pads (you'll find your brand in London)

-put your reading materials, puzzles etc in a stiff manila envelope and once you're done you can mail it home, less for you to carry (I read that while researching when I was packing to come over) 

-before you arrive to London find a tube map either in a guidebook (I cut mine out and put it on the inside cover of my journal) or on the Internet and PLAN your route from the airport to your hotel/ hostel/ room, after an 8 hour flight with hardly any sleep the last thing you want to be worrying about is finding a tube map and navigating your way there 

-to save space and reduce weight you can cut out only the sections that you need out of your guidebook, punch 3 holes and put it in a small binder                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

2nd Staff Member

The Background:  
I am a 22 year old female Australian.  I came over to London for a three week holiday to visit some friends but have extended my stay for a total of 5-6months. (I know...I know.......I just couldn't bear to leave the place!.......much to the disgrace (or jealousy) of family and friends back home). So I packed for a 3 week holiday and now it is going on 3 months......I've managed to cope with what I brought with me, in addition to purchasing a Jacket from the Camden Markets and a few extra necessities like woolly gloves and a scarf. (I don't think they sell these items in sunny Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast!)

The Luggage:  
1 small suitcase, 1 cabin-size suitcase on wheels and a  small day backpack, 1 purse.

The Contents:
Clothes: 
2 pairs Jeans, 3 pairs of dress pants, 2 T-Shirts, 3 Knit long sleeve tops,  tracksuit pants and jumper, 1 blouse, 3 tops, twin set top & cardy, 2 woolly jumpers,  1 sexy clubbing top (like I'm gonna pick up!), flannelette PJs (couldn't be wif out 'em!), 3 pair ankle socks, 4 dress socks, 5 Knee-high opaque stocking socks (these are great cause they keep your legs warm too! .......and they are small to pack......be sure to get opaque as they will last much longer thru the wash), 6 bra & undies set plus extra undies.

Shoes: Black leather semi casual / dressy shoes (could wear with jeans or dress pants), Nike trainers (for those energetic days!........what eva!!)

Toiletries: Travel size shampoo & conditioner in one, Toothbrush & Paste, Facial Cleanser, Eye Make-up remover, MAKE -UP!!, hair brush, hand/body moisteriser cream, refresh eye drops, cotton buds, cotton wool make up pads, 2 razors, perfume, mini talcum powder, Panadol, berroca (best known hangover remedy I know!), tweezers, pill, condoms, tampons & pads.

Extras: Passport, travel insurance papers, Sony Discman and favorite cds, book / magazines for the plane, diary with all contact numbers and addresses, tacky Aussie memorabilia for friends in the UK, Digital Camera with lead and software to download anywhere in the UK, Lonely Planet London Guide, sunglasses (haven't used them yet!), alarm clock (not that it actually gets me out of bed!),

Tips:
Packing: Always a major dilemma for females.....boys have it easy!
- when packing.....pack all heavy stuff at the back of your suit case....therefore when you pick you suitcase up all the light stuff doesn't get crushed.
- to avoid excess luggage charges......pack heavy stuff in your carry-on luggage.....most airlines don't check the weight of these bags. (only the dimensions)
- wear your heaviest clothing items
- take a couple of empty plastic bags to use for dirty laundry
- pack clothes that you can mix & match with other items
- take clothes that don't require special clean ie. dry cleaning, ironing, separate hand washing etc. (makes life a little easier)

The plane trip: wowee!! what a mission 20-22 hours from Brisbane .......its extremely exhausting but totally worth it when you arrive!
- Be sure to drink plenty of water and if you cant sleep, try to get up out of your chair every 1-2 hours to stretch your legs, walk up and down the aisle and keep that blood flowing! (great way to check out if there's any hot guys on the plane!!)
- wear comfy shoes that  you can slip off  (only if u don't have smelly feet of course!)
- Take a book, pack of cards etc to keep you amused.
- If the plane isn't full......attempt to get a couple of empty seats together....much nicer if you can stretch out.
- try to avoid alcohol...(I know its hard to when its free but it makes you very dehydrated and that nice tipsy feeling doesn't last all that long.)
- most flights stop over in Asia....... take a change of clean underwear and a clean shirt to change into so you feel fresh going back onto the plane.

When arriving to London.....your first contact with London Public Transport....  
(VERY IMPORTANT ADVICE!)
The London Underground:
- Be aware that there is a correct etiquette on the London Underground.....you must always keep to the right when on the escalators so those who are in a hurry can scurry their way past you with out knocking you down in the process.
- If you a traveling a on more than one or two tubes during the day....it is best to purchase a travel card which can be used the entire day (these also get you on any of the red buses all day).
- when on the tube.......best not to stare at anyone for too long.....people tend to be rather snobby therefore its definitely not a place to make new friends! And if you are single.......be warned....you will also notice an annoying amount of couples always groping each other right next to you! (I've never seen anything like it!)
- Oh.......and take no mercy when it comes to getting a seat on the tube......people are very feisty when it comes to scoring a seat. (but as my colleague just reminded me.....you must always do the right thing and give your seat up for the elderly and for pregnant mummies).


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