Tuesday, February 13, 2018

What to Pack for London in January

Finding out that you're headed to London only two weeks before leaving is a bit crazy y'all, especially for my uber-planning mind. I was kindaaaa freaking out that I didn't know what the weather was, what to pack, what to expect, what we were going to see, etc. (please tell me I'm not the only one?!). 
In the end, I totally overpacked and one of the most asked questions via direct message on Instagram was what to wear in London, from shoes to bags to coats, etc. So here ya go peeps, I hope you don't make the same overpacking mistakes as me! And let me know in the comments any questions you have that I didn't answer! 

Coming up next... our full itinerary of everywhere we went and all we did in our week across the pond!

IN MY SUITCASE:
1. Michael Kors Trench - If I could suggest any item for London it's this black trench or one similar (clearly this one is #goals)! It's super lightweight which makes it easy to roll up and throw in your suitcase or bag, it's waterproof and it has a hood. It's not the warmest, but as long as I had long sleeves and a scarf I was good. 

2. A Medium Weight Sweater (or five!) - I actually had one of my sweaters laundered while we were there because I needed that added layer under my trench. The one linked is totally not London style, but the preppy American in me can't get enough of the pink color with the blue bows down the back! I also love this onethis one and this one.

3. Black Waterproof Boots - I wore my Hunters a lot, but did have to wear them on the flight because they're so heavy and take up so much space. These cuties would have been my choice if I had time to order a pair. If money were no object, these boots would be my splurge. 

4. Warm Scarf - I couldn't find the exact scarf that I wore with my jacket most the time, but if I had had time, I would have ordered this one. I also wore my lightweight Burberry scarf (color: Ash Rose) a lot during the day when we luckily got great weather. 

5. Spanx Faux Leather Leggings - They hold ya in in all the right places and are stylish, I wore these way more than I would like to admit. I also wore my ankle Mother jeans non-stop. 

6. Download and set up your apps in advance! See my two "can't live withouts" below:

Citymapper - Not something to pack, but definitely download the Citymapper app before you go! It was seriously the only way I got around by myself while Ryan was working. It tells you what Tube to take down to every stop and turn. Speaking of Tubing - if you'll be using it a lot, just get an Oyster card before you get on the first time and you'll be good to go as long as it's "topped up" with enough money. Don't hassle with the zone ticketing. 

Apple Pay - Unless you're planning on using pounds the whole time, put your credit card in Apple Pay if you have an iPhone. Reason being, they expect credit cards to have a pin and American cards don't - so you have to sign every time which is a hassle because they bring the machine to your table (they aren't allowed to take your card away). So Apple pay makes "contactless" pay so easy by hovering your phone over the machine, no signature or pin needed. Also - make sure your credit card doesn't charge international rates before you go. The Capital One Venture card is the best travel card in our opinion! :)

7. Universal Travel Adapter - You may want to bring 2 of these per person. You'll need it for everything from your phone charger to your hair straightener (which you should check wattage on before you come!)

8. Warm Hat - This was best for night because it got so windy which made it instantly super cold. This hat was literally $15 off Amazon and was so cute and cozy.

9. Something to Track your Steps! - It was really fun to see all the steps I got while we were over there and I just used my Apple Watch. My best day was 22k steps which was almost a half marathon! Clearly not a must-have, but it did help me not have to pull my cell out on the Tube around a ton of people to check directions and time. 

10. My Adidas Originals - You know that 22k step day I mentioned? This is how I survived it without a single blister or foot ache. I love these shoes so much! They're gold and match everything and even bring a little stylish edge. Everyone over there wears tennis shoes (usually black ones) because you walk so much, so these are worth the $80 tag.  
BAGS:

A Backpack - Full transparency, this backpack didn't come in time for me to take it with me, but I've been carrying it ever since (thanks Brette for the recco!) and can't get enough of it. If Sully had come along I would definitely have ordered this pink one and may still! My Louis Speedy with strap was perfect for the travel though because when the strap began to pull on my shoulder, I could move and hold it in my hands, which was also great for safety. We're actually in the market for new, larger suitcases if you have a recommendation! My favorites so far are here (I have the carryon size), here (confetti!) and here (#luggagegoals). 

WHAT NOT TO PACK:

What I shouldn't have packed were heels and flats (even though I wore them one day when I was feeling brave, bad choice). Also, I didn't wear a single dress and I LOVE a good dress. We tubed everywhere so even out to eat I had on pants because it was too cold. Workout gear - yep, I admit I didn't hit the hotel gym a single day, but I feel good about all the walking and stair climbing we did naturally :). Plus, wearing yoga pants out and about is not a thing over there. It was good for the plane and that's about it. 

CURRENCY EXCHANGE:

Currency exchange was another thing - if you have time and your bank offers it, get pounds from them there before you go. You may have to call your bank in advance to make sure they have the currency you need. We did this with euros when we went to France and Italy and it was great. On this trip though, time didn't allow and we just brought US dollars with us to London and exchanged it at the best exchange station we could find (they're everywhere so don't fear). 

CELL PHONE:

Finally, I got questions on my cell and data while over there. I opted to upgrade to Verizon's international data DAILY plan. So once I notified them and turned on international data, it charged me $10/day and just went off my already existing plan. I still had to be careful and turn data roaming off though because my data was used up by early evening when it was constantly on. Wi-fi will be your friend and luckily it is almost everywhere in London. 

I think that about covers it! Let me know in the comments or on Instagram any other questions you have. Cherrio darlings! ;)
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