Lessons in London

Written by juliabernstein February 19, 2024

 Ciao! I am pleased to say that my first big travel weekend was a success. I went to London, and I can confidently say I loved the city. Everything was breathtaking from the food to the history and architecture. As much as I loved traveling to London, it was not all smooth sailing and needless to say I learned a few important lessons. 

Lesson one: Learn about the city’s public transportation system. Before going to London, I investigated the city’s transportation system to see what options I had to choose from.  However, I did not realize how many kinds of transportation there would be, nor did I anticipate the multitude of ways to pay for transportation. With my lack of knowledge about the cheapest and most efficient way to travel using public transportation, I spent too much money on my train ticket from the airport to my hostel. Later in the evening, I looked further into the ins and outs of transportation and realized that purchasing a paper ticket was the most expensive way to pay for the train. This was exactly what I did on my first train ride. My next time on the train I used tap to pay which intimidated me a little bit, but it turned out to be super effective and inexpensive. Once I figured out how to use the transportation effectively, I enjoyed the ease of getting around the city. This experience has taught me that I will benefit from doing a bit more research on different countries’ transportation systems before traveling.  

Lesson two: Make sure everyone you travel with is on the same page. When I was planning this trip with my friend, I thought we were both in agreement on how much we would be spending on this trip. However, once we got to London and began planning things to do, I quickly realized we had two very different budgets in mind. My travel partner wanted to do some things that I did not have the money for, and I had to pay more money than I anticipated because of this. Even though I had to spend more money than I planned for, I still had fun. This was a good learning experience for me and let me know that in the future I need to make sure that everyone I go with has a similar budget in mind. 

Lesson three: Put the phone down. Yes, phones are a great tool for traveling, especially with the variety of helpful apps like the GPS and the camera. However, the number of people who kept their phones out to take pictures of every small thing they saw shocked me. It felt like everyone was traveling to the city just for pictures to post online when they went home, and it made me a little sad. I got to talk to one of the local people in the area and learned that most tourists who visit are so obsessed with getting the perfect picture for their social media that they forget to immerse themselves in the city and its culture. I thought about what I learned later that night and decided they were right. We are often so stuck on getting the best quality photo for our social media that we forget to take in the beauty of the places around us. After this, I kept my phone in my pocket until I had fully appreciated the beauty and culture around me. Only after learning about where I was visiting and taking everything in did I take my phone out for a picture. This significantly lessened the time on my phone and allowed me to learn so much more about London. I feel that putting my phone down and living in the moment allowed me to enjoy the trip so much more. I would have to say this was the most important thing I learned and from now on I plan to experience the places I visit before pulling out my phone for a photo. I am confident this will let me really learn about and appreciate the world around me.  

While things could have gone smoother during this trip the lessons I learned are priceless and have left me feeling more prepared for my future adventures. I know I will put the lessons I learned to use in my future travels, and I am excited to see where I will go next.