Reflection: What I could have done to better prepare myself for this trip

Going on vacations/trips away from home can be intimidating, if you look at the smaller things, such as what to pack or how to prepare. Every trip I take, I feel like I do something wrong in one of those areas, with this trip being no exception. Here are a couple of things I feel that I should have done better:

1. Pack more patience
Coming from the Boston area, it seems like a lot of people (myself included) have some lack of patience. This seems to be particularly evident while driving in the area- you will get honked at for not going on a green light a mere second after it turns green.

The first thing that made me think about this was when I ordered food from a sit-down restaurant. I was thinking to myself, “It’s just something simple, fish and chips, why is it taking so long? They get many orders for this throughout the day, why is it mine in particular that has a long wait time?”

It turns out that this seems to be one of the main differences between North America and Europe. It had been four years since I traveled to this region, but that was when I was younger and didn’t really care for my time as much as I do now. I should have known better about this- even the washing machine and oven take much longer to do their job here than back home. Clothes dryers are rare here, so I would have to hang everything up on a rack for clothes to dry. This will obviously take some time.

2. Take only what you need- not your entire wardrobe
This seems like common sense- but I regret packing a weeks’ worth of clothes (which is about 2/3 of my entire wardrobe) on this 2-week long trip (I am going on to Ireland for another week after the London trip is over). Like I said about the laundry previously, it will take a while to “turn around” a pile of dirty clothes by washing and drying them.

I got lucky when I measured my bag at the airport- it was under the 50 pound (23 kg) limit by quite a bit. The bag seemed too full inside with all of my clothes- but there might be room to spare with gifts to take home. (I don’t usually buy gifts when going on vacation- I find it to be a waste of money)

I ended up (so far) using only about 4 days’ worth of clothes at a time and washing them as soon as I get a chance to do so- keeping everything fresh. I feel like this is very dependent on the clothes you typically wear- for me, it’s quite simple, a long-sleeve shirt and a pair of jeans. However, you might want to bring something nice to wear for theater (which there is no shortage of in London).

Overall, I hope these tips will come in handy for anyone who reads them, even if it’s me several years down the line.