London is a world-class city, whether you’re a tourist or a business traveller. However, between its size and level of activity, navigating through the city can be a challenge. Here are a few tips on how to hack your next London business trips, saving you time, money and hassle.
Choose your accommodation wisely
If you’re going to London for business, the odds are that you’re going to visit Central London. For the sake of your own sanity, it is wise to book accommodation in the area, as then you know you won’t be late for your meeting or struggling to reach your suburban hotel. Give priority to hotels that are conveniently located near the Underground unless you’re hiring a taxi. Paying a little more for convenient accommodation can save you a lot of time and hassle. Don’t pick a hotel that caters to tourists unless it happens to be convenient to where you’re going on business.
Simplify your travel plans
While London’s Underground is probably going to be used on your trip, pay as you go is probably fine unless you’re going to be staying for more than a week or traveling on the tube a lot. If you’re in the first category, you can pay with contactless cards and phone payments. If you’re in the second category, go ahead and get an Oyster card. If you’re coming for an extended visit, then invest in a Travelcard. The Travelcard provides unlimited travel within certain zones for a single, up-front fee. Conversely if you’re only staying in in Central London, a zone 1-only pass is the better choice.
There’s a side benefit to the pay as you go Oyster card – you can use it to board the Thames Clippers. If you have an Oyster Travelcard, you’ll only get a discount on fares.
If you’re arriving in London in advance of a meeting but have luggage with you, some apps will allow you to check for insured storage of luggage in the London area. Then you can head to your business meeting, return for your possessions, and then head on to the hotel. That’ll save you a lot of back and forth.
Learn what will make navigating London easier
Always carry a Tube map with you. This ensures that you can navigate when there is no mobile phone coverage, or your phone battery has drained. Wi-Fi coverage on the Tube is limited to stations, so don’t expect to check directions or information while the train is moving. There’s another reason to carry maps like this, and it is that they have information on bus routes, river routes and cycle hire points. You’ll be able to connect with public transit above ground because of information on the Tube map.
The ideal situation is arriving a day early and learning to navigate the Tube, but many people don’t have time for that. However, knowing station distances can help you, too, because sometimes it is faster to walk than to take the train. A side benefit of walking is that you’ll save on transit costs.
Being on a business trip is not an excuse to be lethargic. As a matter of fact, London has tons of accommodations if you want to stay on track with your regular workout routine. If you’re into jogging, then you’ll have tons of great parks at your disposal. St James’ Park and Green Park near Buckingham Palace are both great spots to break a sweat while doing some Queen spotting. Regent’s Park is another very popular spot among joggers; and if you want a challenge, you can always go for a jog up Primrose Hill and enjoy the beautiful view.
You could also hop on the Thames riverside pathway and see some of the city’s most famous landmarks while getting a workout. However, some of the popular areas will be crawling with tourist activity during the day, so if you want to enjoy some peace and quiet, we suggest you go early in the morning.
Know where to eat
Chances are you’ll do a lot of eating out while in the city, so it’s always wise to know a few spots before you go. If you want to grab some authentic fish and chips, there are plenty of pubs and hidden gems around the city where you can pick this up for cheap. If you’re more health conscious, than Detox Kitchen and Good Life Eatery are great alternatives.
If it’s for a business meal, a place like L’Anima would be perfect. The restaurant is known for its sleek and avant garde look and is smack dab in the middle of the city. It’s also renowned for its outstanding dishes and great atmosphere. If you’re looking for something more upscale, than you could always go to Brasserie Zedel. This decorated French restaurant is located in the Piccadilly Circus area and is the perfect choice if you want to impress your clients while enjoying a 5 star meal.
It is possible to have a relatively smooth trip to and through London if you take the right steps before your trip. With a little planning, you can save yourself from the horror stories that we hope we can laugh about in a few years.