Traveling To The Summer Olympics

Every four years, the Summer Olympics is the hottest event around the world. Tens of thousands of Olympians, families, coaches, support staff, and vacationers head to the host country for the two-week event. It is something unmatched in size and splendor, which means planning a trip there can make your experience enjoyable or miserable.

This year, the Olympics are in London, England from July 27 through August 12. Here are some travel tips to help you get there and return home in once piece.

Travel Lightly
International travel comes with its own set of challenges, like needing to arrive at the airport three hours in advance, possibly having your belongings inspected by customs agents, and declaring what you’re bringing in and out of country. Pack light – airlines charge hefty fees for extra and overweight bags, and full flights offer little overhead space for anything other than carryon bags.

If you’re staying for the full event, remember that your clothing can be laundered, so you can bring fewer changes of clothes than you might initially think. Devices like laptop computers, tablets, cameras, and smartphones all add extra weight. Bring only what you need to make your stay more enjoyable and productive.

Remember, you’re going to have to deal with your luggage as you make your way through customs upon arrival in England. You and several thousand others could be doing this at the same time, meaning wait times can be excessive.

When it Rains it Pours
In case you’re unaware, it tends to rain in England and the precipitation levels in 2012 are high. If you’re unprepared for this, you could find yourself having a miserable time. You should bring proper raingear or purchase it upon arrival, including a waterproof hat and jacket, an umbrella, and if you’re going to be spending any considerable amount of time outdoors on foot, waterproof shoes.

Dress in warm layers and be prepared for rainstorms to appear seemingly out of nowhere, similar to weather patterns in Seattle, Washington.

Local Currency Rates
Traveling overseas means using local currency for your transactions. In some countries, the U.S. dollar is worth more, in others not as much. In England, you will need to have British Pounds at your disposal. Presently, each £1 (one British Pound) will cost you approximately $1.60. Exchange rates like this can take travelers by surprise and leave them unprepared for the overall expense of their trip. Plan accordingly when traveling to England this summer. Every £1,000 you spend will cost you roughly $1,600. Sometimes exchanging money before you leave will save you the hassle of a high exchange fee.

Travel to Olympic Events
Like any other major metropolitan area around the world, there are plenty of ways to get around London during the Olympics. For starters, it’s a great city to walk, and for short treks this will no doubt be your preferred methods. Cabs are also plentiful around London, but expect to share them everywhere you go. The best bet is to purchase an Oyster card (public transit pass). This will help you save as much as 40 percent on transportation costs versus single-ticket purchases, and will give you the freedom to hop any bus or train at a moment’s notice.

Additionally, any event ticket will also give you free passage on any public transportation head to the event. It should be noted there is no public parking at any Olympic event.

Be Patient
London is simultaneously big and small, and during the Olympics a lot of additional people will be everywhere you want to be. This means long lines at stores and shops, restaurants and pubs, places of interest, and of course the events themselves. A little courtesy knowing everyone there is also in the same boat will go a long way to making your stay at the 2012 London Olympics one you’ll remember forever, and for all the right reasons.

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