I’ve made my packing and to do lists and checked them off (hopefully with none missing). Here are some of my essentials that were found on my packing list that you may have not thought about:
–vitamin C, water and hand sanitizer; as MSc Public Health students we should know or have had the importance of hygiene and healthy immune systems drilled into us to combat those in-flight/airport germs and be prepared for the high cold and flu season
–unlocked iphone and portable smartphone charger; because I personally would be completely useless without GoogleMaps or equivalent, and want to reduce my recall bias for documenting the events for this blog :)
–student visa documents; I brought my student offer letter from LSHTM, proof of travel insurance and funds to show I can sustain myself, return flight information and address of temporary residence (Please note this is not an exclusive list and the university has its requirements and links to immigration websites for the most accurate information)
–a good book and/or homework to get you through the waiting game of traveling; I have both considering I flew and commuted a total of 20 hours!
–melatonin or equivalent sleep aids; if you are traveling multiple time zones, it may be worth bringing a few sleep aids to quickly move through your jet lag
I have been to London a few times before but only as a tourist with a flexible schedule and a traveling buddy. After being sleep deprived from the plane ride, hungry, exhausted from carrying my luggage and feeling a bit foul from the fluxuating hot and cold temperatures, it was a different experience. Had I be able to go back in time I would have given this advice to myself in the state I was in:
–do not rely exclusively on GoogleMaps: I found myself taking what looked to be a 1 hour commute to get to my friend’s place, but actually took me 2hours and cost £24.50 because I had forgotten the Heathrow Express was not the only way out of Heathrow airport
–ask at least 3 people before believing their directions: there seems to be a high concentration of tourists and short-term residents of London in the major transit hubs (not surprisingly), so do not take the first persons directions unless they seem absolutely confident and you trust them. London is another scale of cityscape that even the transit and information desk help didn’t know the area and method to get to where I needed to go.
–wear reasonable footwear: heels, pumps or any sort of shoe that is not flat and comfortable will leave you tripping every few blocks. It takes time to gain the skill to walk on constant uneven pavements, so be prepared to have some clumsy moments.
Until next time.
Jillian is studying the MSc in Public Health.