4 Tips for travelling safe in London
Dick Whittington came to London as he thought the streets were paved with gold, let me tell you as someone that lives here that they are not. London is rife with inequality, poverty, homelessness, and a hell of a lot of people that are not all the ticket.
Most likely you will have an amazing time I don’t want to put you off as there are lots of cool things to see and do and great bars and places to eat but when travelling here you need to be mindful of these things.
Central London where most of the tourist hot spots are they are generally policed and there are lots of camera’s but even, so it is imperative to be self-aware and aware of your friends if you are out with them and ensure you look after each other.
The tubes are pretty safe and run from 5AM until around midnight and in general are super busy so you won’t feel alone more likely you will feel squashed probably stuck under some unwashed persons armpit gagging until you reach your stop.
I will advise you though to make sure you stand way behind the yellow line so there is no chance of you falling onto the tracks and if the tube doors shut don’t try to force them it breaks them and pisses everyone off.
If you are stuck on the inside and your friend didn’t make it on just get off at the next stop and wait for them to catch the next tube. Something else to note, don’t wear your backpack on your back on the tube, take it off and hold it by your side its so bloody rude to wear it and some poor persons face who is standing next you are getting a mouthful of your bag.
Sometimes homeless people ride the tube, they will get on at each carriage and tell you a story about how they are trying to get into a shelter and hold out a cup for your spare change. Its up to you if you want to give some change most people don’t as the advice from the homeless charities is the money is used to buy alcohol and drugs and lining the pockets of dealers and killing the person so don’t feel you have to. Obviously not every homeless person is in that situation some people are genuinely hungry, use your discernment and never be unkind.
If you are on the tube for example towards the end of a line early in the morning or late at night and you are in a carriage alone or more a less alone with someone that seems not all the ticket, get off at the next stop and move to another carriage or move closer to a person/s that look more normal.
Also don’t stare at people on the tube, read your book, phone or kindle or check out the posters at the top of the carriage. Staring is considered rude and intrusive if you do not have things to look at then check out the whole carriage don’t just focus on the person in front of you.
Do not put your bags on seats, your bag did not pay for a ticket! Keep your bags if small on your lap or between your legs, that applies for sitting or standing. If you have large bags like a suitcase, then you need to put it in the main gangway against the glass panel where no one can trip over it.
When going up and down the escalators stand on the right-hand side and keep your bags suitcases etc with you on the right-hand side not blocking the left. The left is for people to walk up and down if you block the left, you may be confronted by an angry in a rush person.
Keep your rubbish with you, do not throw it away on the tube the escalators or the tracks, one its filthy to do that and two it’s a fire hazard find a bin when you get off and throw it away properly.
The tube is tidy but dirty, looks run down is overcrowded overpriced and has infamous tiny little black mice running all over it which is exciting to see when you have had one to many, but it is fast and the wait time between tubes is 1-5 minutes and is by far the best way to get around in London
Watch your stuff
There are organised gangs of thieves and pick pockets and the odd lone chancer who can spot a tourist or even a non-paying attention local a mile away and see your open bag as that evening’s meal ticket.
Keep your bags sealed, buttoned, zipped only allowing your own hands to rummage for content. Likewise, when you are off guard in bars and restaurants don’t leave your wallet and phone lying around that goes for drinks too.
If you are going to the bar to get another drink or going to the toilet either take your drink with you or ensure the friend, you are with is super vigilant to watch your glass and not be distracted until you come back. Also don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know.
Be mindful when walking down the street using your phone, one for personal safety to keep your wits about you and two for the snatchers who run/moped/scoot past you and before you know it your precious walking photo album is in the clutches of someone else.
If you are wearing expensive jewellery or watches don’t be showing it off otherwise you are pretty much a walking target. Wait until you get to the nice restaurant or the theatre to peacock your display of wealth and show off your trinkets in all their glory but until then keep them covered.
The emergency services are available on your phone dial at 999 that is police, fire and ambulance. Don’t be afraid to call them if yourself or someone else is in dire need of assistance. You call up they ask what your emergency is and then you are put through to the correct team, you give some details of the incident and will be advised what to do next or an incident team will be called out to the situation in question.
There may be incidents where for example you are harassed in some way against your consent, on public transport in a restaurant or bar or even in the street. Tell someone, tell a station manager, a bus driver a shop keeper a bar person and they will assist you to safety and contact the authorities if required.
End of the night self-care
Try and go home or back to your hotel with your companion, if you are leaving alone then make sure someone knows that a) You are leaving and b) Where you are going.
If you can afford it get a licenced taxi back to your dwellings if you are bussing it if the tube is shut, then ensure you know exactly where you are going and when you are off the bus ensure you keep to well lit roads. Carry a personal alarm if you can and have an arrangement with your friends that you will text them when you get home, so they know you are OK.
Walk confidently don’t be staring at your feet and be spatial aware taking a few self defence lessons will enable you to not only walk In this city but in cities around the world and feel a bit more at ease not because you can beat anyone to the ground but you may develop the confidence to run instead of freezing if confronted by someone and more able to get help.
Stay Safe & happy travels x