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Three things you'd better know before visiting London this year

 Seeing London for the first time can be a transformative and once-in-a-lifetime experience. It is home to some of the most visited tourist attractions and destinations in Northwestern Europe, so it only makes sense that it should be on every traveler's itinerary list at least once in their lives.

There are several questions to cross any first-time visitor's mind before putting foot in a new city or country, with most regarding tipping etiquette, what lesser-known opportunities the geographical position provides, and what tourists are primarily drawn to that specific place.

As such, this article won't touch on already highly-debated topics like popular tourist destinations, but rather on matters that likely raise questions but need to be more widely discussed. So, let's uncover London like a genuine first-time visitor!

Free Photo of People Walking in the Street Stock Photo

Photo source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-people-walking-in-the-street-813362/ 

You'll mostly come across visitors from the US, Germany, France, and Italy

When visiting a new destination, some of the burning questions to pop into the average traveler's mind are how they will be received there, how they will understand the culture, and who they will interact with. Before planning an itinerary, having an idea of the people you will meet can help you get into the traveling mood faster. While Londoners are known to have a polite and welcoming attitude, it's often not them that you bump into when exploring sites that mostly attract tourists. For this reason, it's worth knowing that if your native language isn't English, you'll do just fine with German, Italian, or French, as these countries rank among the most prominent visitors to the capital of the United Kingdom.

Besides these categories, many travelers in the rainy capital come from the United States. Tourist attractions such as Big Ben, the London Eye, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, and so on draw nationals from the "land of limitless possibilities.” The city's abundance of exhibitions, galleries, and museums have also positioned it among the most culturally rich destinations to explore in the Northwestern part of Europe, making Americans engage in trips from several days to weeks. They're booking accommodation, parking and airline tickets and hit the road to see one of the most sought-after European destinations. Leaving the car in a secure and monitored environment is a noteworthy way of ensuring the vacation starts on the right foot, and the vehicle is safe when returning home. With Boston Logan Airport parking, securing a parking spot near or at the airport is easy, safer, and more price-conscious than leaving the car anywhere else.

As you can see, if you're traveling to London from the US, France, Italy, and Germany, don't be surprised if you stumble upon someone you know from home. And if you're planning a trip with your friends, make sure to check reliable parking providers and remove the hassle of transporting lots of bags to the airport and back home. Every necessary detail you need, you can find at Parkos in just a few clicks.

Londoners have flexible tipping etiquette

While tipping is a tradition hugely indulged in worldwide, it can also be seen as an exchange of compliments. The service receiver rewards the provider based on how well they performed their duties, whether they want to encourage a newcomer in the domain or inspire the employee to provide better results the next time they're solicited. On the other hand, tipping is a significant cultural practice that varies depending on the traveler's destination.

The importance of this custom as a rewarding or kind gesture is hard to deny, as they're deeply involved in many nations' social norms. If in the United States, the amount you'd generally leave for a restaurant service varies between 15% and 25% of the total bill, in the United Kingdom, somewhere between 10% and 15% is enough to show appreciation and ensure you've left a good impression, should you return in the establishment. The tipping etiquette here leaves room for interpretation. Visitors wonder where, when, and how they should tip, as there are no hard rules to follow. On the other hand, Londoners aren't seen as the greatest tippers around. While not grasping the etiquette of the destination you're visiting can seem award, the fact that there's no one-size-fits-all measure is relieving as you're not bound to tip a specific amount, but only how much you consider.

To keep in mind: Some restaurants may include the tipping sum on the bill at the end of the service, so make a habit out of analyzing the receipt thoroughly. You may discover that some venues charge a predetermined amount of 12.5 cents per consummation. 

You can easily visit destinations in the vicinity during one-day trips

Probably among the best things about London is that inflation-busting one-day trips to the surrounding countries are possible and easily planned. Many Londoners and foreign visitors take advantage of the country's geographical position and the myriad opportunities to discover nearby destinations, with Germany, the Netherlands, and France encompassing the most popular travel destinations. Say you're staying in London for an extended period and are willing to see some beautiful neighboring places. Then you can easily hop on a plane, arrange some exciting tours of Europe, and visit some of the following touristic cities:

  • Amsterdam – at around 4 hours distance

  • Paris – lasting about 2 and 40 minutes

  • Berlin – spending about 2 hours on the plane

  • Marseille – taking nearly two hours to arrive.

While it may sound challenging, booking as much as possible in advance will save you a lot of trouble.

One of the newbie mistakes you're prone to make when going to London for the first time is leaving things to fate, thinking you'll figure out the places you want to visit when you get to that point. This is not the savviest approach, as you may be prone to lose money and time trying to get it all done on the spot or miss the chance to visit the places you're longing. Booking everything you can in advance will translate to better prices, more choices, and less time spent in the queue.

These are the most common, yet not asked, questions for travelers exploring London for the first time. Is there any other aspect you're interested in that hasn't been addressed in this post?

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