My 5 GOLDEN RULES for travelling on the London Underground

London is a big one on a lot of people’s bucket lists. And I must admit, there’s nothing quite like descending over the city and being able to spot buildings from your window seat. You’re not sure if it’s because you’ve been seated for 14+ hours or your excitement, and your legs are shaking away. You may have heard about Heathrow’s long queues to get through customs, but you may not of heard of another very important aspect of landing at Heathrow, and that’s getting the tube to your destination.

Ah the tube. At first it’s comically exciting. And then you realise you need to manoeuvre your suitcase up and down stairs, on and off trains and in between thousands of people.

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Make sure you can carry your stuff

There’s nothing worse than literally not being able to carry your belongings. You’re trying to wheel your suitcase, your’ve got your backpack on your bag, handbag over your shoulder, shopping bag in one hand, reaching for your Oyster card in the other… It’s a nightmare. If it helps, have a little practice at home before you tackle the tube. What’s easiest and most comfortable for you? Figure it out as soon as possible so you can get your sh*t together and get from A to B easily.

Take your time

Sure the tube makes you feel like life is moving at hyper speed… but there’s no need to rush. When there’s so many people rushing around you, it’s easy to feel like you’re being the biggest pain ever and in everyone’s way. But everyone’s been there. They probably feel sorry for you that you have to lift that huge thing. around everywhere. In fact, a lot of people will offer to help carry your bag up stairs. Just take a deep breath and take your time. You’ll get there. Everyone else can just shover around you. After all, you’re the one with the massive suitcase, no one’s going to mess with that!

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Try to avoid peak hours

Peak hours on the tube vary between 6:30am-9:30am and 4:30pm-7:30pm. If at all possible, I would strongly recommend avoiding travelling with lots of luggage during these times. It’s hard enough with a small handbag, let alone everything you belong. However, if you unfortunately find yourself in that position, just make sure to take extra care so you don’t hurt yourself or someone else.

Stand up

It’s going to be much easier for you and other passengers if you put your luggage against the tube doors once they close, or against the panel. This will firstly make sure you’re not taking up too much room, it will secure your luggage, and you can lean against it for comfort and security. Trust me on this one, there’s nothing worse than someone sitting down on one of the seats, with their bag stopping someone else from sitting down. You will receive the death stare from many people.

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Smile and apologise

If you do find yourself in someone’s way (which is most definitely going to happen) just smile and say sorry. They’ll appreciate the notion and be on their way. If you get frustrated, flustered or rude, there’s no way someone’s going to offer to help you and again, the death stares will occur.

FINAL NOTES

At the end of the day, the tube is a very strange type of ecosystem with it’s own rules and laws. You never quite know if it’s safe to look someone in the eye or smile at someone… but hey, you’ll be getting off in a few stops and most likely never see them again.

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4 thoughts on “My 5 GOLDEN RULES for travelling on the London Underground

  1. The London Underground is so intertwined with all sorts of urban myths and cultures and identities. Awkward as it could be at times, esp peak hours (!), it’s a quintessential London experience.

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