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Here are some tips for those visiting London for the first time. Iti is not like the usual travel guides that you find in the city Having visited London myself recently for the first time, I figured my trip would have been so much better if I knew about these things from the start.
London is one of the most interesting and exciting cities in the world and attracts millions of visitors each year. It is also one of the cities less dangerous considering natural hazards and crime rate. However, as in any large city, crime can sometimes be a problem, therefore being responsible for your own personal safety and looking after the objects of your property is a good idea. The usual precautions should be taken when visiting some outlying areas of London. Pick pocketing is common, especially in the streets frequented by tourists or on public transport; there are also hotel rooms which put you in the risk of theft of valuables and identity documents.
Around the city keep your bag or camera on you, in front of you, so you can see them. Preferably not on the shoulder. This is particularly important if you are in a crowded area, like on a bus or subway trains. When you are in a restaurant, bar, cinema or theater, never leave your bag on the floor or on the back of the chair or armchair. Toss it where you can see it. Buy tickets for concerts or theatrical performances only from reputable sources and not from touts who sell them on the street. If you are around the city on foot by late at night, try to walk in well lit and lively streets.
When traveling by bus or train, try to avoid going down to the stations in isolated places. If possible, sit near the driver of the bus, and in trains try to sit in a carriage with several other passengers. Use only licensed taxis. These are easily recognizable by the public license being on display in a visible way on the car, plus the taxi drivers wear a special badge.
Be very careful when crossing roads. Remember to look at both sides of the road since vehicles can come from a different direction than you expect. Being from a southern European country I found myself confused several times over the big difference in traffic rules. Even when people know about the difference they can still make the mistake of crossing without looking at the correct direction. Therefore caution is advised.
In the Soho district of London’s West End, there are some types of bars you may want to steer clear of. In these rooms there sometimes are erotic shows offered and customers are asked exorbitant prices for soft drinks. Besides the high price of drinks, you also have to pay for the companionship of the person who maintains the beverages served to you. Be attentive to the kind of place where you are about to enter, and if in doubt do not enter.
Avoid leaving valuables in your room – keep them in the hotel safe or safety deposit boxes. Make a list of your belongings such as cameras, credit cards, passports and tourist checks. Taking notes of their relative numbers may help police to identify them in case of loss or theft. When you exit the hotel, make sure that the door of your room is well locked. Always deliver the key personally to the reception. Not simply leave them on the counter. Keep in mind that the hotel lobbies and office reception are open to the public, so do not leave anything unattended on the floor like your luggage or other items of value.Make a list of your belongings such as cameras, credit cards , passports and tourist checks.
I wish to draw attention to the severity of the legislation on the use and possession of drugs. It is regulated by “The Medicine Act” which governs the acquisition and sale of certain drugs (barbiturates, tranquilizers and other) and the “Misuse of Drugs Act”.
It is suggested to all those who take drugs for therapeutic purposes (e.g. morphine) to obtain a medical certificate, translated in English and certified by a British Consulate. In the United Kingdom it is considered a violation of law not only the sale of any type of drug but also for taking and possessing for personal use, as well as the consumption by third parties in their homes. Currently the penalties for transgression of the drug laws are particularly high. Finally, keep in mind that the police are there to help. If something unpleasant happens, and if you are lost or items were stolen from you, do not hesitate to contact the police as soon as possible.
By Elsi H