I’ll be in London for LonCon soon, by sheer chance, because I’d signed up for a bus tour in the same area that happened to be ending the day before the con. Sweet Providence! Which means I’ve had two weeks to acclimate to travel around the UK and the handful of little things different from US hotels. Since they might save LonCon attendees a tiny amount of grief, here you go.

– Energy-saver boxes by the door use your keycard to allow power in your room. Until you put it in & leave it in, the lights don’t work.

– Low-flush toilets with dual flush buttons, like a lopsided yin-yang.

– Plugs. Everyone knows they’re different. American appliances do need an adapter. They probably DON’T need a voltage converter: most modern devices are rated for about 110-220V, so work in both places.

– Coffee: very strong everywhere! Room accoutrements: electric kettles, not coffee pots! Raw sugar (Demarara sugar, “brown” sugar): very popular apparently!

– Nobody puts ice in your drink unless you specifically ask for it. Ever.

– They like to hide the blow dryer in a drawer for some reason. There also never seem to be washcloths, which I don’t use, but this vexes some of my older traveling companions.

– Boy, do I love the pound coin. Also awesome: London taxis must be certified & have set meters, so they are fast and reliable and not bad rates if split with friends; cheaper than the Underground, for how we used them. The ones I’ve seen fit four comfortably in back, five if you’re thin or friendly.

– Crappy wifi seems the norm, and has usually required some kind of login, the stuff of nightmares. Almost none of our hotels have had AC; none had a fan in the bathroom. Windows tend to open.

– The tap water seems fine to drink.

This is probably kindergarten stuff for seasoned travelers, but it took me by surprise. If you’ll be at LonCon on Friday, let me know. Happy travels!

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