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Tube Travel Tips for Tourists

Dear Tourist,

Please don’t get me wrong: I appreciate you roaming around London, exploring the many places and events that the capital city has to offer. However, dear tourist, London is also a city that houses Londoners. They aren’t actually looking for things to do in London: they just have to get from A to B every day.

It is summer and you flock to London in groups, with your backpacks on; there is no air conditioning on the Tube and so before we all get overheated, here are some tips for Tube travel:

  1. Please avoid travel during peak-hours, when all the commuters are struggling to get on the train: The Big Ben will still be there and the Changing of the Guards doesn’t happen til 11am anyway.
  2. Check before you travel, there are often railworks during the weekends which means you have to find an alternative route with the  TfL-site .
  3. Oystercards on yellow circles to open the gates, paper tickets are to be inserted into the gates.
  4. Take off big backpacks, this will prevent you from knocking anyone out when moving into the carriage. If paranoid about getting pick-pocketed: it is the backpack that makes you stand out as a tourist-target.
  5. The carriages at the end and the beginning of the train are usually the emptiest: this is why you are encouraged to move along the platform.
  6. Doors on the Tube will open automatically. However, on the Dockland Light Railway (DLR) you DO have to press the button to open the doors, same goes for any of the Overground lines.
  7. Don’t stop at the end of escalators, in front of the entry gates or in the middle of the walkway. If you have to check your map, move to side and let other people pass.
  8. Stand on the right side of the escalator as people will pass on the left. This means you can not stand side by side, but if you hold your small child in front of you, you can still make sure s/he doesn’t fall down.
  9. Mind the Gap when leaving the carriage: a lot of stations are old and the gaps are because of the different dimensions of the modern trains to the old platforms.
  10. When waiting for the train stay behind the yellow line: it’s not big, it’s not clever and you will only cause delays if a train hits you!

Thank you for reading and happy travels London tourists! If this Tube traveling overwhelms you, remember you can always take a London tour with a hop-on-hop-off bus…

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