planning my trip to london + partnering with boden

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Happy Monday, everyone! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’m partnering with Boden for the next three months to share their winter collections with you all. As a lover of British fashion, I’m a big fan of Boden and this collaboration actually comes at the perfect time since I’m currently planning a trip to London for the spring.

Since that’s the case, I thought it was only right that I order this London mug to celebrate! Tomorrow, I have a post scheduled to share the pieces I chose, courtesy of the Boden team, for this month but in the meantime, I wanted to share a little bit about how I’m planning my London trip.

I have a pretty long travel bucket list and a couple of locations that keep popping up in my mind over and over. With all of the hype around Harry & Meghan’s wedding this year, I got super excited about London again and decided that’d be where I go next! Since then, we’ve also added on a second location in Europe which will be really fun!

Okay, so you may already know that I’m a pretty obsessive planner so some of this might seem a little crazy to be doing so far out, but I swear it pays off!

travel planning tools

google maps
I’ve been using the ‘Your Maps’ feature, which is one of the best travel planning resources I’ve come across. You can basically pin all of the locations you’re interested in on your own custom map. One scenario where this is really helpful is for choosing restaurants. You pin every restaurant in the city that you’d like to visit, then when you’re out and about and get hungry, you check the map to see which is closest. You can also use the maps to help plan your itinerary.

google sheets
I use a multi-page Google sheet to organize our itinerary primarily because it’s accessible from all of my devices and for anyone I share it with. This just makes it easy to reference and edit the document whenever I need to. I plan a pretty tight itinerary because I like to have an idea of what I’m doing during the day, but I make sure to schedule time for spontaneity, which is kind of a funny concept but it works.

tripit app
This app is a great way to keep all of your important travel information organized. Right now, I only need the free version but will probably upgrade right before my trip. I’ve linked the app to my email so it stores my flight and hotel confirmations all in one place along with any ticket purchases. On the day of travel, the upgraded app will give you all sorts of updates from any flight changes to gate locations and even suggest when to leave your house based on airport traffic.

choosing where to stay

hotel versus airbnb
I debated between staying in a hotel or renting a flat through Airbnb or One Fine Stay. I’ve done both in the past and like them almost equally with hotels only coming out ahead by a little bit. After looking at the prices of flats in my desired area, I realized they were priced at or even sometimes above what a good hotel would cost, so I went with a hotel. In other cities, Airbnbs tend to be cheaper than hotels but that’s not the case in most areas of London, from my experience.

surrounding area
I wanted to be in a central area because this is my first trip to London, so I figured I’ll save the East End for another trip. I looked around Marylebone, Mayfair, Covent Garden, and so on, but really wanted to be in Mayfair, so that’s where I ended up booking. I’ll post more about the hotel in my post-trip blogs in the spring, but I’m excited about where we’re staying!

proximity to the tube
This is a big one no matter where I’m traveling. If there’s public transportation, I want to be as close as possible. The hotel we booked is like a three minute walk from the Tube and there’s a ton of cute things en route 😉

planning daily activities

planning for spontaneity
Like I mentioned above, I like to plan time for spontaneity. I make sure to have time in the schedule available to do things last minute I may not have thought of before and that time tends to be scheduled in the evening.

grouping by location
A great way to plan your itinerary is to group things by location, which is made super easy by using the custom map tool in Google Maps. I will typically pick a neighborhood or two for each day and schedule my itinerary around those locations. For instance, one day will start in Notting Hill, then flow through Kensington.

grouping by theme
A more unique, fun way to schedule that I considered was grouping by theme. For instance, I thought about doing themed days like history, royals, pretty things (art and cute cafes), and so on. For example, the history day would consist of visiting historical sites and even choosing restaurants with historical significance. I still think that’d be fun to do, but this trip will be scheduled by location.

what’s on my itinerary
I don’t wanna give too much away because it’ll all be covered in my posts after the trip, but one thing I’m really, really excited about is the fact that I’ll be there on my birthday and have already gotten tickets for the Harry Potter Studio tour that day and also plan on doing breakfast at Chiltern Firehouse.

packing + logistics

styling outfits ahead of time
It might seem weird to be planning my outfits six months in advance, but I swear it’s such a good idea because it gives you plenty of time to think of things you want/need that may not come to mind closer to the trip. I create little look books of the outfits I want to wear, then figure out what pieces I already have (the majority) and what things I need to buy before that time.

organizing practical items
I like to be organized really early on so that I don’t forget anything. A few months in advance, I like to get all of my travel related items together in one place. This includes my passport, converters, travel pouches, packing cubes, and so on. I round up all of these items and put them in a box labeled ‘travel’ so that I know where to find everything.

carry-on kit
I’ll talk about this in more detail later and include photos, but I like to start planning what I’ll take in my carry on so I have it ready to go. Typically I take a few beauty items like face mist and hand cream plus entertainment (books, podcasts), and some health items like snacks and a lifesaver kit with tea and vitamins.

Do you have any big trips coming up?