Explore London in 2022

The capital of the UK, London is one of the most exciting and happening cities. Especially with the world re-opening, there is so much on offer to try and do that we would be exhausted trying to list them all. It’s all well and good to visit Buckingham Palace with your mum but here are some of our top recommendations to make your next big London adventure the best it can be!

A complete guide to things to do in Barcelona during & after COVID lockdown

Reading Time: 6 mins
Last update: 19/06/20

Things are starting to get back to normal in Barcelona and travel will soon start again – but with some key differences.

What exactly are these differences? Well, to find out, you would have to probably google your heart out and look at many websites. Not ideal…So, we decided to create a complete guide to things to do in Barcelona during & after COVID lockdown.

This guide will cover everything you need to know before you visit Barcelona. This includes all the current rules in place that you must follow. Also, we’ll document pretty much everything you can currently do in Barcelona!

We update this guide x2 times a week so remember to check back to get the latest information.

 

CONTENTS
1.0 CURRENT BARCELONA RULES FOR TRAVELLERS
1.1 Key/General City Rules
1.2 Travelling into Barcelona
1.3 Travelling Around Barcelona using Public Transport
1.3.1 Transport for Barcelona Bus Service
1.3.2 Transport for Barcelona Metro Service
1.4 Hotels & staying overnight in Barcelona

 

CURRENT BARCELONA RULES FOR TRAVELLERS

Key/General City Rules

Spain is currently in a State of Emergency which was declared on 14th March and it will end on 21st June.
Spain plans to use “surgical” restrictions and improved detection to keep coronavirus under control once the country’s lockdown ends.

Travelling into Barcelona

Q: Can I travel to Barcelona?

A: Spain has lifted its state of emergency, reopening its borders to visitors from most of Europe and allowing British tourists in without having to quarantine.

Arrivals will have their temperature taken at the airport, state if they have had the virus and provide contact details. Spain is opening up again to the rest of the EU and Schengen zone countries outside the EU.

People travelling from Portugal, the restrictions will continue to apply up until 1st July.

Q: What if I don’t live in a European Union and Schengen-area country

A: Restrictions on travellers from outside the European Union and the Schengen free-travel area will be lifted from July 1 providing the countries they depart from have agreements with Spain.

Travelling Around Barcelona using Public Transport

Q: What’s changed with Barcelona’s public transport service since COVID-19?

A: Wearing a mask is compulsory on public transport. Keep safety distance between passengers at all points.

Q: Are there any changes to paying on public transport?

A: You will have to pay using contactless and purchase your tickets before you travel. No exchange of money will be allowed at ticket offices or with the bus driver.

Barcelona Bus Service

Q: What’s changed with Barcelona’s Bus service since COVID-19?

A: Make an orderly queue at bus stops, with a security distance between users. Queue in a straight line without occupying all the pavement. Remember that bus drivers do not sell tickets and they are recommended to have minimum interaction with users. Passengers will enter the buses through the back doors only. Inside the bus, spread out over the entire length of the vehicle to maintain a safe distance from other travellers.

Q: Are Barcelona’s buses running normally during the lockdown?

A: There are only a few cancelled services: Lines 102, 103 and 104 services have been cancelled until further notice.

Q: Can I still buy a ticket?

A: Drivers are protected by screens and selling tickets and exchanging money is no longer possible, as well as customer service. Therefore you need to buy a ticket or a travel card before getting on the bus. You can purchase these at ticket sales machines at the metro stations and online both on the web site and with the TMB App.

Q: How do I know if the bus is busy before leaving to grab it?

A: A new information system has been implemented that allows checking the estimated train and bus occupancy data in real-time.

Barcelona Metro Service (H4)

Q: What’s changed with Barcelona’s Tram service since COVID-19?

A: Make an orderly queue at the entrance and exit of stations. In the metro stations, follow the signs on the floor. When walking through the station corridors, please walk on the right-hand side. On escalators and conveyor belts, stay in a single line and do not overtake those in front of you. Do not fill up the lifts. Spread out along the platform to keep separated from other passengers. Spread out along the metro, keeping a maximum distance.

Q: Are Barcelona’s metro running normally?

A: The fixed timetable of the metro network is from 5 in the morning until 12 midnight, Monday to Sunday.

Q: How do I know if the metro is busy before leaving to grab it?

A: A new information system has been implemented that allows checking the estimated train and bus occupancy data in real-time.

Accommodation in Barcelona

Q: Are there any changes to hotels, short-term let apartments (Airbnb) and hostels?

A: Holidaymakers hoping to travel to Spain this summer will notice some big changes to hotels, short-term let apartments & hostels. A series of mandatory measures have been drawn up by the authorities and authorised by the Madrid government ahead of a possible reopening this summer. Hotels, short-term let apartments & hostels are complying with government regulations to ensure they remain safe for travellers. Businesses providing holiday accommodation (including hotels, hostels, B&Bs, campsites, caravan parks, boarding houses, and short term lets) are to remain closed for leisure-related stays.

Some safety measures include:

– Safe distance between staff and guests must be guaranteed.
– There will be limits on the number of people allowed in reception at any one time and screens between staff and guests erected if distancing cannot be maintained.
– Card payments will be encouraged.
– Floor markings introduced to raise awareness of social distancing measures.

And more.

Here at Safestay for example, we are implementing some key changes to our 3 Barcelona Hostels – Safestay Barcelona Passeig de Grácia, Safestay Barcelona Gothic and Safestay Barcelona Sea

Rigorous deep cleaning is being carried out during lockdown within our hostels and hotels by our trained teams. We have reinforced the frequency of cleaning which involves the housekeeping team disinfecting rooms, common spaces & private areas of the hostel, and particularly shared-use objects and areas (lobby, elevators, door handles, public bathrooms, room cards, etc).

Q: How is Safestay protecting guests?

A: On top of rigorous & frequent deep cleaning, we’ve introduced a contact-free check-in service via WhatsApp. When you next make a booking at Safestay you will be sent a confirmation via Email and also WhatsApp. Our WhatsApp service will allow you to check-in online before you arrive. This will make it very quick to check-in and collect your key, whilst maintaining social distancing.

Also, there are no mixed dorms. We’ve changed our room configurations to make sure, when you book, you are booking a whole room. We are currently not providing single beds in mixed dormitory rooms until we know it’s safe to do so.

A complete guide on things to do in London during & after COVID lockdown

Reading Time: 6 mins
Last update: 26/06/20

London is slowly easing the lockdown rules and allowing travel once again – but with some key differences.

What exactly are these differences? Well, when we started to ask ourselves this question, there wasn’t a single guide out there. We had to look at so many different websites just to get some information together. In doing this research we decided to create a complete guide on things to do in London during & after COVID lockdown. We will be updating this guide as more information is released.

This guide will cover everything you need to know before you visit London. It includes all the current rules in place that you will need to follow.

We update this guide x2 times a week so remember to check back to get the latest information.

 

CONTENTS
1.0 CURRENT LONDON RULES FOR TRAVELLERS
1.1 Key/General City Rules
1.2 Travelling into London
1.3 Travelling Around London using Public Transport
1.3.1 Transport for London (TFL) Bus Service
1.3.2 Transport for London (TFL) Underground (Tube) Service
1.4 Hotels & staying overnight in London

 

CURRENT LONDON RULES FOR TRAVELLERS

 

Key/General City Rules

Social Distancing rules still apply (stay 2 meters apart) & stay at home as much as possible. All shops have clear markers for where to stand, along with a limit on the number of people allowed inside a store.

People in England are allowed to meet in groups of up to six people in outdoor spaces such as a park or private gardens.
England residents are allowed to form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household if you live alone or are a single parent with dependent children. Those in a ‘support bubble’ will be able to act as if they live in the same household – meaning they can spend time together inside each other’s homes and do not need to stay 2 metres apart.

From 15th June 2020, anyone using public transport must wear face coverings. There is no stipulation as to what grade this must be. Except that the mouth and nose must be covered. More about London public transport

If you are travelling from London to Wales or Scotland, both have different regional rules which we advise you check before setting off.

Travelling into London

Q: What rules apply to travellers entering the UK by plane, ferry or train?

A: Whilst flights and ports remain active at a reduced capacity, travellers arriving to the UK by plane, ferry or train – including UK nationals – will have to self-isolate for 14 days. They will have to fill out a form to provide an address, indicating where they will self-isolate for the next 14 days. Travellers can be fined £100 for failing to fill in the form with the correct details. Surprise visits will be used to check travellers are supposed to be self-isolating. Those in England could be fined up to £1,000 if they fail to self-isolate.

Q: Can I travel to London if I live in Scotland or Wales?

A: Since lockdown measures differ in each nation of the UK, it is advised not to travel between them and instead must “respect” each area’s measures.

Q: What must I do before I arrive into London?

A: Travelling from within the UK there are no additional rules apart from the Key/General City Rules mentioned above. However, travelling from outside of the UK, you will have to fill out a form to provide an address showing where you intend to self-isolate for 14 days.

Q: What if I don’t have an address to self-isolate in?

A: If you don’t provide an address, the government will arrange accommodation at your expense.

Q: What can I do in those 14 days?

A: Travellers must not leave the premises or have visitors except for essential support. Where you can, rely on others.

Q: Is anyone exempt from self-isolating?

A: Anyone arriving from the Common Travel Area (CTA) – the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man – does not have to enter quarantine, only if they have been in the CTA for at least 14 days.

Those also exempt includes:
Road haulage and freight workers
Medical and care professionals providing essential healthcare
Those arriving for pre-arranged medical treatment
Passengers in transit as long as they do not pass through border control
Seasonal agricultural workers if they self-isolate where they are working
UK residents who ordinarily travel overseas at least once a week for work

Travelling Around London using Public Transport

Q: Are there any changes to using public transport?

A: Face coverings must now be worn for your entire journey on the London Underground and London bus services. Face coverings can be a simple cloth that covers the nose and mouth. You can buy one from a shop or online. Free face masks are available at certain Tube and bus stations for a couple of weeks – since Monday, June 8.

Q: Are there any changes to paying on public transport?

A: Most Tube stations are only accepting contactless or Oyster card payments for travel. Ticket machines at all London Overground and DLR stations are accepting cash. Some Tube stations are also still accepting cash, but it is important to use card payment where possible to reduce the spread of the Covid-19.

Q: What do I need to do before using public transport in London since COVID-19?

A: Wear a face mask (this is compulsory, and you will be fined otherwise), keep two metres apart from others where possible, wash your hands before and after your journey, carry hand sanitiser and/or use sanitiser points available at stations.

London Bus Service

Q: What’s changed with the London Buses since COVID-19?

A: People can now board on the front of the buses after improvements were made to bus driver’s screens to help keep you and drivers safe. New limits on the number of people allowed on buses at one given time have been implemented. On double-decker buses, 20 people will be allowed on board at once. Single decker buses will allow six to ten people on at once.

Q: Are London Buses running during the lockdown?

A: Buses are operating with reduced services. 124 bus routes have reintroduced payment on their busses. You can find a full list of the buses accepting payment here

London Underground Service

Q: What’s changed with the London Underground since COVID-19?

A: New markers at London Underground stations show how far apart people must stand. Signs have also been installed on escalators asking customers to stand six steps apart, as well as in station lifts to ensure a maximum of four people uses them at a time. Certain areas in underground stations have been blocked off to ensure a smooth flow of people.

No Waterloo & City line service
No Night Tube or Night Overground service
A reduced service is operating on the Tube, London Overground, DLR, TfL Rail and London Trams
Updated daily more information

Q: What stations are still closed because of COVID-19?

A: Closed stations: Borough, Chalk Farm, Charing Cross, Clapham South, Covent Garden, Gloucester Road, Goodge Street, Great Portland Street, Hampstead, Heathrow Terminal 4, Hyde Park Corner, Kilburn Park, Lancaster Gate, Manor House, Queensway, Redbridge, Regent’s Park, South Wimbledon, Southwark, St James’s Park, Stepney Green, Swiss Cottage, Temple, Tufnell Park
Updated daily more information

Q: What lines are the busiest during a lockdown? 

A: It is advised to avoid travelling on the Central line between South Woodford/Redbridge and Stratford – Jubilee line between Stratford and Westminster – District line between Dagenham Heathway and Aldgate East – Victoria line – London Overground between Stratford and Willesden Junction – DLR between Woolwich Arsenal and Canning Town
Updated daily more information

Accommodation in London

Q: Are there any changes to hotels, short-term let apartments (Airbnb) and hostels?

A: Hotels, short-term let apartments & hostels are complying with government regulations to ensure they remain safe for travellers. Businesses providing holiday accommodation (including hotels, hostels, B&Bs, campsites, caravan parks, boarding houses, and short term lets) are to remain closed for leisure-related stays.

Most hotels, short-term let apartments & hostels have drastically changed the way in which they operate. Here at Safestay for example, we are implementing some key changes to our 2 London Hostels – Safestay London Kensington Holland Park & Safestay London Elephant & Castle.

Rigorous deep cleaning is being carried out during lockdown within our hostels and hotels by our trained teams. We have reinforced the frequency of cleaning which involves the housekeeping team disinfecting rooms, common spaces & private areas of the hostel, and particularly shared-use objects and areas (lobby, elevators, door handles, public bathrooms, room cards, etc).

Q: How is Safestay protecting guests?

A: On top of rigorous & frequent deep cleaning, we’ve introduced a contact-free check-in service via WhatsApp. When you next make a booking at Safestay you will be sent a confirmation via Email and also WhatsApp. Our WhatsApp service will allow you to check-in online before you arrive. This will make it very quick to check-in and collect your key, whilst maintaining social distancing.

Also, there are no mixed dorms. We’ve changed our room configurations to make sure, when you book, you are booking a whole room. We are currently not providing single beds in mixed dormitory rooms until we know it’s safe to do so.

 

WHAT CAN YOU CURRENTLY DO IN LONDON?

Shopping around London

Supermarkets continue to be open with timings altered and social distancing measures in place.

Non-essential retail shops in England were allowed to reopen from Monday 15th June.

Retail
Retail shops will have 2m markings and arrows on the floor in showing customers how far apart they need to stay and which way to walk. People will also be asked to keep a set distance between each other on escalators. Some retailers are only allowing you to shop alone where possible and some retailers, such as Primark, will allow a group of people into their shops from Monday but they must be from the same household. You are also advised to only touch products you are going to buy. Lastly, just like supermarkets, retailers will ask shoppers to queue to prevent overcrowding in stores and allow people to maintain 2m social distancing.

Supermarkets
When shopping in supermarkets, you should maintain a 2m distance between yourself and others, and only buy what you need. This can include monitoring the number of customers within the store and limiting access to avoid congestion. They may also implement queue management systems to limit crowds gathering at entrances and to maintain social distancing.

Eating and Drinking around London

Restaurants & Pubs
From 4 July, pubs and restaurants in England will be allowed to reopen with certain restrictions, including changes to shift patterns, mandatory table service and more use of hand sanitiser. Customers will also have to give their details to staff to make contact tracing easier if another customer tests positive for the virus.

Pubs reopening near Elephant & Castle:
The Elephant & Castle pub will reopen on the 4th of July. It is advised to make a booking online to avoid disappointment.

Food Markets
For a full list of all the London Markets open check out our list below!

Things to do around London?

1. Visit one (or all) of London’s famous markets!

In light of the announcement on the 15th of June, outdoor markets were given the green light to open. However, whilst some have reopened, some have continued to remain closed. So here are some of the best markets that are currently open in London.

Camden Market
Camden Market was one of the first outdoor markets around London to reopen. Camden Market has therefore implemented a one-way system that operates across the entire site, in order to keep all visitors flowing in the same direction. They’ll also be using floor markings to keep customers two metres apart, placing tables and chairs a distance apart from one other, setting up hand sanitiser stations, enhancing their cleaning regime, and using market security guards to prevent crowds from gathering at certain attractions. While not all of the market vendors will reopen, restaurants and street food vendors including Kuku Riku, Magic Falafel, Makatcha, Only Jerkin’, Camden Pizza, and StakeHAUS will be open for collection and delivery only.

Borough Market
Borough Market has been partially open throughout lockdown, to supply fresh produce to local residents. You can’t get the full experience of the many street food vendors but some hot food and coffee is available to take away.

Mercato Metropolitano
Mercato Metropolitano is London’s popular Italian food hall—found in Mayfair and Elephant & Castle. They are back with their brilliant street food, Wednesday through till Sunday, for takeaway and deliveries only. The grocery section of Mercato Metropolitano will continue to stay open throughout the week. In terms of keeping customers safe, hand sanitisers will be out in both venues and social-distancing measures will apply.

Bethnal Green
This is the perfect market if plants and flowers are what you’re after. It is usually busy pre lockdown so expect social distance queues when you make a trip. The market usually runs every Sunday from 8am to 3pm. Keep an eye on their website for more updates

Lloyd Park Market
Lloyd Park Market in Walthamstow actually reopened on 23rd May. It’s a foodie’s paradise with street grub, homemade cakes and biscuits, farm-made pies and much more. You’ll leave stuffed wanting to come back the next day.

Flea Vintage Market
For those of you who’ve been craving a sift through vintage wares for a fresh look, we’ve got good news! Flea has reopened at Vinegar Yard. They will now be open every Saturday and Sunday with the new opening hours of 12 noon until 5pm.

2. Visit London’s main attractions
While London’s main attractions remain closed you can still see them from the outside.

(INSERT LIST OF ATTRACTIONS LINKED TO EXPERIENCES?)

3. Spend the day in one of London’s parks!

In accordance with new government guidelines, you can leave your home to exercise and spend time in parks for recreation, sports and other activities only with your household or support bubble and only in groups of up to 6 people from another household or support bubble. Parks will also have limited toilet facilities open so please take this into consideration when planning your visit.

Hyde Park
Hyde Park is open to the public but will now close at 10pm.

4. Or visit London’s Amazing Zoo

ZSL London and Whipsnade Zoos reopened on Monday 15 June.

Both Zoos will operate as outdoor-only experiences, which is a great opportunity to see amazing animals and to reconnect with nature.

To keep you safe some safety measures are in place. The Zoos are limiting the number of visitors per day and all visitors (including our supporters) must pre-book tickets online. One-way routes around London Zoo are installed to help with visitor flow and to ensure social distancing.
Toilets are open with new hygiene measures. Card or mobile device payments (e.g. Apple Pay, Google Pay) are the only form of payments accepted.

5 BEST INSTAGRAM SPOTS GLASGOW

Despite being Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow is often overlooked by tourists in favour of the capital city. However, in doing so, people are really missing out!

 

Home to over 600’000 people and 5 universities, the City of Glasgow has a complex history and even played a huge part in the industrial revolution. Everything from steam boats to cash machines and even the television we can be thankful to Glasgow for! It also helps that while areas may have a rougher exterior, Glasgow is actually a beautiful and an extremely friendly city. The locals pride themselves on being always happy to lend a hand, leading to the city’s adopted moniker “PEOPLE MAKE GLASGOW”!

 

Don’t believe us, why don’t you see for yourself?

A complete guide on things to do in Edinburgh during & after COVID lockdown

Reading Time: 6 mins
Last update: 25/06/20

Things are starting to get back to normal in Edinburgh and travel will start again soon – but with some key differences.

What exactly are these differences? Well, when we started to ask ourselves this question, there wasn’t a single guide out there. We had to look at so many different websites just to get some information together. In doing this research we decided to create a complete guide on things to do in Edinburgh during & after COVID lockdown. We will be updating this guide with more information as it is released.

This guide will cover everything you need to know before you visit Edinburgh. This includes all the current rules in place that you must follow.

We update this guide x2 times a week so remember to check back to get the latest information.

 

CONTENTS
1.0 CURRENT EDINBURGH RULES FOR TRAVELLERS
1.1 Key/General City Rules
1.2 Travelling into Edinburgh
1.3 Travelling Around Edinburgh using Public Transport
1.3.1 Edinburgh Lothian Bus Service
1.3.2 Edinburgh Tram Service
1.4 Hotels & staying overnight in Edinburgh

CURRENT EDINBURGH RULES FOR TRAVELLERS

Key/General City Rules

    • Stay at home
    • Only go outside for essential food, health and work reasons
    • Stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people
    • Wash your hands regularly and as soon as you get home

    Travelling into Edinburgh

    Q: What rules apply to travellers entering the UK by plane, ferry or train?

    A: Before you travel to the UK, you should provide your journey, contact details and the address where you will self-isolate for 14 days. You will need to complete a form 48 hours before you arrive in the UK. You must wear a face-covering when travelling by train, ferry service, in an enclosed ferry terminal.

    Q: Can I travel to Edinburgh if I live in England or Wales?

    A: Since lockdown measures differ in each nation of the UK, it is advised not to travel between them and instead must “respect” each area’s measures.

    Q: What happens if I don’t complete the form?

    A: If you do not complete this form you may be fined £60 in Scotland. You also may not be allowed to enter the UK (unless you are either a UK citizen or a UK resident). Please note that the £60 fine can be doubled up for each subsequent offence up to a maximum of £500.

    Q: How can I get to my accommodation?

    A: If you are not displaying symptoms when you arrive in the UK, you must go straight to the accommodation you are staying at. Only use public transport if you have no other option. If you do use public transport, wear something that covers your nose and mouth and stay 2 metres apart from other people.

    If you develop coronavirus symptoms while you are travelling to the UK, you should tell the crew or driver on your plane, boat, train or bus so they can tell you what you should do next. If you have coronavirus symptoms, you will not be allowed to travel by public transport and will need to demonstrate that the accommodation where you will self-isolate is safe.

    Q: What can I do in those 14 days?

    A: You should self-isolate in one place for the full 14 days, where you can have food and other necessities delivered, and stay away from others. You should not have visitors, including friends and family, unless they are providing essential care. The only friends and family who you can have contact with are those who travelled with you or people you are staying with. If you need essential assistance and do not have a network of support to help you, you can contact the national helpline on 0800 111 4000, or via textphone on 0800 111 4114.

    Q: Is anyone exempt from self-isolating?

    A: Anyone arriving from the Common Travel Area (CTA) – the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man – does not have to enter quarantine, only if they have been in the CTA for at least 14 days.

    Travelling Around Edinburgh using Public Transport

    Q: Are there any changes to using public transport in Edinburgh since COVID-19?

    A: Transport Scotland have developed a few rules that you must follow when using public transport. You are expected to, wear a face covering when using public transport as a consideration to your fellow passengers and transport staff. When travelling comply with any signage or instructions on public transport or from transport staff as the safety measures in place are for everyone’s benefit. Signs and notices may include information about: which seats to use or how to queue – any physical restrictions such as screens and barriers or floor markings – requests to board through different doors or to move to less busy areas – the reduced number of passengers allowed on vehicles because of physical distancing measures.

    You may remove your face covering if you need to take medication or to eat or drink where reasonably necessary. You should remove your face covering temporarily to comply with a request by a relevant person, such as a ticket examiner who needs to check identity in respect, for example, of a concessionary card. 

    Q: Is public transport tunning normally?

    A: Scotland are continuing to operate a revised timetable to keep key workers, and those making essential journeys, moving.

    Q: Can I travel around Edinburgh?

    A: Only travel if your journey is essential, for example, for work or shopping.

    Q: When time in the day is it best to travel?

    A: If you can, you should travel at off-peak times which are likely to be less busy.

    Edinburgh Lothian Bus Service

    Q: What’s changed with Edinburgh’s Lothian bus service since COVID-19?

    A: Following the Scottish Government’s announcement on 23 March, we are currently operating a Critical Services Network for key workers and those that require to make necessary journeys for food/medicine. We would encourage everyone to follow the government’s advice and only travel when necessary to do so.

    Q: Do I need to wear a face-covering?

    A: We would ask customers to consider the Scottish Government’s advice that people should wear a face covering when using public transport.

    Q: Are your buses operating normally?

    A: There are some changes to the bus services in Edinburgh as of 21st June which can be found here.

    Q: Are you carrying out additional cleaning on your services?

    A: All of our vehicles are cleaned externally and internally on a daily basis, and we have introduced heightened cleaning measures in response to this situation including more enhanced cleaning of the main customer touch-points such as hand poles and grab rails and our driver cab areas.

    Q: Are Edinburgh Bus Tours still operating?

    A: No, We are following government guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and have taken the decision to cease to protect our customers and staff.

    Edinburgh Tram Service

    Q: What’s changed with Edinburgh’s Tram service?

    A: Key markers are introduced so that travellers stand apart at the stop. Edinburgh Tram service encourage you to Buy tickets using the TfE app so that you don’t need to use the ticket machine.

    The single doors at each end of the tram are not currently in use. Tram doors will open automatically, then board one at a time. If the tram is too busy to maintain social distancing please be responsible and do not board. Seats at the ends of the tram are not in use. No need to touch the door buttons, doors will open automatically and windows are open to allow a flow of fresh air into the tram – please do not close these if you are on board.

    Q: How often are trams running?

    A: Tram services are running every 15 minutes from 5 am to midnight. Please click here for detailed timetable information.

    Q: Can I use Edinburgh’s Tram service for any journey?

    A: You are only allowed to travel if your journey is essential, for example, for work or shopping.

    Q: How can I maintain social distancing on the tram?

    A: Please follow all signage present at the tram stations and inside the tram.

    Q: When is the best time to travel?

    A: At the moment, our busiest times are between 12 noon – 2 pm. However, our trams have a normal capacity of 250 and are currently operating from every 15 minutes. Therefore, it is easy to maintain social distancing at all times.

    Accommodation in Edinburgh

    Q: Are there any changes to hotels, short-term let apartments (Airbnb) and hostels?

    A: Hotels, short-term let apartments & hostels are complying with government regulations to ensure they remain safe for travellers. Businesses providing holiday accommodation (including hotels, hostels, B&Bs, campsites, caravan parks, boarding houses, and short term lets) are to remain closed for leisure-related stays.

    Most hotels, short-term let apartments & hostels have drastically changed the way in which they operate. Here at Safestay for example, we are implementing some key changes to our Edinburgh hostel – Safestay Edinburgh Royal Mile.

    Rigorous deep cleaning is being carried out during lockdown within our hostels and hotels by our trained teams. We have reinforced the frequency of cleaning which involves the housekeeping team disinfecting rooms, common spaces & private areas of the hostel, and particularly shared-use objects and areas (lobby, elevators, door handles, public bathrooms, room cards, etc).

    Q: How is Safestay protecting guests?

    A: On top of rigorous & frequent deep cleaning, we’ve introduced a contact-free check-in service via WhatsApp. When you next make a booking at Safestay you will be sent a confirmation via Email and also WhatsApp. Our WhatsApp service will allow you to check-in online before you arrive. This will make it very quick to check-in and collect your key, whilst maintaining social distancing.

    Also, there are no mixed dorms. We’ve changed our room configurations to make sure, when you book, you are booking a whole room. We are currently not providing single beds in mixed dormitory rooms until we know it’s safe to do so.

A complete guide on things to do in London during & after COVID lockdown

Reading Time: 15 mins
Last update: 02/07/20

London is slowly easing the lockdown rules and allowing travel once again – but with some key differences.

What exactly are these differences? Well, when we started to ask ourselves this question, there wasn’t a single guide out there. We had to look at so many different websites just to get some information together. In doing this research we decided to create a complete guide on things to do in London during & after COVID lockdown. We will be updating this guide as more information is released.

This guide will cover everything you need to know before you visit London. It includes all the current rules in place that you will need to follow.

We update this guide x2 times a week so remember to check back to get the latest information.

 

CONTENTS
1.0 CURRENT LONDON RULES FOR TRAVELLERS
1.1 Key/General City Rules
1.2 Travelling into London
1.3 Travelling Around London using Public Transport
1.3.1 Transport for London (TFL) Bus Service
1.3.2 Transport for London (TFL) Underground (Tube) Service
1.4 Hotels & staying overnight in London
2.0 WHAT CAN YOU CURRENTLY DO IN LONDON?
2.1 Shopping around London
2.2 Eating & Drinking around London
2.3 Things to do in London

CURRENT LONDON RULES FOR TRAVELLERS

Key/General City Rules

Social Distancing rules still apply (stay 2 meters apart) & stay at home as much as possible. All shops have clear markers for where to stand, along with a limit on the number of people allowed inside a store.

People in England are allowed to meet in groups of up to six people in outdoor spaces such as a park or private gardens.
England residents are allowed to form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household if you live alone or are a single parent with dependent children. Those in a ‘support bubble’ will be able to act as if they live in the same household – meaning they can spend time together inside each other’s homes and do not need to stay 2 metres apart.

From 15th June 2020, anyone using public transport must wear face coverings. There is no stipulation as to what grade this must be. Except that the mouth and nose must be covered. More about London public transport

If you are travelling from London to Wales or Scotland, both have different regional rules which we advise you check before setting off.

Travelling into London

Q: What rules apply to travellers entering the UK by plane, ferry or train?

A: Whilst flights and ports remain active at a reduced capacity, travellers arriving to the UK by plane, ferry or train – including UK nationals – will have to self-isolate for 14 days. They will have to fill out a form to provide an address, indicating where they will self-isolate for the next 14 days. Travellers can be fined £100 for failing to fill in the form with the correct details. Surprise visits will be used to check travellers are supposed to be self-isolating. Those in England could be fined up to £1,000 if they fail to self-isolate.

Q: Can I travel to London if I live in Scotland or Wales?

A: Since lockdown measures differ in each nation of the UK, it is advised not to travel between them and instead must “respect” each area’s measures.

Q: What must I do before I arrive into London?

A: Travelling from within the UK there are no additional rules apart from the Key/General City Rules mentioned above. However, travelling from outside of the UK, you will have to fill out a form to provide an address showing where you intend to self-isolate for 14 days.

Q: What if I don’t have an address to self-isolate in?

A: If you don’t provide an address, the government will arrange accommodation at your expense.

Q: What can I do in those 14 days?

A: Travellers must not leave the premises or have visitors except for essential support. Where you can, rely on others.

Q: Is anyone exempt from self-isolating?

A: Anyone arriving from the Common Travel Area (CTA) – the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man – does not have to enter quarantine, only if they have been in the CTA for at least 14 days.

Those also exempt includes:
Road haulage and freight workers
Medical and care professionals providing essential healthcare
Those arriving for pre-arranged medical treatment
Passengers in transit as long as they do not pass through border control
Seasonal agricultural workers if they self-isolate where they are working
UK residents who ordinarily travel overseas at least once a week for work

Travelling Around London using Public Transport

Q: Are there any changes to using public transport?

A: Face coverings must now be worn for your entire journey on the London Underground and London bus services. Face coverings can be a simple cloth that covers the nose and mouth. You can buy one from a shop or online. Free face masks are available at certain Tube and bus stations for a couple of weeks – since Monday, June 8.

Q: Are there any changes to paying on public transport?

A: Most Tube stations are only accepting contactless or Oyster card payments for travel. Ticket machines at all London Overground and DLR stations are accepting cash. Some Tube stations are also still accepting cash, but it is important to use card payment where possible to reduce the spread of the Covid-19.

Q: What do I need to do before using public transport in London since COVID-19?

A: Wear a face mask (this is compulsory, and you will be fined otherwise), keep two metres apart from others where possible, wash your hands before and after your journey, carry hand sanitiser and/or use sanitiser points available at stations.

London Bus Service

Q: What’s changed with the London Buses since COVID-19?

A: People can now board on the front of the buses after improvements were made to bus driver’s screens to help keep you and drivers safe. New limits on the number of people allowed on buses at one given time have been implemented. On double-decker buses, 20 people will be allowed on board at once. Single decker buses will allow six to ten people on at once.

Q: Are London Buses running during the lockdown?

A: Buses are operating with reduced services. 124 bus routes have reintroduced payment on their busses. You can find a full list of the buses accepting payment here

London Underground Service

Q: What’s changed with the London Underground since COVID-19?

A: New markers at London Underground stations show how far apart people must stand. Signs have also been installed on escalators asking customers to stand six steps apart, as well as in station lifts to ensure a maximum of four people uses them at a time. Certain areas in underground stations have been blocked off to ensure a smooth flow of people.

No Waterloo & City line service
No Night Tube or Night Overground service
A reduced service is operating on the Tube, London Overground, DLR, TfL Rail and London Trams
Updated daily more information

Q: What stations are still closed because of COVID-19?

A: Closed stations: Borough, Chalk Farm, Charing Cross, Clapham South, Covent Garden, Gloucester Road, Goodge Street, Great Portland Street, Hampstead, Heathrow Terminal 4, Hyde Park Corner, Kilburn Park, Lancaster Gate, Manor House, Queensway, Redbridge, Regent’s Park, South Wimbledon, Southwark, St James’s Park, Stepney Green, Swiss Cottage, Temple, Tufnell Park
Updated daily more information

Q: What lines are the busiest during a lockdown? 

A: It is advised to avoid travelling on the Central line between South Woodford/Redbridge and Stratford – Jubilee line between Stratford and Westminster – District line between Dagenham Heathway and Aldgate East – Victoria line – London Overground between Stratford and Willesden Junction – DLR between Woolwich Arsenal and Canning Town
Updated daily more information

Accommodation in London

Q: Are there any changes to hotels, short-term let apartments (Airbnb) and hostels?

A: Hotels, short-term let apartments & hostels are complying with government regulations to ensure they remain safe for travellers. Businesses providing holiday accommodation (including hotels, hostels, B&Bs, campsites, caravan parks, boarding houses, and short term lets) are to remain closed for leisure-related stays.

Most hotels, short-term let apartments & hostels have drastically changed the way in which they operate. Here at Safestay for example, we are implementing some key changes to our 2 London Hostels – Safestay London Kensington Holland Park & Safestay London Elephant & Castle.

Rigorous deep cleaning is being carried out during lockdown within our hostels and hotels by our trained teams. We have reinforced the frequency of cleaning which involves the housekeeping team disinfecting rooms, common spaces & private areas of the hostel, and particularly shared-use objects and areas (lobby, elevators, door handles, public bathrooms, room cards, etc).

Q: How is Safestay protecting guests?

A: On top of rigorous & frequent deep cleaning, we’ve introduced a contact-free check-in service via WhatsApp. When you next make a booking at Safestay you will be sent a confirmation via Email and also WhatsApp. Our WhatsApp service will allow you to check-in online before you arrive. This will make it very quick to check-in and collect your key, whilst maintaining social distancing.

Also, there are no mixed dorms. We’ve changed our room configurations to make sure, when you book, you are booking a whole room. We are currently not providing single beds in mixed dormitory rooms until we know it’s safe to do so.

 

WHAT CAN YOU CURRENTLY DO IN LONDON?

Shopping around London

Supermarkets continue to be open with timings altered and social distancing measures in place.

Non-essential retail shops in England were allowed to reopen from Monday 15th June.

Retail
Retail shops will have 2m markings and arrows on the floor in showing customers how far apart they need to stay and which way to walk. People will also be asked to keep a set distance between each other on escalators. Some retailers are only allowing you to shop alone where possible and some retailers, such as Primark, will allow a group of people into their shops from Monday but they must be from the same household. You are also advised to only touch products you are going to buy. Lastly, just like supermarkets, retailers will ask shoppers to queue to prevent overcrowding in stores and allow people to maintain 2m social distancing.

Supermarkets
When shopping in supermarkets, you should maintain a 2m distance between yourself and others, and only buy what you need. This can include monitoring the number of customers within the store and limiting access to avoid congestion. They may also implement queue management systems to limit crowds gathering at entrances and to maintain social distancing.

Tesco & Sainsbury
Supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury have introduced new social distancing measures in stores. Currently there are rules to limit the flow of people coming into stores. Some stores have introduced directional floor markings and new signs to create a safe flow of movement around the store as well as seperate entrances and exits. It is advised to shop on your own and pay with contactless where possible.

Eating and Drinking around London

Restaurants & Pubs

From 4 July, pubs and restaurants in England will be allowed to reopen with certain restrictions, including changes to shift patterns, mandatory table service and more use of hand sanitiser. Customers will also have to give their details to staff to make contact tracing easier if another customer tests positive for the virus.

Wetherspoons

Wetherspoon pubs across London will reopen on the 4th of July. There are some certain changes to ensure social distance and customer safety. Customers do not need to book a table, ahead of visiting and are encouraged to order using the Wetherspoon app, where possible, directly from their table. Where unable to order from the table (ie they have no smartphone), customers are able to order from one of the designated till points at the bar, but customers may not remain at the bar. Once they have ordered and paid – they should return to their table. You are also not allowed to move furniture around as it has been placed to meet with social distancing standards.

Food Markets
For a full list of all the London Markets open check out our list below!

Things to do around London?

1. Visit one (or all) of London’s famous markets!

In light of the announcement on the 15th of June, outdoor markets were given the green light to open. However, whilst some have reopened, some have continued to remain closed. So here are some of the best markets that are currently open in London.

Camden Market
https://www.instagram.com/p/B68MiqZDBFs/
Camden Market was one of the first outdoor markets around London to reopen. Camden Market has therefore implemented a one-way system that operates across the entire site, in order to keep all visitors flowing in the same direction. They’ll also be using floor markings to keep customers two metres apart, placing tables and chairs a distance apart from one other, setting up hand sanitiser stations, enhancing their cleaning regime, and using market security guards to prevent crowds from gathering at certain attractions. While not all of the market vendors will reopen, restaurants and street food vendors including Kuku Riku, Magic Falafel, Makatcha, Only Jerkin’, Camden Pizza, and StakeHAUS will be open for collection and delivery only.

Borough Market
https://www.instagram.com/p/CBf4NJVDFc-/
Borough Market has been partially open throughout lockdown, to supply fresh produce to local residents. You can’t get the full experience of the many street food vendors but some hot food and coffee is available to take away.

Mercato Metropolitano
https://www.instagram.com/p/B94actoF7qT/
Mercato Metropolitano is London’s popular Italian food hall—found in Mayfair and Elephant & Castle. They are back with their brilliant street food, Wednesday through till Sunday, for takeaway and deliveries only. The grocery section of Mercato Metropolitano will continue to stay open throughout the week. In terms of keeping customers safe, hand sanitisers will be out in both venues and social-distancing measures will apply.

Bethnal Green
This is the perfect market if plants and flowers are what you’re after. It is usually busy pre lockdown so expect social distance queues when you make a trip. The market usually runs every Sunday from 8am to 3pm. Keep an eye on their website for more updates

Lloyd Park Market
https://www.instagram.com/p/CAiExZfno_X/
Lloyd Park Market in Walthamstow actually reopened on 23rd May. It’s a foodie’s paradise with street grub, homemade cakes and biscuits, farm-made pies and much more. You’ll leave stuffed wanting to come back the next day.

Flea Vintage Market
https://www.instagram.com/p/CBYVMZ_nasm/
For those of you who’ve been craving a sift through vintage wares for a fresh look, we’ve got good news! Flea has reopened at Vinegar Yard. They will now be open every Saturday and Sunday with the new opening hours of 12 noon until 5pm.

2. Spend the day in one of London’s parks!

In accordance with new government guidelines, you can leave your home to exercise and spend time in parks for recreation, sports and other activities only with your household or support bubble and only in groups of up to 6 people from another household or support bubble. Parks will also have limited toilet facilities open so please take this into consideration when planning your visit.

All Royal Parks have reverted to their regular opening times as of 1st June. Hyde Park is open to the public but will now close at 10 pm.

3. Or visit London’s Amazing Zoo
https://www.instagram.com/p/CByLn85HQ7C/
ZSL London and Whipsnade Zoos reopened on Monday 15 June.

Both Zoos will operate as outdoor-only experiences, which is a great opportunity to see amazing animals and to reconnect with nature.

To keep you safe some safety measures are in place. The Zoos are limiting the number of visitors per day and all visitors (including our supporters) must pre-book tickets online. One-way routes around London Zoo are installed to help with visitor flow and to ensure social distancing.
Toilets are open with new hygiene measures. Card or mobile device payments (e.g. Apple Pay, Google Pay) are the only form of payments accepted.

Our travel plans have been cancelled, so here’s 7 days of inspiration…

Stuck at home? Fear not, because there’s so much we can still do from the comfort of our home. Now is the opportunity to have some alone time and do the things that you can’t do with others constantly around.

Take this time to fully relax, tick off a few things that you need to get done and entertain yourself.

It’s important to remember that things will get better, so why not use this time to pick up a hobby/skill to have along with you on your future travels.

So what is there to do while stuck indoors? We’ve come up with a list of 7 different inspirational things you could do to make your time at home interesting and to keep you healthy mentally.

 

#1 GET OUT THE OLD TRAVEL PHOTOS AND SHARE THE GREAT MEMORIES

When was the last time you got out your old travel photos and had a good giggle looking back at the memories you made? Time to blow the dust away! Get them out wherever they are, on your phone, in an album, in a box at the bottom of your cupboard. Let’s remind ourselves of the experiences we’ve had and the stories we’ve created along the way.

holiday photos

#2 START YOUR OWN TRAVEL BLOG USING THE EXPERIENCES YOU’VE ALREADY HAD

During your adventures, there must’ve been a time where you thought – “I should start my own travel blog”. 💻 Take this time as a precious moment to reflect on those amazing adventures. You can get up and running very quickly with a microblog using Twitter or Instagram or if you’re feeling adventurous try your hand at a wordpress template.

And when you’re ready, reach out to us & we’ll feature 5 of the best blog posts on our own [E]xplorer blog!

girl on laptop at home

#3 PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR MENTAL HEALTH BY TAKING UP YOGA OR SIMPLY ADOPTING MINDFULNESS MEDITATION

All of this no travel stuff is stressing us out. Is there that one happy place you love to travel to but can’t right now? Yeah, we feel the same.
For us, it’s our yearly team meetings in Barcelona. The team always take a walk on the beach which is right outside our Safestay Barcelona Sea hostel.

Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat and relax. Meditation is about bringing the mind home. So sit back, take a deep breath, close your eyes and try visualising that happy place.

meditating at home

#4 CATCH UP WITH THE TRAVEL FRIENDS YOU MADE DURING THAT AMAZING BAGPACKING TRIP BUT LOST CONTACT WITH ALONG THE WAY

Do you remember that one backpacking trip you took and had such an amazing time exploring, with people you’d only just met! It was so great that you added them on Facebook thinking it would be awesome to do it again, but life took over and you ended up losing touch.

Now is the time to catch up with those travel friends you made along the way. Facebook is so great because it allows us to keep contact without the need to talk every day. Why don’t you start today by messaging 3 travel friends on Facebook you lost contact with. Check-in and see how they’re doing today or give them a DM and get the conversation going!

working on laptop

#5 GET INSPIRED THROUGH A TRAVEL DOCUMENTARY OR WATCH DAVID ATTENBOROUGH’S SERIES EXPLORING STUNNING PLACES ON EARTH

Feeling uninspired and unmotivated? 10 minutes of any David Attenborough travel documentary will have you feeling inspired to visit the whole world! Or follow Gordan Ramsey’s culinary journey to see the most remote places on Earth. Panoramic shots and feats of human bravery, you won’t be able to help yourself – you’ll have to start planning for the next adventure.

watching tv

tv at safestay

#6 LEARN THAT NEW LANGUAGE YOU’VE BEEN PUTTING OFF AND DIDN’T HAVE TIME FOR

We’ve all wished we could speak another language and have always promised that one day you will but in the end never got round to it. Learn a new language with Duolingo for free and prepare yourself for the next adventure. Even learning basic words will take you a long way. Here’s a tip: Make your language lessons fun by humming songs in a foreign language!

How many languages can you speak?

language board at safestay hostel

#7 USE YOUR TIME AT HOME TO READ, LEARN AND IMPROVE YOURSELF WHILST THE WORLD IS IN HIBERNATION

As much as we would like to sit around all day and binge on Netflix. Why not read a travel book that will inspire you to go out there after the storm is over. While these are great and informative, it’s the stories that make you want to travel and relive the pictures they paint in your mind.

girl reading

 

Whilst the points above may not change the state of play around at the moment, it may change our perspective on how we value this experience. To stay up to date and for more information, visit www.safestay.com/covid-19-update.

What is a Hostel?

You probably know that hostels are a type of affordable accommodation shared among travellers, helping your budget go further. But, what you don’t know is the unique, energetic and social atmosphere amongst these travellers which will change your trip forever.

Never stayed in a hostel? Let us debunk those crazy myths and take you on a journey through the Safestay hostel experience. This blog will cover everything about hostel life and hostelling. So sit tight, buckle up and get ready to learn everything about hostelling there is to know.

 

What is a hostel?

In a nutshell, a hostel is an affordable accommodation which revolves around the shared guest experience. Hostels tend to lead to more interactions and cost a lot less than a hotel. A cheap night with a memorable experience with like-minded travellers. How could you say no to that?

To give you a better idea, here’s a list of the most common phrases used to describe a hostel from our guests…

  • Fun
  • Lively
  • Adventure
  • Price
  • Friends

 

Why should you stay in a hostel?

Here are three reasons…

#Because it saves you money! Let’s face it, travel is expensive, flights, food and activities. Add it all up! We all don’t like to spend so much, especially for an ordinary room at a boring hotel. A dorm at Safestay is only a little over £10 for a night, so why not? You could save little money for accommodation and splash your money on night outs and souvenirs.

#Hostels are in the best locations. Safestay hostels are concentrated in tourist-friendly areas. This means that you’ll have access to the best bars, restaurants and attractions around the city. Also, the best thing is that our hostels are in walking distance from places to dine and explore!

#Hostels feel like a community. People were strangers and close friends who you travel with throughout the city. The receptionist will know the best bus routes, budget-friendly tours and free events in the city. Gain travel tips, info for tourist sites, meals and hidden quirky locations.
Get to know the staff, the locals, your friends and the area, you feel like you’re part of something special.

What facilities to expect in a hostel?

At Safestay, the tangible benefits are special. The communal areas, bars and spacious shared rooms allow travellers to meet and create a special bond that may last a lifetime. Today, having the right connections can also be key to setting your future goals at a young age. Here’s a list of the Safestay facilities for you to network whilst relaxed in travel mode.

1. Food and Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You can not start your day of travelling and exploring before fuelling up which is why we offer a selection of different treats for you to enjoy.

Food on table
London Elephant and Castle – Food & Breakfast

2. Bars

Take a seat and relax at our bars such as Bar 60 located in Safestay London Elephant & Castle. We’ve got delicious food that you can enjoy in our comfy and cosy bar. We serve an eclectic mix of spirits, beers and cocktails along with New York Bagels and Ooozy Cheese Toasties to Castle Burgers and Pizzas.

Bar
London Elephant and Castle – Bar 60

3. Rooftop Terraces

Our Terrace has the right mix of hipster cool mixed with a dash of relaxation. Just like our drinks! It’s the perfect place for after-work drinks, pre-night out cocktails, having a lazy afternoon or just catching up on some sun.

Safestay Madrid – Sagasta 22 Rooftop Terrace

4. Common Areas

Chill out in our common areas where you can meet like-minded travellers to share your travel stories with. Some of our hostels even have board games or table football, so now you can invite your friends to a game or two.

Safestay Edinburgh – Common Area

5. Computer Areas

Take a seat in our computer area to catch up with your work emails or even chat with family and friends who are half-way across the world and share your travel experience with Safestay.

Safestay Elephant and Castle – Computer Room

6. Events

Join us at Safestay Elephant and Castle for our Rock Nights where you can meet new people while enjoying great music and drinks! Trust us, this is a perfect hideout for music lovers.

Safestay Elephant and Castle – Rock Nights

To kick start your hostel experience with Safestay, get the best rate when you sign up for our membership to continue your savings journey. Get your membership discount code here
https://www.safestay.com/membership/

6 Different Types of People You Meet In a Hostel

One of the best things about staying in a hostel is that you’ll never know who you’ll run into. Bursting with an electric mix of backpacking buddy travellers from across the globe, get ready to meet the 6 different types of people you’ll meet in a hostel…

#1 Party Animal

 

Girl at party taking a picture
Image from – https://www.pexels.com/photo/women-taking-photo-2240763/

They have only one thing on their minds and that’s PARTYING. If you’re traveling solo or want a night out to socialise, they’re the best people to hit up! This person knows every hostel event and the best party spots. Why? Because they’ve been there and done that already! Here’s a tip: a buzzing bar is the party animals’ most natural habitat.

#2 The Solo Traveller

 

Bagpacker on mountain looking at view
Image from – https://unsplash.com/photos/48nerZQCHgo

The solo traveler is super friendly and enthusiastic. They’re always looking for a chat and to swap their best travel stories. The best thing about this traveller is their flexibility and openness, so they’ll always be up for doing a last-minute tour with you. No matter where you are in the world, there will always be one around in a hostel prepared to embark on a journey of authentic travel experiences.

#3 The Blogger

 

Girl blogging in room
Image from – https://unsplash.com/photos/ute2XAFQU2I

These people are always taking pictures posing next to things. Whether it be a gimbal or a selfie stick, they’ll make sure to capture every moment of their travel experience. They’re ALWAYS on their phone or laptop, typing away on their hostel bed. You’ll think they’re normal people just like you, only until you search them up and find out they have over 10k insta followers!

#4 The Friend for Life

 

Girls sitting on the wall admiring view
Image from – https://unsplash.com/photos/vRAYwESFc-U

The smallest connection can spark a friendship of a lifetime. You might bond over a travel story, the same taste in music and books. In every hostel, you always have that person that you’ll stick together through thick and thin! Maybe it’s the excitement of travel within the air or the fact that you’re sleeping metres away from each other. But these are the moments you will treasure forever.

#5 The Gap Traveller

 

Traveller walking through street
Image from – https://unsplash.com/photos/_dH-oQF9w-Y

They’ve just started out and they look like they might just explode with excitement. They’ve become jaded travellers whose minds are blown away from all the awesome stuff in the city! Gap year travellers can be quite reinvigorating, so feed off their energy!

#6 The Guitarist

 

Man playing guitar
Image from – https://unsplash.com/photos/hUHzaiAHuUc

Usually found in the common rooms strumming away at his strings on his sticker adorned guitar. Remember this traveler, has held his guitar on his lap throughout the long bus drive, carried and dragged across the airport and all the way to the hostel, just to please the rest of the group and provide melodious tunes. You can request a song, only if its Wonderwall by Oasis.

19 of the best holiday apps you need right now!

Whilst many smartphones have great cameras allowing you to take photos of your travels, the use of phones is now much broader. Your phones application store is home to many of the best holiday apps out there that can help in all of your adventures.

These apps can impact your whole travel experience. We’ve created a list of all the best holiday apps that you need on your phones. They range from ones that help you at the airport, during a flight and also when you explore your destination!

Holiday Planning Apps

#1 Hopper

Hopper is great! It allows travellers to find the cheapest flights possible. This is great if your dates are flexible and are looking to save some cash. Once you put in your home city and destination, Hooper shows you a calendar of the coming year with dates colour-coded to reflect historical price averages.

#2 Service

Service will help you save money for your travels – automatically! For example, if your flight is delayed the app will recognise this, inform you about the delay and also file for compensation! Think of it as your own personal travel butler that takes care of everything. Also, it will update you in case there are any price changes that can save you money. An example? Say the price of your accommodation had reduced, it would go about rebooking it for you at the cheaper rate. Now that’s handy!

#3 FlightAware

The FlightAware app allows you to track flights online to check on delays, cancellations and gate changes. This app is especially helpful if you have a tight connection or when picking friends and family up at the airport. You can track their flight and see updated landing times or delays.

flighaware app on phone and tablet
FlightAware app on phone and tablet Image From – https://flightaware.com/mobile/

#4 Roadtrippers

Perfect for organizing that epic road trip you’ve always dreamed of! Roadtrippers will be able to plan out the best driving route and also shows you the best activities along the way. You can find some really cool off-the-beaten-path roadside attractions as well as cool restaurants and can’t-miss landmarks you can bookmark.

#5 PackPoint

Imagine all the stress of packing gone. Well introducing PackPoint, the app shows you what to bring based on the length of your trip, the weather in your destination and the activities you’re planning along the way. It even allows you to account for washing your clothes and wearing them multiple times. We’ve also created a blog on How to travel with only a backpack!

Holiday Apps for the Airport

#6 Loungebuddy

Loungebuddy is a great app that helps you find & pay for airport lounges around the world. Also, if you find a lower price for the lounge, the app will refund you the difference.

#7 Grab

Searching an airport for food isn’t fun. With Grab, you can easily see restaurants at the airport. You can simply search for the item and order it from the app and walk right up to grab it and go. No waiting in a queue, no trying to weave in and out of people to get your food. It’s all done.

Information on the Grab App
Information on the Grab App Image from – https://www.thefork.com/

In Flight Holiday Apps

#8 Timeshifter

Want to cure your jetlag? Timeshifter is perfect actually starts helping you to avoid jet lag long before your flight takes off. It also suggestions on what to do during the flight and post-flight. The app uses a heavy dose of science to provide personalized recommendations for each traveller whilst considering your age, gender and normal sleep patterns — as well as specifics about your trip and travel plans. Timeshifter maps out when you should avoid or seek light, take a nap or stay awake. It even tells you if you should consider supplementing with melatonin or caffeine.

#9 Netflix

OK, so Netflix isn’t really a travel app, but it can be a lifesaver during a long flight on an aircraft without seatback inflight entertainment, or at the airport during an unexpected flight delay or boring layover. If you have a Netflix account, the app allows you to download your favourite shows onto your device to watch offline. Just make sure to download your shows while connected to Wi-Fi before flying and check them again pre-flight to make sure they haven’t expired (you can usually renew any expired downloads but you must be connected to Wi-Fi or data to do so).

#10 Sky Guru

SkyGuru is an app actually designed by pilots to help people who are not comfortable with flying. It provides weather and turbulence forecasts for the route you’re flying. And whilst there is nothing really you can do it does eliminate the element of shock and allows you to be mentally prepared.

Holiday Apps to help you get around

#11 TripLingo

This app will help you sound like a local and help you adapt to a new culture. You can learn essential phrases, instantly translate your voice or connect to a live translator, get a crash course on the local culture and so much more. Perfect to avoid accidentally offending someone. Speaking about mistakes, have you seen our blog on the WORST mistakes to make when planning a holiday?

#12 GlobeTips

In some countries, if you get this wrong it not only can look bad but can sometimes get you in trouble. The app will detect the country you are in automatically, and help you split the bill with your companions, rounds up calculation results, excludes sales tax, and provides complete tipping guidance based on the local culture and traditions.

#13 Tricount

Travelling in a group can be fun but can also be quite hard to organise, especially when it comes to finances. At the end of the trip, you’re spending a few days working out who owes who. Tricount calculates shared costs and splits bills so you don’t have to think twice about who owes what. Enter your trip and currency and invite your travel mates to join your trip. Each time someone pays for something, you enter the amount in Tricount and the app splits everything evenly.

 Tricount App Display
Tricount App Display
Image from – https://www.tricount.com/en/

 

#14 Google Translate

The Google Translate app is amazing. You can translate anything into 103 languages by typing and access nearly 60 languages offline. You can also use the camera translation function where you simply take a picture of a sign in a different language and the app will translate it!

Holiday Apps to meet people

#15 Meetup

Meetup is an app designed for interacting with locals and other travellers who you share mutual interests with. Whether you’re travelling or at home, take what you love and do more of it with Meetup. The app shows you groups that are formed around particular interests in the city you are in and you can join these groups to get updates on particular events you may want to participate in.

#16 TheFork

TheFork is one of the most useful apps for making restaurant reservations in Europe. Browse different restaurants by category and make reservations. It is available in over 4,000 cities within 11 countries. The added benefit is that with this app you can get great discounts. In some instances, you can get 50% off!

Holiday Safety Apps

#17 TripWhistle

This is a great app to keep you safe in another country. The app maps your location and easily allows you to text and call emergency services without remembering the number.

#18 Sitata

Sitata monitors the world for safety threats, disease outbreaks, violent protests and anything else that might be dangerous for your trip. It ranks locations based on safety ratings and highlights regions with increased levels of risk. If something dangerous occurs while you’re travelling, the app will send an alert to your phone to keep you updated.

#19 NordVPN

NordVPN a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when travelling abroad is necessary if you want to stay safe when using the internet, especially if you’re using an overseas public Wi-Fi spot. A VPN takes your internet traffic and reroutes it through an independent server so whatever you do online stays hidden from anyone trying to access your browsing data via your I.P. address.

 

 

Reasons why you should visit Berlin

Not sure whether Berlin is for you? Or simply looking for inspiration for your next travel destination? Not to worry. We’ve gathered a list of the best reasons to visit Berlin to inspire your next travel adventure!

#1 Best Bands and DJs

Berlin’s calendar is fully booked with amazing concerts that span every genre. The capital does know a thing or two about quality music after giving birth to some of the biggest bands that continue to sell-out shows. They are also home to the best DJ’s on the planet. So if you’re a music lover you’ll love Berlin!

 

#2 Berlin is filled with History

From the Berlin Wall at East Side Gallery to the Stasi Museum, Berlin has been through a lot in the past and this is what stands out.

The city’s monuments and museums pay tribute to its tragedies and will give visitors an understanding of the history that shapes the city to what it is today.

 

#3 Beer culture

Beer and Berlin go hand in hand. If you could only have one beer in the city you would have to have Berliner Weisse. It is arguably the most famous beer in Berlin. But ideally, the best thing to do is try all the beers so find an area with a few beer bars and go bar hopping on foot. Also, you can visit many of these breweries and watch the beer being brewed on a guided tour – and you can of course expertly taste-test the beers afterwards.

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#4 Variety of food

If there’s something that you won’t have to worry about, it is the food! Berlin boasts a numerous amount of restaurants with a cuisine that will please anyone. Be sure to try Schnitzel’s, Currywursts & Bockwursts. And for those that don’t eat meat, Berlin is one of the best cities for vegans with restaurants dedicated to producing only vegan food.

 

#5 Out-of-this-world nightlife

This wouldn’t be a great blog unless we mentioned the city’s amazing nightlife, which offers a spectacle of colour, dance and techno. Nevertheless, there are clubs that cater to every taste. Berlin’s party scene is ubiquitous, and there is no closing time for clubs. One of Berlin’s most famous clubs is Club OST situated in a semi-industrial area of former East Berlin. It also has room for over 600 people and has an epic sound system to give you quality techno sound.

#6 Street art and graffiti

Berlin is a canvas for artists which contributes to the uniqueness of the capital. A good place to see Berlin’s street art is at the East Side Gallery, where artists have covered the remnants of the Berlin Wall with murals some of which have become very popular.

 

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How To Travel With Only a Backpack

Many travellers have learnt how to pack efficinetly so that they can travel with only carry on luggage. This blog will show you how you can travel with only a backpack.

Let’s first consider the benefits of only travelling with a backpack

  • Save time at airports – Get ready to avoid check-in queues and problems with ‘overweight’ luggage’ and head straight through security.
  • Save money – Sometimes airlines charge you check-in luggage so by not taking any you’re actually saving money!
  • Reduce stress – You don’t have to worry about your suitcase when you don’t have one! And also you don’t want to be lugging it around a busy city as well.
  • More freedom – You have one less thing to worry about when choosing what activities you go as you don’t have to consider where you will keep your suitcase and can also be more spontaneous for activities.

Now we’ll consider how you can travel with only a backpack. The following list will be tips on how you can save space and pack smart.

#1 Wear your bulky items

This is probably the best tip in our list. Bulky items can take up a lot of space in your bags so the best thing to do would be to wear them. Things like thick jackets and trousers are the best examples of what we mean.

#2 Pack your backpack it right

 

The way you fold your clothes is important to save space. You can either roll them up as this helps to minimise space and avoids creases in your clothes. Or, you could either group them together as daily packs.

Be sure to check out Travel Dave’s tips on how to pack clothes in a backpack 

 

#3 Consider the weather

We understand that when you choose your clothes you have to consider the weather, and normally when its cold ou expect to be carrying thicker items but that doesn’t always have to be the case if you want to travel with only a backpack.

You can still layer multiple thin layers to stay warm rather than pack a thick coat. Also, you can get jackets that fold and fit into a small pocket-sized bag.

 

Just to let you know, check out our ultimate travel tips for backpackers blog for more great advice!

#4 Pack items that you can wear multiple occasions

It’s not about being a fashion icon but rather seeing whether you can wear multiple items for different occasions.

The best clothes are the ones that can be mixed and matched with other colours. Opt for plain T-shirts and thing shirts as these can pass off for formal events and casual events.

 

 

#5 Choose accommodation with a washing machine

Opt for accommodation where you can wash your clothes as that way you can pack less knowing that you will be able to wash them.

Here at Safestay, our hostels and hotels have washing facilities as well as ironing facilities for you! Next time you are planning a trip to anywhere in Europe be sure to check us out!

#6 Use Packing Organisers

This is a great tip to make sure you separate your items and also make all your items square in shape. This will allow for easier arrangements in your bag rather than packing obscure items together.

We recommend your items as the following;
Clothing, Underwear & Socks, Laundry, Medical kit with ziplock bags & Chargers / Tech.

#7 Toiletries

As you’ll be taking your bag on the flight you will be restricted to travel-sized luggage. But that’s okay as firstly it’s easier to fit them into a small backpack and it’s a lot easier to buy them locally saving space in your luggage and is also one less thing for you to worry about

#8 Search for compact items

If you need to take a specific item that is normally quite bulky you can bet that there is a smaller and more compact version on the market. For example, instead of taking a big towel, you can opt for the thin microfibre towels! We’ve got exactly those towels at Safestay which you can buy and use for your whole travels!

The WORST mistakes to make when planning a holiday!

Are you in the throes of planning your holiday? Struggling to decide whether you’ve planned for everything so that it can all run smoothly? Don’t worry we are all the same! We all want to make sure we’ve got the best flight prices, the best accommodation prices and the correct budget. BUT. There are some things we tend to forget to consider when planning a holiday! Not sure what they are? Luckily for you, we have written a blog on the worst mistakes to make when planning a holiday!

#1 Packing too late

We all know someone who leaves everything to the last minute but this shouldn’t apply to this case.

Some might think that ‘oh if I pack last minute I will only take what I need’

Well… The truth is, it’s actually one of the worst mistakes to make when planning a holiday and the opposite actually happens!

When you’re in a panic you’ll naturally want to take everything you can and convince yourself by saying ‘just in case’

Be wise and pack at least a week before to ensure you don’t overpack! Check out our blog on backpacking tips for some nifty tricks when it comes to travelling!

#2 Not booking your accommodation direct!

When you book via an online travel agency you are paying more than it would cost to book directly with the accommodation’s website!

You can also get a lot of benefits when you book direct. If you want something for a special occasion or any extras to your booking, you can arrange this easier when you book direct!

Speaking of which, we’ve got great accommodation across Europe. Check them out!

#3 Checking your passport too late!

A classic! If this hasn’t happened to you, you surely know someone it’s happened to!

Because passports last so long we tend to forget about when they expire. So before you even start planning for a holiday, check your passport to make sure it will still be valid!

#4 Not doing enough research!

This goes without saying if you don’t do your research on your holiday you will find it difficult!

Wherever you want to travel to it is important to know what to expect and have some local knowledge for when you arrive.

We live in the 21st century. The internet is filled with billions upon billions of links on google that will give you tonnes of information.

You can read travel blogs to get an account for personal experience or read some trip advisor reviews to see what there is to do in the location. There are also Youtube videos that will be able to show you visually what you can do!

Be sure to research any rules or important information you need to know before you go. You don’t want to end up on the wrong side of the law by mistake!

#5 Planning too many activities!

Whilst there can be too little planning there can also be too much planning!

We know what it’s like, you’re only on holiday for a few days and want to do as many things as possible.

Whilst that might seem exciting at first it can be very very draining and end up as a mistake on your holiday plans.

Also, unplanned events like delayed flights or cancelled tours can dramatically affect your next plans if you’ve planned something for every hour of every day.

Remember it is far better to do a few things with a relaxed mind rather than a lot of things in a rush.

#6 Spending all your time in transit

Whilst it might be a good idea to visit a lot of places at once again this can be exhausting.

You’ll find yourself on the move and in transit for most of your trip rather than relaxing and taking in the city that you are in!

You might be saying oh it’s only a couple hours here and there. Well, add all those couple hours and you actually end up with a full day of travelling! That’s a whole day of holiday wasted.

#7 Setting expectations too high

It’s natural to expect the best but is probably one of the biggest mistakes to make when planning a holiday.

We are all human and all think that our holiday is going to be amazing. But the biggest mistake is to set your expectations too high!

This will only lead to disappointment when something doesn’t go your way. Notice we said when and not if.

Something will always not go your way and that will probably ruin your holiday if you set high expectations.

#8 Not reading reviews!

You can’t get any better information than from other travellers! Read reviews on everything even the activities you want to do in the destination!

The reason we say this is that you can gain a better understanding of the experience before going and prepare for anything that you might not have known!

#9 Booking flights last minute!

Doing this is a risky game and sometimes it might not pay off.

Sometimes while it might actually be cheaper, the prices usually increase as the departure date draws near.

We recommend booking at least 3 weeks before you want to travel to get the best deals!

 

 

 

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