So the 2012 Olympic Games officially opens on 27 July, 2012, that’s tomorrow. There are a many things you need to figure out if you are attending the Games, but there are four cards that you need to have to make your trip smoother. I’ve prepared a list below for you. I’m sure you have other cards, but these are the ones that counts at the Olympics in London 2012.
Its Olympic fever pitch here in England. My friend Sam was at work today and snapped this picture of the Torch and Torch Bearer as it passed by his office. The entire country is supporting the games and they have all done a fantastic job in getting ready for the Olympics.
An Oyster Card – This is a pre-paid travel card for the London Underground. You can purchase it at the airport on arrival. yes, the lines will be long, but you need one. You have to buy a ticket anyways to board the Piccadilly Line if you arrive at London Heathrow. Just talk to the clerk at the window and they will sort you out. The events in London are connected using the buses and the trains that are a part of the Transport for London system, so you are covered. Note that some events are not in London and you may have to fly, drive, take a bus or a train to these events. The Oyster card will not work in some of these situations. Depending on how far away you are traveling. The Transport for London Web site has a ton of information. Head over there for details. You can also find information about the venues at the London 2012 Web site. Plus I did a Travel Tip Tuesday video to help you with transportation and a few more tip.
A Visa Card – Visa is the official sponsor of the London 2012 Olympics and all the Olympic events so you need one of those. You can’t buy tickets nor any items at the Olympic venues with any other cards. Not to worry, if you don’t have one like me, you can go to your local grocery store or pharmacy and purchase a VISA pre-paid card and put some money on it. Use the Locator here to find a store that sells them. One thing to also remember is that if you already have a VISA card, you and the U.K. is not your home country, you will be charged a fee, usually 3% of the transaction each time you use the card. Unless, your card waives those fees. So the pre-paid card maybe worthwhile for you as well.
A SIM Card. You will need this for your phone if you want to be facebooking and tweeting what is going on with your friends. Internet roaming with your local plan is really expensive in the U.K. The London 2012 Olympic committee, the Transport for London and Virgin Media has made it a little easy for you by providing free WiFi in select (about 70) London Underground/Overground stations. You can find a list here (PDF). They all have clear signage so you will see it. The major ones like Oxford Circus, Stratford, Tower Bridge and Victoria are all included. So if you don’t need to be online all the time, you may not need one, but it is recommended. I use T-Mobile UK and they have an excellent Internet plan that’s about unlimited Internet for about 2 GBP/day. Stop by one of the many phone stores around town and pick a plan that works for you.
An ID Card. Yup, take some form of identification card with you. Don’t take your passport if you can avoid it. You should keep that safely at the place where you are staying. Don’t take those annoying fanny packs. As they are prone to be ing stolen. i really hate those silly things.
So there you have it; four cards you can’t leave home without for the Games. Be careful out there, keep these cards in your front pocket, not the back pockets and watch out for pickpockets. If you have a question only ask officials, not just random people.
Before I close, you should also download a few Apps for your phone, just go to the Android market or App Store and search for Olympics and London 2012 and download the stuff you see there. They will help you to have a better game experience. Note that the BBC Apps are only available to users from the U.K., due to their licensing agreements.
Let me know how you are preparing for the Olympic Games by Liking this post and leaving a comment below.