London, luggage-less

Man With Luggage PileLondon’s not the sort of place you want to be burdened with lots of luggage. Unless you’re lucky enough to be chauffeured – usually the reserve of Royals, Government Ministers, Lord Alan Sugar, QC’s, Traders, Russian Oligarchs and BBC executives – most journeys involve tubes, taxis, buses, and a bowl of chalk (that’s cockney slang for a walk). So having lots of stuff to carry is never going to be easy. So what can you do? Well here are some suggestions…

Normally, when you visit somewhere, you only need to get your luggage to and from the accommodation that you’re staying in. But lots of people who come to London like to move around, staying in different parts of the City, whilst others use London as a gateway to Europe – spending time in our capital before heading off on the Eurostar for a continental adventure. Then there are those here on business, who might also be bringing in equipment – for a conference or exhibition. There are plenty of situations then, where you might  need to find a way of making luggage less of a burden. So we decided to take a sideways look at some of the options…

Option 1: Luggage that does the legwork

The mass-production of automated suitcases – such as Hop (above) – that will follow you (or your smartphone) around like a loyal puppy – can’t be far away. So you could start saving, ready to invest in a complete set, then you can waddle around London with your hand and hold baggage following faithfully behind. You might look a bit like a mother duck, but hey, you don’t have to do any heavy lifting.

Or so you might think – because even with smart suitcases there are drawbacks. They will inevitably run out of battery power just when you really need it and – like the Daleks in the original Doctor Who (before they got rocket boosters) – they will be completely flummoxed by the steps, stairs and kerbstones found everywhere across London town.

Option 2: Travel Light

You could say to yourself “do I really need all this luggage” and pack less – and there are some definite pluses to this strategy. If you’re using low-cost airline into ‘London’ Stanstead (we put London in inverted commas because it is about an hour away) you won’t have much to carry with you. You’ll also avoid any additional fees for hold baggage.

That’s fine if you’re only popping in on business for a coupe of nights, but of you’re staying for any significant amount of time you might end up looking and smelling a bit ‘trampish’ after a few days. That won’t be nice for anyone in close proximity on the tube or bus.

Option 3: Leave it somewhere secure

Probably the most practical answer of what to do with the luggage you don’t need everyday is to leave it somewhere secure. It’s especially useful if you’ve got kit or equipment for an exhibition or conference, or if you’re heading off on a wider trip to see Paris, Rome and Berlin – and don’t need everything you’ve brought with you.

One solution is left-luggage services at the transport hubs – major stations and airports. A bit like a theatre cloakroom, you drop your bags off and pay initially by the hour and then by the day to store them. The main drawback is you’ll pay for the privilege. The location of these services at the major hubs means they command a high price.

If budget is the driving force during your stay then an alternative is to find somewhere nearby offering a similar service. The trade off is convenience – you’ll have to get there under your own steam – but you can make big savings over the left-luggage service at the transport hubs. One option is self storage companies – but as most charge by the week, you’ll be paying for the whole time even if you’re not using it. At ABC Selfstore we guarantee an only pay for the days you stay, which means whether you need a day, a week or a month. So if you’re looking for a good deal on luggage storage in London check out our three locations in Wandsworth, Southwark and Camden.