London-bound for the Olympics? Be prepared!

It’s just a few days until the Olympics start, the Irish athletes have already started to arrive in London, but it’s time for those lucky enough to be attending to start planning their journey also. With the Olympics taking place just over the water in London, it would be easy to presume that the journey to the games will be short and hassle free. However, we have already seen that the massive influx of people has resulted in additional stress on public transport and on road networks. It has become clear that some preparation is necessary and AA Roadwatch is adopting the mantra ‘forewarned is forearmed’.

The main message for those heading to London is that massive crowds are expected; there will be long queues in tube stations and waiting for buses, so while this may still be the easiest way to get around the city, make sure to leave plenty of time to reach your event. Security will be very tight at airports and entering all Olympic events, it is advisable for your own convenience to carry as little as possible.

The Oyster Card is the easiest and the cheapest way to use public transport, all the details on how to get and use an Oyster card are available at http://www.aaireland.ie/AA/London-Olympics-2012.aspx .Stratford and West Ham are the closest tube stations to the Olympic Park, but it’s not all about the Olympic Park, Irish eyes will definitely be on the ExCel venue where the boxing will take place and we have all the details on taking the bus, travelling up the river Thames or hopping on a Borris Bike.

For those who plan on driving in London, it is important to be aware of the Olympic Route Network, a network of roads linking all Games venues and key non-competition sites. The central London congestion charge will still be in force during the Games, this charge is in operation Monday to Friday, 7am to 6pm and it is payable, much like our own M50 charge at http://www.tfl.gov.uk. If you’re taking the car, it’s also worth noting that fuel prices are higher than here in Ireland, it may be a good idea to fill up before you travel. And remember, if you are a registered AA Ireland Member, you are entitled to the same privileges in the UK that you would receive at home.

AA Roadwatch has recommended a few useful apps for Smart Phone users including the London Map and some twitter accounts like @OlympicNews2012 to follow during your trip. We’re all getting behind the Irish team this summer and AA Roadwatch has lots of advice for anyone making the big trip.