The Olympic Games begin Friday in London, and the pomp, pageantry and competition are exciting for everyone who pays even a little bit of attention to sports. It’s also, potentially, a gargantuan headache if you’re headed to London over the next three weeks. So, to help you get around, conduct business and be as safe as possible during the Games, here is a last minute Olympics Survival Guide:

Traveling in the City

Getting around London over the next three weeks is going to be very difficult. Consider that an estimated six million people are expected to flood into the City for the Games. And London’s already overburdened public transportation system is projected to be 60 percent over capacity.

  • Be patient. Commute times around London are expected to at least double.
  • Definitely follow the Get Ahead of the Games Twitter account.
  • Try to avoid driving! As overburdened as the transportation system is, it still figures to be quicker. Better yet, walk if you can.
  • If you’re taking a train into London, make sure to purchase your tickets ahead of time and secure your reservation.
  • Consider avoiding Heathrow Airport and flying instead through Stansted, Luton or Gatwick airports. And so you know, August 13th – the day after the Games end – is expected to be a complete zoo at Heathrow. 

Using Mobile Devices

The 2012 Games are the biggest international event since the 2008 Games in Beijing. But this will be the first Games in which the use of mobile devices – specifically smartphones and tablets – will be so prevalent. That could very possibly put a strain on the mobile infrastructure, meaning poor response times, dropped calls or missed texts, etc.

Our best advice here is to have an old-fashioned back-up plan, like setting up time-and-place meeting spots ahead of time. If you’re in London on business and going to the Games is not your main focus, be very aware that relying on mobile technology could leave you hanging.

And if you have personal health information stored on the cloud, you might want to print out the important info and keep it in your wallet or purse.

Staying Safe

First, the basics. Buy travel health insurance. And be sure to get the mPassport app for London. It has all the hospital- and doctor-related information you might need in a medical emergency.

All of our usual travel health tips apply here – eat properly, get enough sleep and don’t put yourself into potentially risky situations. We recommend enrolling in the State Department’s Safe Traveler Enrollment Program, which offers safety tips while traveling. And this brochure from the National Health Service will help you find your way around London’s healthcare system if need be.


About The Author

John Miller is president of ScribeWise. He is an avid traveler and web-surfing junkie. Visit

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