Leave your bags at home if you have tickets to an Olympic soccer match but take an empty plastic bottle with you wherever the venue. Do not even think about a picnic hamper.
With less than a month to go for the opening ceremony, on July 27, London 2012 organisers issued a list on Thursday of “Five Top Tips” for ticket holders heading for the Games, some more directed at foreign visitors than the home crowd.
Number one, in a country famed for its inhabitants’ willingness to form an orderly queue with an air of weather-beaten resignation, is “Be prepared for security checks when you arrive.”
This, the visitor is warned, will be like taking an international flight at an airport. There will be queues, so get there early and do not forget the tickets. The second tip, for regulars of budget airlines, will also be a familiar one: “Bring as little as possible with you.”
This is because the more you bring, the more time security will spend rifling through your possessions. One small soft-sided rucksack or handbag will be allowed per person, which must fit under the seat.
For those attending soccer matches, organisers “strongly suggest” not to bring a bag “unless you are happy to have your entry delayed and possibly miss the match”.
Top Tip number three is also the one frequent flyers know by heart: “Read the lists of prohibited and restricted items before you leave”. This also means water bottles. Bring an empty one and fill it up for free at water points inside venues.
Any food brought in must fit inside the bag. There will, of course, be plenty of outlets on site, including the world’s biggest and busiest McDonalds.
Tip Four is to leave plenty of travel time. “London and the UK will be extremely busy and very different to what you’re used to.” Transport, and crowded subway trains, is one of the organisers’ biggest headaches.
Tip Five is a simple reminder that VISA are the Olympic sponsors and, therefore, the only credit, debit or prepaid card accepted inside Olympic venues.