LONDON (Reuters) - 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 a month to go to the opening ceremony, on July 27, London 2012 organizers issued a list on Wednesday 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. They cannot be printed out online when you get there.
Organizers suggest checking the website www.london2012.com for recommended arrival times.
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 that, all being well, you will soon occupy.
For those attending the soccer, organizers “strongly suggest” not bringing a bag unless you are happy to have your entry delayed and possibly miss the match.
This is because some of the soccer venues, such as Wembley Stadium, will see up to 90,000 people pass through the turnstiles for popular games.
Top Tip number three is also 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 for those wishing to super-size their experience.
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,” says LOCOG, an assumption that some regulars on the Tokyo subway might not agree with.
Transport, and crowded subway trains, is one of the organizers’ biggest headaches alongside security.
Tip Five is a simple reminder that VISA are Olympic sponsors and therefore the only credit, debit or prepaid card accepted inside Olympic venues.
Cash, of course, is welcome anywhere and there will be plenty of willing takers in a town hoping to attract a flood of international visitors.
Organizers say that, excluding soccer, some 90 percent of Olympic tickets have been sold.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by John Mehaffey