Travel Essentials

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— Copyright Warner Bros./Photo by Murray Close

Calling all Muggles: If you find yourself boarding the train at Platform 9 ¾ this summer, here's a guide to what to do next.

What To Pack

Non-magical visitors to any wizarding world location should realize that without magical help they will see only open moors, moldering ruins, or blank walls. Once past this obstacle, however, the traveler will find the following items helpful:

• A stout walking stick. Useful on longer treks for persons who cannot Apparate, as well as for fending off magical pests.

• A cauldron. Handy for carrying supplies as well as for bashing undesirable magical creatures over the head in a pinch.

• A translation guide for English and Mermish (the language of merfolk), Gobbledigook (the language of goblins), or other magical languages. Travelers would do best to remember that some magical creatures communicate only with grunts, shrieks, mournful howls, or great bouts of flame. Casual conversation with these types of creatures is best avoided entirely.

• An invisibility cloak. Granted, these are hard to come by and might very well not work at all for a non-magical being. Still, how can one go wrong with a good cloak?

• A copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Typically, of course, the non-magical traveller will use this book in the hopes of not finding magical creatures. No stout walking stick, cauldron, book of languages, or cloak will protect the unwary from a Quintaped in a bad mood (and there is no other kind).

Money and Exchange

Wizarding money can be obtained through Gringott's bank in Diagon Alley. The exchange rate varies at the whim of the goblins of the bank, but generally a gold galleon is worth about £5 (around US$10).

Weather

For the most part, wizarding locations in Britain share the same weather as their non-wizarding surroundings. An umbrella is always a good idea, especially in Scotland, where the weather changes by the hour. If a Quidditch match is part of the itinerary, one should be aware that the game is played no matter what the weather. Even a full-fledged lightning storm will not halt a game. Spectators should copy the tactics of some players and cast an Impervius spell on themselves to keep off the water. Find more etiquette tips and rules in the Quidditch Pitches section.

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