“But isn’t London super expensive?” has got to be the most common questions I get asked as an ex-city boy when talking travel and to be honest, London on a budget is possible.
Ok, maybe on a budget is a stretch but there are heaps of tips and tricks to follow to cut costs and make it more affordable. Take it from a local who survived in this city as a waiter for a few years, you can make your pounds go further if you know how. So forget tips about free museums, here are some of the basics for before and during your trip.
1. Flying to London (or not)
Firstly, flights. You are either heading to London for a city break, to explore the UK or as a good hub for getting around Europe. If you are travelling a long distance and in the latter category then here is a tip for you, don’t fly to London first!
In the past, I have travelled to Amsterdam or Rome to take long-haul flights because it has been up to £250 one way cheaper. London has high taxes and its fares are not always that competitive so look at flying into a different European city first, saving some bucks for a night or two there and then jumping on a budget flight back into one of our six airports around London (more on those below). That said, this usually works best towards Asia with Wow and Norwegian now offering discount flights from London to the USA.
2. Book in Advance
Book as many activities as possible in advance and you will be quids in but don’t book direct. We have a thing for coupons in the UK (and I’m not talking the type your granny takes into the supermarket).
There are tonnes of great voucher websites, one of them being VoucherBin which often have some huge discounts on theatre tickets, travel deals and much more. One of the popular booking engines, 365 Tickets can be used for sightseeing tours around some of the most famous sights such as the Tower of London.
3. Finding affordable London accommodation
Whatever search engine you use I will promise you one thing, cheap does not usually mean cheerful in London. Whilst there can be some epic bargains to be found generally if you want to be central you have slim pickings. Take a look at the websites of Tunes, Easy or The Z which usually offer central accommodation at a fairly decent price and will guarantee a certain standard of hygiene and facilities.
Alternatively, stay further out and use it to your advantage. London is a super connected city and we even have a night metro on weekends now. The bonus of staying in say zones 3 and 4 is that not only is accommodation cheaper but food and drinks can drop dramatically in price.