Tourists take our London tours throughout the year to catch a glimpse of top sights and experience royal heritage. However, when it comes to managing money in the British capital, you could feel a pinch. The UK is definitely not the most affordable tourist destination in Europe. Americans are particularly aware of this as the exchange rate isn't favorable to them. But the good thing is that there are ways to make the most of your budget. To help you on your way, City Wonders has come up with these 5 pieces of advice for how to save money traveling to London!
One of the major expenses you incur is on accommodation. Hotels can burn a hole in your pocket. A cheaper alternative to hotels are the city's charming bed & breakfasts. You can find dozens of them in almost every corner of town. Moreover, breakfast is included in the price of the room. So, enjoy a traditional home-cooked English breakfast without the expense of paying a high bill at a hotel or restaurant. The quality will be better, too.
A Walking City
London is a real walker’s city because it is flat and well-paved. You can simply take to the streets and walk through the city to admire its palaces and monuments. The famous landmarks, including Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square and Big Ben are all easily accessible on foot. The only problem is London's weather. It can go from pleasant to dull, and drab to rainy at the drop of the hat. Be sure to pack what you need, and look at it as part of the city's charm.
For local transport, get yourself an Oyster card. It’s a smart card that’s a convenient alternative to tickets and it also helps you save money. For instance, the standard bus ticket price in London is £2.40 but you pay £1.45 if you use the Oyster card. These cards can be used on railways and on the London tube.
You will need to pay a refundable deposit of £5 to get one, and they are available online as well. When you buy the card, make sure that you know where they are valid. Also ensure that you know how they are used. Alternatively, you can buy discount rail cards or TravelCards.
Where to Eat
When you visit London, you have to taste England's delicacies, so manage your budget so that you have enough money for traditional tea in a good restaurant. For the rest of the meals, you can save money by eating food from supermarkets. This is cheaper and similar to what you might find back home. You can also visit food markets for an affordable lunch, or look for sanwiches at local cafés.
London is a shopper’s paradise. In fact, there are a lot of 'low-cost' places such as the Saturday market at Portobello Road on Notting Hill and the Camden Market in Camden Town where you can shop to your heart’s content, and save a lot of money. Porobello Road is the world’s largest antique market and has over a thousand shops. The range of products available in these markets is amazing. You can shop for clothes, souvenirs, food, antiques and so much more.
A London vacation doesn't have to break the bank. Make sure you choose the most efficient way to see what you want to see. Our Full Day Best of London Tour is a great start. You can then dedicate the time you save researching the best savings options for when you are not sightseeing!