A few months ago, UBS released a report that discussed the purchasing power in 71 cities, with one section outlining the cost of one night in the cities involved. Not surprisingly, London was included in the top 15 most expensive destinations for tourists, with the average cost of one night in the English capital amounting to $750. A little disheartening to hear for budget travelers, but like any other city in the world, there are always ways around these outrageous prices.
For years, London has gained lots of media attention for increasing living costs, however, the travel industry has been doing their part to maintain the influx of visitors.
In 2013, the Philippines’ flagship carrier Philippine Airlines introduced their all-in direct flights to Heathrow, offering Filipinos an affordable alternative to London travel without the hassle of layovers. Although Heathrow mainly operates international (or the pricier) flights compared to the regional airports, London’s main aviation hub continues to supply economical options to their passengers, from children under 16 riding for free on the Heathrow Express to the cheap car parks, located further away from the airport compared to valet parking as outlined by Parking4Less, who operate out of the airport.
But what happens after we leave the airport and are in the center of London? What are some things that we can do to ensure we don’t end up broke after the first couple of days of vacation?
Assuming that you are Couchsurfing, lodging in a hostel, or have already booked a stay through Airbnb ($30 Airbnb discount here), there are additional ways to limit those costs that London is notoriously known for, such as transportation. The Oyster Card, which actually can be purchased and delivered to your home prior to your travels, can save you quite a bit on the Tube, overground trains and buses. Another advantage of the card is that it makes you eligible for a myriad of shopping, restaurant, and other types of discounts.
In terms of food, consider visiting any of London’s famous markets that serve global cuisines for cheap. In addition to the markets, buy groceries so that you can pack snacks or lunches for the day to prevent any impulse eats at the pub or a trendy cafe. You’ll probably find good use with the TasteCard as well since it provides you with up to 50% discounts on various eateries.
And as for your cultural excursions, skip on the museums and exhibits with entrance fees and check out the free attractions located throughout London. From the green spaces to the free music gigs and street art as listed on Visit London, you have a host of free activities at your disposal.
Have fun in London!