10 Tips for Experiencing London on a Budget

Despite its expensive reputation, it is possible to see London on a Budget ... photo by CC user 90933305@N00 on Flickr

Between the London Eye, the National Gallery and Westminster Abbey, it’s easy to spend more than you should while exploring the streets of London. But what if you didn’t have to break the bank to enjoy the sights? Here are just 10 ways to experience London on a budget…

1. Avoid the Summer Months

Everyone wants to visit London when the weather’s nice and the marathoners are coming out, but prices also skyrocket during these times. Schedule your trip a little sooner or a little later than the rest of the crowds. Winter time is especially affordable.

2. Find Deals and Discounts

Look for travel packages that “bundle” things like flights, hotels and rental cars. You might also be able to shave off a few dollars by using student or senior citizen discounts when applicable. If you’re planning a trip well in advance, it might also be worth your time to join loyalty programs that will pay off when it’s time to go.

3. Invest in an Oyster Card

Oyster Cards will significantly cut down on your transportation expenses. Instead of paying for individual tube rides, you can simply charge them to your card after buying a discounted all-day pass.

4. Find Free Attractions

There are plenty of things to see in London that won’t cost you a dime. For example, you can take a trip to the British Museum, which is entirely free of charge, or you can walk under the moonlight on Tower Bridge. You don’t have to max out your credit cards to have a good time in London.

5. Consult Travel Guides

Travel guides can often give you tips and tricks for exploring the city like a local. For example, if you peruse something like Hipmunk’s guide to staying in London, you’ll find accommodation that fits every budget.

6. Watch Those Meals

Restaurants in London can get expensive, so try to avoid eating out three times a day. Instead, give yourself one or two romantic dinners and enjoy the rest of your meals in cafes, pubs and other small shops. You can also save on expenses by buying your own groceries and storing them in your hotel mini-fridge.

7. Know Your Neighborhoods

Places like Soho and Oxfordstreet are great for people-watching and window-shopping, but if you’re serious about not blowing your child’s college fund, you’ll want to avoid spending money there. Try neighborhoods like Bayswater and Hammersmith instead.

8. Collect Coupons

Tell your travel agent that you’re interested in going to London. They should have all kinds of maps, brochures and folders designed to entice you, and all you have to do is cut out those special offers.

9. Go to the Parks

Not only will you enjoy games, festivals, street performers and open-air concerts, but you’ll also have the chance to quiz the locals on their favorite places to eat or the best ways to save money while you’re there.

10. Get Creative

There are millions of things to do in London, so don’t limit yourself to what you saw on a travel blog. For example, if you don’t have the funds to actually tour Buckingham Palace, you can still watch the “changing of the guard” at no cost.

These are just 10 ways to enjoy London without going broke. Happy travels!

This post was provided by Fiona Moriarty of Hipmunk, a travel website that helps you to locate the best deals on transportation, accommodations, and more.