It’s probably the most expensive destinations on the planet.
How can you visit London on a budget?
I found the town on a 10-day trip for a travel conference and I thought it had been the perfect spot to try my travel hacking theories to see in the event that you could visit London the cheap. Few people No make plans to go to London thinking they will have the ability to visit cheap.
But imagine if you could?
In the end, there are few impossible budget travel destinations the world.
A city as big and diverse as London will need to have plenty of methods to decrease your costs?
When you can hack London and visit on a budget, you can travel hack anywhere.
So, without further ado, here’s how my experiment went!
How I Saved on My Flight to London
I used my American Airlines frequent flier miles to cover my flight. A round-trip ticket from Boston to London cost me 60,000 miles, and also a service charge of $165.10 in taxes and fees.
The miles I used were “anytime miles,” but American Airlines offers “OffPeak Miles” (off-season really), and you could actually fly to London for less than 40,000 miles round-trip.
How do you get so many miles? I’m a frequent flier, therefore i can generate a whole lot of miles each year. I normally fly about 40,000-50,000 miles each year, which, in comparison to most travel writers, is pretty low. But I’ve written extensively on how best to get miles free of charge. I join bonus credit cards, join deals, use preferred merchants, and join every contest that provides extra miles. All told, I’ve accumulated over 400,000 frequent flier miles with American Airlines alone through these procedures.
While I’ve written many blogs on how best to get free miles, here’s an instant summary of the greatest methods:
- Join a branded airline credit card: Whether you like Delta or fly United and the Star Alliance, all US carriers have a branded travel credit card that provides you 40,000-50,000 points when you subscribe and make one purchase. That’s a free of charge economy ticket there. The quickest and easiest way to gain a whole lot of free miles is to consider using a travel bank cards.
- Look out for special promotions: I join all airline e-mail lists. I always look out for special two-for-one mile deals. Or if they have special card offers to earn extra miles. American Airlines just gave me 1,000 miles for watching a demo on the new shopping toolbar. I once got 5,000 miles for joining Netflix. Often you get miles for filling in surveys too and even by tweeting the brands! Utilizing promotions during the period of a couple of months can yield big results.
- Join a non-airline credit card: Join a non-airline credit card just like a Starwood American Express card, and you may get 75,000 sign-up points. Afterward, you can transfer your sign-up bonus points to the airline you utilize and redeem them for flights.
JUST HOW MUCH Did I Spend in London?
Within my 10 days in London, I spent 481.21 GBP or $710 USD. That computes to be roughly $70 USD each day. And that’s not only my day-to-day expenses. Which includes EVERYTHING : my flight to London, my hotel, transportation, food, drinking, and attractions.
Consider that for another.
I had a 10-day vacation in London for $700 USD that included airfare. When was the last time you visited Europe for that little money? When was the last time any big international trip cost that sort of money?
How Did I REALLY DO London on a Budget?
Before I explain how I did so it, I would like to take a second to describe a number of the ground rules I organized for myself. I didn’t want to backpack London. My goal was showing the budget travelers of the world — the two-week holiday-makers — that can be done London on the cheap without having to be a backpacker. That saving cash isn’t all dorm rooms, Couchsurfing, and eating pasta.
So, visiting London as a budget traveler, I made three rules:
1. I wouldn’t stay static in hostels . I needed in which to stay nice accommodation to prove that a good hotel stay could be cheap.
2. I had to consume a few nice meals . When you are on holiday, you intend to eat nice food, therefore i agreed that I’d have at least two really nice meals in London.
3. I couldn’t say “no” since it was expensive . Many backpackers skip sightseeing due to the cost, but I needed to do all of the normal sightseeing activities regular tourists do. You don’t embark on a short a vacation to not sightsee right?
With these ground rules set up, I set off to go to London as a budget traveler:
How I Saved on My Accommodation in London
I had hoped that by enough time I visited London, my Marriott points would credit to my account. Marriott offers a fresh card with Chase that got me 70,000 points and something free stay for registering and following the first use. I jumped upon this deal, however the points took too much time to put into my account. (On the plus side, I will have 70,000 points and a free of charge night at a Marriott for future use.)
Since my points didn’t get credited with time, I used more American Airlines miles because of this. I used 68,000 points plus $25 USD for five nights of accommodation in a four-star hotel. I stayed in a hotel near Hyde Park, an extremely well-to-do neighborhood in London.
Now, when you may use airline miles for vacations and hotels, you never get nearly as good of a deal by using them for flights. Five nights using hotel points could have cost me just 50,000 points. The idea here, though, is that by registering for a branded hotel card, you should use those points to get free hotel stays for the next vacation. Or you should use the bonuses from an airline. In any event, getting free resort rooms isn’t that hard.
For the other four nights, I was London, I used Airbnb. While I normally like hostels, I needed some tranquility in addition to a kitchen while in London. The area cost 150 GBP ($238 USD) for four nights.
How I Saved Money Visited Attractions in London
London is ideal for sightseeing because so much is free here. It creates sightseeing on a budget quite simple. The very best museums — the British Library, British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, and Museum of London (merely to name a few) — are free. Hyde Park? Free. Kensington Gardens? Free. It’s easy to fill a couple of days with sightseeing in London without ever spending a cent.
But sadly, not everything is free. For attractions that weren’t free, I used the London Pass. This tourist card cost me 54 GBP ($86 USD) for just two days of sightseeing. It covers over 32 destinations and will be offering free public transportation. You may get a pass for six days (87 GBP). There are hundreds upon a huge selection of dollars in savings with this pass. However, I didn’t have enough time nor the desire to see all 32 spots. I could see:
- Westminster Abbey
- Tower of London
- St. Paul’s Cathedral
- Ben Franklin House
- Britain at War Museum
- Shakespeare’s Globe Museum
- London Tombs
Without this pass, the same attractions could have cost me 104.55 GBP. I saved 50% utilizing the London Pass, and I didn’t use it for everything it includes. For this reason in so a lot of my posts about various cities, I stress obtaining a city pass in the event that you plan to execute a large amount of museums and tours. You can save lots of money in so doing. It’s among the best budget travel tips out there and is frequently overlooked.
How I Saved Money on Food in London
I didn’t desire to be the normal backpacker and eat kebabs and pasta for each meal. But as well, I understand locals don’t eat out 100% of that time period, either, and the best way to spend less is to cook, which is the main reason I got a location with a kitchen for my last four nights. I needed to mix eating dinner out with cooking a few meals. Within my 10 days in London, I spent 103.80 GBP ($165 USD) on food, which broke down the next ways:
I spent 9.11 GBP on groceries, including bread, sandwich meat, vegetables, and pasta. This is enough for three dinners and three lunches. (Seriously.)
I spent 2.20 GBP on water bottles, that i refilled during the period of my trip.
My hotels and serviced apartment provided breakfast, though I did so venture out for McDonald’s one morning. (I simply love those hash browns.)
The others was spent on eating out. I got pizza 1 day, went out once and for all Thai food for just one dinner, had great Indian one night, ate typical fish and chips another, had a few Starbucks green teas, and ate a great deal of kebabs. They’re everywhere in London. According to my friends, you’re a genuine Londoner if you’re dining on kebabs, particularly if it’s after a particular date.
As I said, I didn’t want to skimp on meals. I ate how so when I wanted to. I did so search for deals, though, as worthwhile budget traveler knows that good food doesn’t need to be expensive. In London, I came across the simplest way to eat from a budget was to consider lunch specials. Most restaurants I ran across had lunch specials, and several pizza places offered a “buy one, get one free” deal on takeaway.
Another smart way to save lots of money is to get the Taste Card. This diner’s club card offers 50% discounts on a large number of restaurants in addition to two-for-one specials. It could really pay back, especially on those nice meals you’ll want. You can only go on fish and chips for such a long time.
How I Saved Money on Transportation in London
My London Pass covered public transportation for both days it had been valid. And since cabs in London are notoriously expensive even by London standards, I refrained from taking them.
For transportation to Heathrow airport, I took the Heathrow express to find yourself in the town (18.50 GBP) and the London Underground to get out (5 GBP). Around the town, I loaded my oyster card (metro card) for unlimited used in Zones 1-3 for a week at a price of 32.20 GBP.
JUST HOW MUCH Would This Trip Regularly Cost?
Had I fallen in to the trap that a lot of people do of booking a “normal vacation,” this London trip could have cost me 3 x as much.
A flight to London from Boston at this time is currently playing around $320 USD.
Currently, the common price of a decently rated three- to four-star hotel in central London is 70-100 GBP ($111-158 USD) per night. For my nine-night trip, that results in around $1,000 USD, as I’d have gone with the least expensive.
Had I refrained from cooking, I would have added about another 70 GBP ($111 USD) on eating out, knowing my diet plan.
In the event that you add up all that plus my transport and food, I’d have spent around $1,700 USD.
By traveling hacking and spending wisely, I spent 10 days in London for under the existing price of a flight to London, saving myself $1,000 USD!
I visited London on a cover 60% off the expense of a standard vacation, and I didn’t skimp on anything.
I simply traveled smart, used reward systems, and employed everyday frugality to my advantage. I stayed in nice places, dined out well, and saw all of the attractions I needed. I didn’t sacrifice comfort.
Cheap travel doesn’t mean bad travel.
I needed to take a a vacation to London that my parents or friends — individuals who wouldn’t be caught dead sleeping in 15-bed dorms to save lots of money — could take. I needed to visit cheaply without sacrificing comfort.
And I did so that.
Travel doesn’t need to be expensive. By investing slightly more time into planning my trip, I could have an excellent trip for around the expense of the going rate for a flight to London. You don’t have to spend thousands traveling. A vacation doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, and next time you’re inclined to believe so, remember that yes, you’ll be able to travel cheap, and anyone can do it.
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Book Your Visit to London: Logistical Guidelines
Book Your Flight Look for a cheap flight to London through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite se’s. Focus on Momondo.
Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld because they have the very best inventory. If you need to stay somewhere apart from a hostel, use Booking.com because they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses and budget hotels. A few of my favorite places in which to stay London are:
- St. Christopher’s Inn
- Astor Hyde Park Hostel
For more suggested places to remain, have a look at this longer set of hostels. And if you’re wondering what part of town in which to stay, here’s my neighborhood break down of London!
Don’t Forget TRAVEL COVER Travel cover will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. I never embark on a trip without it. I’ve been using World Nomads for a decade. You should too.
Need Some Gear? Have a look at our resource page to get the best companies to use!
Want helpful information? London has some really interesting tours. The best company is Take Walks. They have expert guides and may get you behind the scenes at the city’s best attractions. They’re my go-to walking tour company!
If you prefer a bike tour, use Fat Tire Tours. They have the very best & most affordable bike tours in the town.
Want More Travel Information on London? Make sure to visit our robust London destinati