London might be one of the most popular tourist cities in the world, but that also means that it’s prices have risen exponentially over the years. When it’s a fiver for a pint and 3 pounds per train journey, it’s easy to see how those less well off can find it difficult to sustain any sort of lifestyle in the city. Nevertheless, if you look far and wide, many people do it and many people excel at living on the cheap in London. With many great hotel room deals at the Shaftesbury Hyde Park International, you can push even further on your budgeting, stretching to food, entertainment and travel. Once you find the budget shortcuts in London, it’s easy to see how you can survive on less than you’d expect. Whether you’re visiting for a week or a day, here’s London on a shoestring for you.
Plan around off-peak travel times
When travelling in London, try and avoid using public transport during peak hours. Not only will this stop you having to endure massive crowds and queues, but it will actually save you a substantial amount of money per journey. A single peak time tube journey can cost more than a fiver on the tube between zones 1 to 6, whilst comparatively, an off peak journey on the same line costs £3.10. Furthermore, if you have an under 25 railcard or an under 30’s rail card, you will have a whole extra third shaved off of your off peak journey.
Venture off-the-beaten-path to save money
The hidden nooks and crannies of London can really save you on costs. If you are looking for cheap tricks for entertainment and activities, try the boroughs outside of the tourist hubs. With many arts and performance venues on the fringes of the city giving you cheap prices for world class entertainment, you’ll be killing two birds with one stone in exploring a new area and finding your new favourite artist or performer.
Treasure experiences over material things
There’s a reason why parks are free to hang out with, they transcend material wealth and instead enrich the mind. When looking back at your trip to London, the things which will stick in the memory are the moments between the things you’ve paid for. Experience London with loved ones and friends and you’ll no doubt spend far less money.
Plan your journey around destinations with cheap visa processes
There are a wide range of VISA services out there which could cost you anything up to 10 grand. If visiting London for an extended period of time, the trick is to find the organisations who can get it for you for far cheap, sometimes only £50. Of course, this will vary depending on the length of your stay, but ask your fellow traveller friends for advice on where they obtained theirs from.
Book in advance
If you have the luxury of time on your hands, try to book your trip in advance. You’ll undoubtedly see a hike in ticket prices if you book within the month of your travel, so where possible do try and book in advance. These days flights can be anywhere down to £30 and could really save you money when booking even just 10 weeks in advance.
Use a VPN to find the cheapest deals
Virtual private networks can help you to find better deals. Using a VPN can give the impression that you’re booking from outside the UK, ensuring that you get even better deals on your hotel and events bookings. VPN’s also help you to tap into a community that can keep track of bargains and limited offer deals.
Book using a private browsing window
With ad trackers meaning that targeted adverts are the first search engine listings due to your past searches, using a private browser window can ensure that the best deals are not overshadowed by larger companies and worse deals.
Save up frequent flyer miles
If you are a regular traveller or always away on business, it’s only a matter of time before you rack up a lot of air miles. If you try to keep loyal to a specific airline, you could find great deals on flights for your next holiday, and could even fly for free!
Make the most of sales events
Whether it’s the January sales or a hotel offer, there are plenty of sales you can get involved in during your stay in the city. There are plenty of offers on an almost weekly basis for West End and off West End shows, meaning that you can keep your entertainment on the cheap.
If you are travelling to London for under a week, then try only packing hand luggage, ensuring that you don’t have to spend extra money on extra suitcases. Travelling with a hold all might limit your buying of presents when away, which will save you even more money!
Do your research
Before going on holiday, ensure that you have done your research on spots to visit and attractions during your stay. This will help you make the most of your holiday and get more value for your stay, whether it’s through knowing the art exhibitions taking place during your stay, or getting early bird tickets on popular entertainment events.
Talk with other travellers
Other travellers at your hotel or accommodation will be able to give you great advice on stuff to do in the city, especially if they’ve been there for a while. The longer you explore a city, the more you’ll be able to find great deals.
Get to know the locals
If there’s anyone who knows how to live on the cheap in London, it’s the locals. Whether it’s a happy hour at a local bar, or the best food deals in town, the people who’ll know the most are those who actually live there.
Shop at local markets
Shopping at local markets means you’ll find a great range of cheap foodstuffs often only enjoyed by locals. Whatever borough your staying in, you’ll find a wide range of food markets in the vicinity. The best are in Walthamstow, Dalston, Peckham and Brixton. Where you’ll find that the multicultural community brings in a diverse range of cuisines and ingredients.
Visit free art galleries and museums
One of the great things about London is how many of the most popular and often iconic museums and galleries are free to visit. With state and charity funded museums such as British Museum, Tate Modern and National Portrait Gallery, these institutions are ingrained in the very culture of the city, enriching your visit and demanding multiple visits.