I have had the pleasure of exploring this incredibly fast paced vibrant city 7 times so far. Unfortunately though as we all know if you are an Australian you are bound to loose upwards of 45 cents to the dollar when exchanging your cash to pounds.
Check out my tips to surviving a trip to London without breaking the bank!
1. BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION PRIOR TO YOUR ARRIVAL
I highly recommend never booking more then your first or second night accommodation in a new destination simply because it allows for more flexibility. London however is the one exception to the rule. Besides from the Scandinavian regions, London is the most expensive city I have ever visited. There is nothing worse then being caught out with no where to stay or paying more for a hotel room then a liver would sell for on the black market. Accommodation in this city sells out fast and hostels tend to at least double dorm room rates on weekends. For your best chance to avoid this while still securing a central location, book in advance! Companies such as the Travel Lodge also offer several weekly discounts online so be sure to sign up to ensure you get more bang for your buck.
2. INVEST IN AN OYSTER CARD
London is a large city and quite spread out. The London Tube system is extremely fast and efficient with trains arriving every 1-5 minutes. This allows for a smooth and easy travel experience all over the city. For the low price of 5 pound you can purchase an Oyster Card online before your arrive or at any London Tube Station. All you have to do is load up your card with money at a station and away you go. The Oyster Card discounts fares by as much as half. It is a great alternative to buying single or daily passes, especially if you have an extended stay. Don’t worry. Once you leave London you can return your Oyster card and be 5 pound richer!
3. MEAL DEALS
One of my favourite London pastimes is taking a stroll down to St James Park to hand feed the squirrels, read a book and soak up the sunshine. All with my Tesco lunch! Large supermarket companies such as Tesco and Sainsbury offer affordable 3 pound meal deals. This includes a 600ml drink, a sandwich/wrap and a choice of a chocolate bar, yogurt tub or fruit bag. This is a great way to save your pennies for more exciting activities such as sight seeing. If cold lunches aren’t your style there is always McDonalds! McDonalds offers a different wrap flavour daily and all for 2 pounds!
4. BOOK YOUR ACTIVITIES IN BULK
London has endless activities on offer. A great way to experience the main highlights such as the London Eye and the London Dungeons is to book your activities together. Get anywhere from 10-25% off when you book 2 or more activities together. This deal can be obtained both online or by visiting the ticket booths. The great news is you don't have to do all your activities on the same day. To find the ticket booths simply catch the tube to Westminster Station and exit left. Cross the the bridge with Big Ben on your right and you can spot the London Eye on your left.
5. GET WALKING
There is so much to see and do in London.. All for FREE! All you have to know is where to go. Take a stroll through the Camden markets or down the famous Oxford Street shopping district. Head down to Buckingham Palace around 11 on selected days to watch the changing of the guards. Walk the perimeter of the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey or Big Ben! If you are feeling overwhelmed several hostels in London offer free walking tours around the city which is a great way to start!
If you have any other tips for getting the most out of London without spending a fortune I'd love to hear your thoughts!