When you’re on a tight budget, spending a weekend in the capital of the UK can seem like a tall order. London is known for being a place with countless amazing sights and experiences to discover. Unfortunately, it’s also a pretty expensive destination too. Whether you’re just going for a drink or two, or you want to have a night exploring the city, it’s easy to spend more than you mean to.
Fortunately, you can still have a great time in London without spending a fortune. If you want to protect your budget and avoid going too far over what you expected to pay, it’s a good idea to have a plan. Here are some quick tips for cutting down the costs of staying in London for a couple of nights.
1. Find Cheap Accommodation
If you don’t mind whereabouts in London you stay, you’d be surprised how affordable accommodation can be. You don’t necessarily have to stay in a hostel. Airbnb destinations are becoming increasingly affordable too, and there are tons of apartments to hire if you’re staying with more than one friend.
Remember, you don’t necessarily need to find a hotel that’s close to the West End or any other event you might be attending. One of the great things about London is that it’s so easy to traverse. You can save a small fortune by staying in a less-visited area and just getting the tube to wherever you need to be. Getting an oyster card or paying for transport via the underground is very affordable, plus it’s easy to use too. Once you get used to the underground system, you’ll be comfortable going anywhere.
2. Plan Food in Advance
After accommodation, food and drink are often the biggest expenses for a night or two in London. With that in mind, make sure you plan ahead. If you’re happy to make your own food in your apartment or Airbnb destination, you can easily pick up some food from a local supermarket and save money that way. It’s also a good idea to get food delivered if you don’t want to cook for yourself, as you’ll save yourself the cost of sitting in a restaurant.
If you do decide that you want to go to a restaurant for your London meal, keep in mind that your food might be a lot cheaper in the middle of the day than it is at night. Eating early can be a great way to save some extra cash. You can also find a ton of great resources online for locations where you can eat for under £5. Here’s one good example.
3. Entertain Yourself the Cheap Way
Finally, if you’re just visiting London and you don’t have any expensive events planned, why not find a free way to entertain yourself? You can go sightseeing without having to spend money on a busy tour. Just start off around the Trafalgar Square area where you can see the stone lions, then go for a walk along places like London Bridge, and the Houses of Parliament.
Most of the biggest destinations to visit in London are available to walk to by foot, and many are located quite close together. If you want to make the most of your time, think about where you’d like to go in advance and create a map for yourself starting at one end of the city and ending at the other. If you don’t feel like walking all the way back after you’re done, you can jump on the underground for a quick source of transportation.