London is one of the top tourist destinations in the world and why not? Beyond being a hub of history and culture, it's an especially attractive spot for American tourists these days. Why? Well, consider the following:
- There's no language barrier: although there are many English-speakers in tourist hotspots such as Paris and Amsterdam, not having to worry about potential communication snafus is a plus for first-timers traveling to Europe
- In terms of airfare, London is one of the cheapest destinations for those looking to make their way into the continent
- Lack of culture shock: social customs in England aren't dissimilar from those of the United States, making it easy for tourists to communicate and make their way around the city
That being said, traveling anywhere in Europe can quickly add up when you consider the cost of airfare, attractions and lodging. However, the following travel tips will not only keep your budget in check but also make your future trip to London a reality.
Take Advantage of Public Transit
London's underground metro (also known at “the Tube”) is fast, efficient and cheap. Arguably one of the most accessible metros in the world, getting around the city is a breeze for Americans given the Tube's frequent stops and relatively low fare when you purchase an Oyster card.
The Tube is certainly a cost-effective option versus renting a car. Between England's stringent driving laws and potential fines combined with the fact that Americans will have to adjust to driving on the opposite side of the road, public transit is the way to go.
Snag an AirBNB if Possible
London is known for its pricey real estate; likewise, affordable hotel rooms are hard to find in the city. If possible, scour AirBNB for deals to help keep your lodging costs as low as possible. Simply read ratings and reviews if you're never been an AirBNB guest before: while most people have positive experiences, it never hurts to do your homework.
Opt for Cheap Eats
If you're looking to save some money on food, take advantage of London's street vendors and cafes as an alternative to traditional sit-down fare. Likewise, many pubs boast insane lunch deals if you're out and about on a weekday. Keep in mind that tipping is less of a social expectation in the United Kingdom, which also serves as a way to keep money in your pocket.
Free Attractions are Your Best Friend
Sightseeing in London can most certainly be done on the cheap. For example, a stroll through Hyde Park or observing the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace won't cost you a dime. Also, there's no shortage of free museums in London, including the British Museum, which can help eat up some of your downtime if you're looking to spend a few hours indoors.
Looking for a “free” tour? Many businesses offer “walking tours” of London; however, a quick Google search can help you a snag a similar route that you can trek on your own via your smart phone.
Despite popular belief, enjoying London doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. With these tips in your back pocket, you can experience everything England has to off without blowing out your budget.