Anyone who knows me, knows that I love traveling, I love seeing a new city, finding out about its culture and the food.
I am lucky that I get to do a bit of traveling for work, but when I can I try fit in leisure travel here and there. My family and I also try have one trip alone once a year. This year it was to London. London is not the most affordable, in fact it is part of the top 10 expensive cities in the world. This means traveling there can put a dent in your pocket. Thrifty me however has ways of making traveling affordable. Here are some of my tips.
1. Flights and accommodation
The biggest costs when traveling will be your flights and accommodation so its key to get these costs as low as possible.
Check sites such as travel start and sky scanner for specials and affordable flights. Also consider using an agent. Their fees are saved by the discounts you get on flights and they get access to all specials. Also consider a connecting flight, although I wouldn’t recommend more than 3 flights connecting to a place like London. It is just too long of a trip.
I always use TripAdvisor, Bookings.com or most recently Airbnb for deals on accommodation. I am very fussy and these sites help me find what I am looking for. Just ensure to check the reviews before booking.
When in London don’t be afraid to stay a bit out of London. As long as you’re in zone 2 of the tube, you’ll be fine.
I found a lovely Morden apartment in Notting Hill. Loving the movie, it was the best and convenient choice.
When it comes to transportation, do as the locals do. In London, this means taking the tube and bus. If there for more than a week like I was, get an Oyster card for the tube, download the app, check routes and get out to explore. Most tourist and main sites are in and around zone 2. Another tip for other big cities, is to book a tour bus, like those red busses and get around that way. You usually can get a day pass and see all main sites. We did this in Paris and saved a lot on transport costs.
3. Sight seeing
Having previously lived in London, sight seeing was slightly different this time. We tried to go where we haven’t been or just revisit places we missed. When there, try emmerse yourself in the city, there is so much to see.
Get to Camden and its market and bars, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Tower Bridge, London Eye, London Museum which is free like most museums in London and see Hyde Park on a sunny day. Walk around and visit bars at Soho and China Town, Piccadilly Circus, and when you can catch a show in the city.
4. Food and Shopping
Markets are so plentiful in this city. Being a cosmopolitan city, you get to try so many different types of foods. Market food will also be much more affordable. Since we stayed in Notting Hill, Portobello Road and it’s market was a regular visit, but there are other markets to see such as Borough Market. Also try a burger at Meat Liquor off Oxford Road and Five Guys.
Walk around and have lunch or dinner at Soho and China Town. Since we stayed at an apartment it meant we could cook food on our nights in, and breakfast for late mornings, which was the most affordable option by far.
It is no secret that Oxford road is a great place to shop. It can however be a bit pricey so if you can try go during sale season. Primark is very affordable and has great finds. I love COS for its modern functional styles, and I aso found And Other Stories a great store. Harrods and Selfridges have most designer brands and worth a visit even if just to see new trends.
My very last tip would be plan a few months in advance and save towards your trip, and then go out and enjoy.