Pack up your bags, review your business briefs, because you’re going to London, one of the greatest cities in the world. With over 19 million tourists visiting in the first half of 2017 alone, it’s a busy, bustling, exciting city, where you’ll have the chance to combine both business and pleasure on your trip. But for this same reason, it can come with a hefty price tag. Even locals struggle to afford the everyday offerings of London, and are in much need of credit repair in just a few years of living there.
But that doesn’t mean that you have to. Just because you’re not as rich as a king living in Versailles, you can still have a fun, affordable time in London. All you have to do is simply follow these easy budgeting tips:
1 Book cheap accommodations
If your company is paying for your accommodations, you’re in luck. But if they aren’t there are still some strategies you can use to save money. For a more traditional stay, you can always use a budget hotel instead of a fancy one—because London’s so international, it’s got the classics like Holiday Inn Express and Travelodge. If you prefer a more luxurious hotel, however, there are hacks to saving money too, such as using an online business like Expedia or Travelzoo, using Trivago, or getting cash back at your hotel. You can check out these hacks in detail here.
There’s also the AirBnB option, which is valuable if you want to feel like a local during your visit. Not only can this be cheaper than staying in a hotel, you’ll also be able to haggle with the host. For more info, check out this article on the 6 secret AirBnB tips that will save you money.
2 Travel cheap
In order to travel cheap, you’ll want to make sure that it’s easy for you to travel by public transit and by foot—so make sure that you pack light. Business trips are usually three days tops, so you shouldn’t have much to pack, but if you’re not sure how to go about it, check out this article. It’ll mean that, instead of paying upwards of £60 to and from the airport, you’ll be able to take a bus or train and even the underground. To find out how much you can save, check out this guide from the Heathrow Airport.
Once you’re in London, you’ll want to save money on travel two ways. The first is: walk around! Especially if you’re staying in central London, most of the sights and museums are at most twenty minutes from each other, so there’s no need to take the underground. But if you’re a bit further out, you can save money by buying the right pass instead of paying for each ride. To find out what travel pass is best for you, and learn about hacks for saving money on the tube, read this article.
3 Spend less on dining
In a big city like London, the dining options are endless—if not overwhelming, when you’re in the central part of the city, surrounded by other tourists and shocked by the prices. But if you step away from the more expensive areas, it’s actually easy to save money. During the day, consider visiting a food truck for a meal that’s delicious, cheap, and easily enjoyed in one of London’s beautiful gardens. For a list of the best food trucks, read this article.
And if you’re willing to get creative, even dining at a restaurant can be reasonable. Wetherspoon’s is an English classic chain pub that has deals such as a drink and a burger for £10; it’s no wonder it’s always filled to the brim with locals. But if you want something fancier, consider haggling for a curry in famous Brick Lane, or check out this list from Londonist of 20 great meals out for under £20.
4 Save on the fun stuff
Even though London’s got a reputation for being expensive, there are many surprising ways you can save money as a tourist. If you’re a history lover, for example, you should consider buying The London Pass, which gets you free entry into over 80 London attractions and tours, fast entry into popular attractions, and a free day of a hop on hop off bus tour.
More of an arts and theatre lover? Then you should consider saving money on tickets to one of the best theatre scenes in the world. Even in the West End, there are ways to save money, whether you’re booking tickets in advance at a cheaper price, or using the TKTS booth for cheap last minute seats. And if you’re especially committed to saving money, there are plenty of music and comedy shows at local bars, especially high-quality open mics. You can do some research about what’s near you, or take a look at this list of comedy open mics and this list of music open mics. No matter what night of the week it is, there’s always something on.
Do you have any tips for saving money on a London Business Trip? What did you think of your visit?