If you google “the most expensive city in the world” the number one is without any surprise, London! It is nothing new. That’s the thing that travellers worry the most when booking their trip to the city. But different than what we think, and what media tells us, London can be cheap as well and here I will show you how you can save money in London while enjoying the most of this amazing city.
First of all guys, I know that the currency in UK, the pound, is the strongest currency in the world, which, following the common logic, makes it the most expensive currency in the world, and for those who come from countries that have devalued currency, values in pound can be pretty scary! But I will share a secret with you, that were not supposed to be a secret at all: who converts, doesnt have fun, this sounds much better in portuguese, but the point is: if you start converting and doing the math everytime you want to buy something, darling, DON’T. Bear in mind that you are in somewhere else in the globe, forget about your own currency and buy what sounds cheap accordingly to the amount of money you have in the local currency.
How to Save Money in London
Buy an Oyster Card
This is the best thing if you want to save money with public transport. Oyster is a card that you use to catch any public transport in the city of London, from buses to undergrounds. It is cheaper, faster and easier than buying tickets everytime you need to take the public transports.
In great part of the restaurants in London you will have two options for eating, you either eat there or take away. Take away is cheaper as they don’t charge the table service, and for those wondering, yeah it is a big difference in the price. I have heard many debates about how expensive it is to eat in London and actually it is not, it can be as cheap as £3 or £4, you just need to be smart and look around, prices there is great, specially for the amount of food that comes in each meal!
London has SO many free attractions and to be honest, I can pretty much say that all my favorite attractions are actually free, believe it or not. The list of free attractions is looong. Great part of the museums are totally free! Also, we can pretty much all touristic points are free to see, I mean, some like Westerminster Abbey or London Bridge you can pay for an inside visit, but I doesn’t prevent you from admiring the building from outside completly for free!
Stay in a central Borough
London is divided in Borough, for those who don’t understand or didn’t figure out, it is like neighbourghoods or districts. Sometimes, looking for a cheap hotel, we end up finding some in a very far Borough and we think we are making a good deal here but surprise, you are actually not! Although London is a metropole and there is public transport for everywhere, some boroughs are harder accessible than others or even, more expensive than others. London public transport is divided in zones, the higher the zone the more expensive it is. To have an idea, if you stay in the central area, the hotel might be a bit more expensive but public transport to visit the most important points of the city, you will pay around £1 or £2, while if you stay in Zone 4 of the public transport, you will pay around £10 coming and going.
Buy food in the supermarket
Another way to avoid spending all your money with meals, you can buy food in the supermarket, no matter where you are in the world, in general, buying food in the supermarket can save you alot of money.
Drink tap water
I know it might sound very weird for most of people but, different than many places in the world, in London (as well as many places in Europe in general) you can actually drink water directly from a tap without dying from dysentery (people from 1854 would disagree with me here).
Take the free walking tours
One fun way to visit the touristic points of a city and get to know new people, is to take Walking Tours, they basically work like this, it’s one of two people that work as guides in the city, they form groups (everybody meets in an specific place, like a famous street or a square) and the guides bring you to the touristic points by walk, while they tell you the history of each point. There are many options of walks, and even FREE ones, which is even better. These walks are very fun and it is great to hear the history from the locals themselves. In the end, of course, you can be a nice samaritan and give a small tip in consideration for their time and work.
In general, London is an expensive city, there is no doubt, afterall, it is a metropole, a capital, and tend to have a more expensive way of life, besides that, the strong economy also influences, but like many other cities, there is always ways to save some money and make your trip less painful to your wallet.
It is definitely not a reason to avoid visiting the city, London has a huge historical and cultural weight and has so many things to see, being there you will realise it worths each penny you are spending! Don’t forget to check the 5 days Guide to London.