As a budget traveler, ever since my very first independent trip, I’ve started to learn how to keep my costs down while still affording to travel. I’ve been traveling since I was in University and at that time my only source of money was the freelance work I would do (translations and ghost-writing).
Shoulder season travel
One of the best advice for anyone who wants to travel but believes they cannot afford it is to just choose the shoulder season and not travel during the high season. For Europe, and London in particular, early spring and late autumn are two of the best times to travel to keep the costs down. Technically speaking, the shoulder season lasts from mid-September to November and from March to April.
Sure, you are most likely going to experience the “well-known” London weather – but I don’t exactly suggest to pack an umbrella. A light-weight waterproof jacket is enough to have handy in case the weather does prove to be annoying.
Don’t forget to book the accommodation and flights as far in advance as possible, with a “sweet” period being 6-8 weeks before the intended departure.
And speaking of accommodation, Housetrip offers apartments in London. Especially if you travel as a family or with friends, it would be cheaper to rent an apartment then to look for a hostel or hotel room.
While a double room with share bathroom in an Inn would cost from 192.42 euros / 2 nights for 2 persons on a hostel booking website*, an apartment which can house 4 persons, during the same time – in early October – would cost from 272 euros / 2 nights if rented via Housetrip. Or in other words 96.21 euros per pax in the double vs 68 euros per pax in the apartment. A cleaning fee should be considered (30 pounds for the apartment).
What to do
When in London, don’t miss the famous British Museum, displaying rare and interesting artifacts from around the world. I was particularly fascinated by the area dedicated to the Greeks and Egyptians – those mummies still haunt me (and I’ve been in London in 2011).
Don’t miss the Tower of London and the near-by Tower Bridge , two of London’s iconic landmarks.
And after a day spent exploring museums, you can indulge in some pub food, particularly the very famous fish and chips. Have a pint of local beer or cider on the side.
From late October to early November, you can enjoy and photograph the fall foliage, when autumn is displaying her lovely colors. One of the best places to do so is Hampstead Heath . You can spend hours exploring this area and don’t forget to go atop Parliament Hill for some of the best views of the city.
Victoria Park is another wonderful place to see the nature’s colors at their best. The picturesque lake, the fountain and the interesting trees will make for great photo opportunities.
Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are also worth exploring. The lake, the many statues and the lovely trees will keep you occupied for some time.
And while you are walking in the area, make your way to Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guards. Spoiler alert: the winter attire is not red, unfortunately.
Note: *prices valid at the time this article was written