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London Travel Advice: The Keys To A Successful Trip

Updated on June 19, 2013
London, England: Planning is the Key
London, England: Planning is the Key | Source

Cheap Flights, Ya Right!

Listen, just give up now. The days of finding a $400 round trip flight to London are over. So let's put this plain and simple: if you want to go to London, you'll just have commit to going for around $1000 from New York City (prices change based on location). Sure, the time of the year you go might impact this slightly or you might be able to find a last minute deal, but in the end if you see a flight for less than $900, grab it right away. Take a look at Kayak.com's monthly flex dates to see current price trends for your city.

As you can see from the chart below, if you are willing to fly on a weekday, there are still flights to grab for under $850. I would snatch those up in a heartbeat if they fit into the dates I could take a vacation.

New York City to London Airfare Comparison (Spring 2013)

Month
Least Expensive Flight
Most Expensive Flight
March
$848
$968
April
$815
$960
May
$768
$906
Weekly Rental in The Earl's Court Neighborhood of London for less than the cost of three nights at a hotel.
Weekly Rental in The Earl's Court Neighborhood of London for less than the cost of three nights at a hotel.

"Hotel" Should Not Be In Your Vocabulary

Unless you want to stay out by the airport (trust me you don't), you are going to spend a minimum of $400-500/night on a decent London hotel. This is highway robbery considering all of the wonderful apartments for rent throughout the city. Start searching for the various websites that cater to tourist looking for apartment or house rentals. You could always start with a click on Tripadvisor's HomeAway site to start the process.

A hefty security deposit will be required, but it's worth it: your own lock and key, multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, privacy, washer and dryer, wifi, the list goes on and on. Just be sure you look at a map before you book. Be sure your apartment is close to public transportation (more on that later), as well as restaurants, pubs, and grocery stores. There is a lot of savings to be had even if you just cook one or two meals in your apartment instead of dropping hundreds to go out to eat. Trust me, the food isn't very good anyway! But you knew that already.

The Underground

Steps to Westminster Abby and Big Ben
Steps to Westminster Abby and Big Ben

Oysters and Tubes: All The Transportation One Needs

The city is your Oyster if you use the London Underground (i.e. The Tube). By far, this is one of the easiest subway systems to navigate in the World. Get yourself a subway map, buy an Oyster Card, put some money on it and go. Forget about taxi's, forget about buses. Everything a tourst needs in London can be accessed by the subway. Sure, a little walking will be required, but the main parts of the city are safe and very walking friendly. Plan a little extra time for a pint on the way!

One key piece of advice: buy an oyster card from an actual person at the booth in one of the major train or Underground stations. The self-service Oyster card machines are very confusing when you make a first time purchase.

Going to the Country

See if there are any "smaller" tours available for a day in the country.  Stonehedge and Bath are two must sees during a week in London.
See if there are any "smaller" tours available for a day in the country. Stonehedge and Bath are two must sees during a week in London.

You'll Have To Pick And Choose

With so many sights and museums to choose from, you will really have to make some hard choices. Your personal interests and schedule will have to determine what "extras" you plan on seeing. But, the following "must sees" should not be missed, by anyone, ever:


Big Ben and Parliment

See it at dusk or early morning for the best views.
See it at dusk or early morning for the best views.

Changing of the Guard

Don't go to Buckingham Palace, go to where they start their procession: a much better experience.
Don't go to Buckingham Palace, go to where they start their procession: a much better experience.

Tower of London and Tower Bridge

You could spend the better part of a day at this historic site.  You should.  Take a boat ride there and pass near the famous Tower Bridge.
You could spend the better part of a day at this historic site. You should. Take a boat ride there and pass near the famous Tower Bridge.

Windsor Castle

It may cost you a full day away from the city, but it is well worth the trip.
It may cost you a full day away from the city, but it is well worth the trip.

Oh Ya, The Weather

Despite how you go about it, a trip to London will be filled with history, beautiful architecture, and some pretty bad food. Of course, you have to tailor the trip to your needs and desires, but I hope this article gave you some ideas on how to make that process smoother and more enjoyable.

Oh ya, and it's true: pack for ALL kinds of weather. Seriously.

London

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    • Boulism profile image
      Author

      Boulism 4 years ago from Short Beach, CT

      I am a huge proponent of apartment rentals, I love having the laundry and kitchen, big savings can be had by cooking your own meals.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 4 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      No, you're right about the hotel pricing. Indeed, they are very expensive and unfortunately, we could only afford a 3 star for that matter. And mind you, that was many years ago. So, you are right, "hotel should not be in your vocabulary" in London unless, you're Paris Hilton. Lol!

      Cheers!

    • Boulism profile image
      Author

      Boulism 4 years ago from Short Beach, CT

      Thanks reading freecamping, I lived I Perth for six months many moons ago....I LOVE WA!

    • freecampingaussie profile image

      freecampingaussie 4 years ago from Southern Spain

      Hi ! Enjoyed your hub !I have worked in London and will go back there very soon. I have a hub on London which I will add to as well as saving on Accommodation, I love how we all put our diferent ideas on here to share , voting you up for an informative hub .

    • Boulism profile image
      Author

      Boulism 4 years ago from Short Beach, CT

      Thanks so much for reading Chrissp, perhaps my view of hotel prices is skewed because I was there right before the Olympics.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 4 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      This reminded me of my trip to London in the millenium. I truly enjoyed it there but the hotels as you said in this hub is truly expensive and not to forget the food.

      We stayed at St. George Hotel (Bed & Breakfast), which is close by Paddington Tube station (if I remember it right)--not too bad for sleeping purposes although the room is really very small. The price is quite reasonable then. So, as most travellers would do, we had our breakfast from the hotel and packed some danish and bagel in our bags and off we go to explore London's best.

      It was one of my memorable journey to the world and thanks for reminding me.

      Cheers!

    • Boulism profile image
      Author

      Boulism 4 years ago from Short Beach, CT

      Thanks Mike, I enjoyed you city very much!

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 4 years ago from London

      Nice lens mate. Voted up and shared.

      Welcome to Hubs ;)

    • Boulism profile image
      Author

      Boulism 4 years ago from Short Beach, CT

      Haha! Thanks a lot, I wish I had found this site earlier....having a lot of fun so far.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Interesting and compelling writer's voice! You keep writing, and I'll keep reading! Welcome aboard!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good tips; I like your writing style. Reminds me of me. LOL