London is one of the most visited cities in Europe. Aside from the world’s fascination with the royal family and the rich culture, the city itself has this charming old-meets-young appeal that can make anyone fall in love at first sight. Thing is, it’s also one of the most expensive. From the conversion rate of peso to pound, to the overall cost of living, the visit can and will burn holes in your pocket, especially if it’s only the first stop in your Euro trip.
Below, a few tips for the budget traveler—because you can’t just rely on your folks forever.
1. Bring an umbrella.
It’s probably not something you would immediately think of while packing for your OOTDs, but it’s our number one tip so you won’t have to buy when you get there. Do not underestimate the weather in England just because you see photos of the royal family enjoying the gardens with the royal mutt. It’s a given fact that half of the year is dark and gloomy in London. And yes, even during the sunny summer or spring (which is only a few months long), the bipolar rain can pour its feelings out.
2. Buy a London Pass.
If you want a hassle-free entry to the top tourist attractions, get yourself a London Pass. Choose from one-day to three-day pass. It also comes with an Oyster card, which will come in handy for your public transportation needs. It will be worth every pound if you plan your itinerary well and maximize the perks of this card. Study the book that comes with it, or better yet, figure out which places you’d like to see beforehand.
3. Visit museums and parks to save money.
Unlike other countries, there are quite a number of museums in the U.K. with no entrance fees. Yes, ladies, you can visit top art galleries and museums such as the Tate Modern, National Gallery, and the British Museum for free! Aside from that, reading a good book, or sipping on a cup of hot choco or mulled wine in any of their lavish parks is also a good idea (that is, if you can do so with the bloody freezing London weather). Breathe in some much needed fresh air that you normally won’t get here in Manila.
P.S. Be sure to catch the changing of the guards for free at the Buckingham Palace. It's at 11:15am from April to July and on alternate days for the rest of the year, weather permitting.
4. Ride an Uber.
If you get lost or run out of cash, Uber will always be there to save the day. It’s a lot cheaper than riding their super cute black cabs, and there are options like Uber XL that can fit an entire family.
5. Share meals.
Some restaurants have really big servings that can be good for two people. When you step inside a pub or a restaurant, look around to see a rough estimate of how big their meals are. Do your research if you have to. That said, be sure to try their fish and chips with malt vinegar.