London’s a great place to hang out with friends or take the family for a much-needed break…assuming of course you’re happy to hand over top-dollar for everything but the air. Yes, London is one of the world’s most expensive places and this isn’t likely to change anytime soon, but to be put off visiting this iconic mecca of all things multicultural just because it’s on the pricey side would be a shame.
The biggest financial outlay when staying in London is always going to be the hotel you choose – three figures being about the average for anything above barrel-bottom. However, there are plenty of ways and means by which you can bag a genuine bargain and ensure you have more money left over to spend elsewhere.
Take it from travellers with decades of experience in bargain-hunting in London – cheap hotel stays in the capital are real!
Location, Location, Location
Right off the bat, insist on staying in a five-star hotel near oxford street and you really cannot expect to pay peanuts. However, stray a little further afield and you’ll suddenly find yourself able to stay in the lap of luxury for a hell of a lot less. Head north toward Belsize Park, drift West toward Wembley or go south in the direction of Wimbledon – all of these spots are within easy reach of the city centre by tube and will save you a small fortune in hotel costs.
Sad as it may be, the days of true last-minute bargains are gone…dead as the dinosaurs. We’re now in an age where the longer you wait, the more you’ll pay – it’s a culture of first-come-first-served you just have to get used to. As such, the longer in advance you can afford to book, the higher your chances of snagging one of the limited cheap rooms on offer.
Pay in Advance
And in a similar vein, try committing to your plans as far in advance as possible by paying and agreeing to a non-refundable booking – chances are you’ll save a minimum of 20% or even more.
If booking in advance isn’t an option, try making your reservation on a Wednesday. It’s an industry secret but one that’s not been well kept – hotels tend to adjust their prices on a Wednesday having factored in performance and booking taken during the week so far. So if things are looking dead as a doornail midweek, prices for the weekend often go down.
Driving in London isn’t exactly fun – from a simple road safety standpoint it’s best to give it a miss. But in terms of keeping things cheap, it’s not uncommon to be charged £10, £20 or in some cases up to £50 per day to park your car if you’re right in the thick of things. Add on that congestion charge you also have to pay and you might end up paying more to park than you did for your room!