You’ll no doubt be planning on spending some of your hard-earned cash while visiting London. But you can save a small fortune by planning your trip carefully.
no capital is without its shady types or tourist traps. However, there’s no need to feel unsafe in London. Provided you plan ahead, you can make sure you get to spend your money on the things that matter to you.
Here’s our pick of 10 costly mistakes you should avoid while in London.
1. Don’t forget your Oyster Card
An Oyster Card is essential is you’re travelling around London. Not only is it up to 50% cheaper than paper tickets, a Visitor Oyster Card comes loaded with special offers and discounts for restaurants, shops, galleries and much more. What’s more, you can buy one before you leave home and have it delivered to you – no more queuing at stations.
2. Always book in advance
When visiting London, you’ll no doubt want to visit attractions including the Tower of London, the London Eye and The London Dungeon. You’ll get a cheaper price to many of these attractions if you book online in advance, saving up to 10% in the process.
3. Tipping isn’t a ‘thing’ in London
Unlike our American cousins, the British are not a nation of tippers – though that’s not to say that a small tip will go unappreciated! Don’t feel any pressure to leave a tip after your meal; bar and restaurant staff in London are paid a minimum hourly wage which means they don’t have to rely on tips to ‘top-up’ their take-home pay.
4. Stock up in grocery stores
If you want to make your budget stretch as far as possible, avoid the expensive food stalls that trap unsuspecting tourists. Instead, pop into a local grocery store (or supermarket) and fill your bag with everything you’ll need for the day – you’ll save a fortune. Notable chains to look out for include Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.
5. Take advantage of discounts
Students, young people and senior citizens can all get discounts in London. For example, if you have an International Student Identity Card, you can get discounts of up to 50% in many shops and restaurants. If you happen to buy a Visitor Oyster Card, you will also have access to a host of exclusive offers and discounts.
6. Buy a SIM card
Avoid incurring any expected data roaming charges on your normal domestic SIM card and, instead, buy a prepaid card from one of the UK’s local networks. With generous data allowances (6GB of data for $7-8) and free international delivery available, it’s a no-brainer.
7. Visit free attractions
Speaking of attractions, did you know that it’s completely free to enter many of London’s best museums? While away the hours at The Natural History Museum, The British Museum and the Tate Modern – plus many more – without spending a single penny.
Top Tip: For the best deal, buy your SIM card online in advance and never buy one at the airport.
8. Invest in a London Pass
We go over the London Pass in more detail in this blog post, but if you’re planning on visiting London’s attractions then you really do need one. Not only will you save money, it also includes a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tour of the city for when your legs get tired and – you guessed it – a host of exclusive offers and discounts.
For more cost-effective and hassle-free ways to explore London, check out our London tours page.