London is a favorite vacation destination when it comes to European capitals. Its unique historical sites, exquisite world cuisines and green spaces. As far as expenses are concerned, though, London is one of the least budget-friendly tourist destinations in the world…
The main cost? Transportation, particularly high throughout the year. Car hire services, for example, are notoriously high, whether you are travelling during the peak season or not. If you are travelling on a budget, these tips will help you ways to scale down when travelling around London. Listen up!
Purchase an Oyster Card
It is the best way to explore London’s beautiful sceneries when travelling on a budget. The card is a stored-value smart card used on London’s public transport to save on costs. You can save as much as £3 on a single commute. If you decided to pay for London’s rail network by cash, you need to spend as much as £4.90 for a single trip. If you use an Oyster card, however, the cost is reduced to £1.50.
Oyster cards are available on all international airports in London, but you can also purchase them online through agents. The company ships the card to your address, so you are confident about receiving it before arriving in the city.
Alternatively, you can purchase a Visitor Oyster Card that entitles users to discounts on shopping, dining, and entertainment, including playing the lottery though for now, the lottery is still available online. Visitor Oyster Cards are best purchased via online agents. You can top up the card using a debit or credit card or a DBS Multi-currency account.
Buy the 18+ Student Oyster Photocard
Are you a student with a knack for exploring the beautiful London city? The 18+ Student Oyster Photocard comes in handy. The card is similar to a regular Oyster card only that it includes the user’s photo and entitles them to additional discounts when travelling on the TfL network. Applicants can only apply for the card after completing the enrollment process with the university. The card entitles users to a 30% discount on standard adult rates that apply to Travelcards.
Leverage on Group Save Discounts
If travelling as a group, you can leverage the group save discount that entitles users to a 34% discount. The discount applies to tourists visiting in groups of three or more people. However, it does not apply to those using the Virgin Train Service.
Get a Travelcard
If visiting London for more than five days, it would help if you purchased a Travelcard. There are different types of Travelcards based on the number of days you are travelling and the zones you intend to visit, i.e. a 7-day, one-month or a year’s travelcard.
A Travelcard for zones 1 and 2, for example, cost £34.10. In case you hit the fare cap of £6.80 every day for a week, the total cost will be £47.60. If you have a Travelcard, you can save up to £13. The cards are loaded quickly into an Oyster Card using ticket machines in Underground stations.
Travel during Off-peak Hours
It will help if you travel during off-peak hours as the transportation cost is lower during those hours. Peak hours usually apply from Monday-Friday between 6.30-09.30, and 16.00-19.00. Public transportation utilities are – obviously – less crowded during off-peak periods.
Take a bus
Your vacation isn’t complete without riding in the iconic double-decker bus. It is the most affordable form of public transportation in London as each journey costs £1.50 regardless of the distance traveled. What’s more, the new hopper fare allows commuters to make as many bus-to-bus transfers for free for within the first hour. Also, your total spend is capped at £4.50 the standard rate for all bus journeys. Some lines still use vintage double-deckers. Try these 3 scenic routes!
Apply for a London Pass
The London Pass provides discounted access to over 60 attractions in the city. Used by more than three million people, it is the most affordable means of transportation if looking to visit famous locations like the London Zoo, Westminster Abbey, and the Tower of London. Additionally, since it’s easy to buy a London Pass using a smartphone, you get to save time spent waiting in queues.
Since the introduction of the Cycle Hire Scheme, cycling around London has become much easier. Head to a docking station and follow the instructions on the machine to hire a bicycle. The standard rate is £2 every day and is usually paid using a bank card. The rate applies to thirty-minute journeys made between two docking stations. However, if going for a longer trip, you will be charged £2 for each block within a thirty-minute ride.
Great news: the Covid-19 Pandemic really put the focus on bikes and additional cycling lanes will be added in London.
If you still want to save on transport costs, always makes an excellent option. London is such pleasant city to walk through and you will be amazed at how easily you will go from one neighborhood to another. It’s also the best way to really understand each district’s identity, let alone notice minute details in the architecture, stumble on lesser known street food markets, discover incredible bars…