Visiting London, as big of a dream it is, has its many costs. Mainly financial costs – related to basic things like getting here, paying for accommodation, getting around, eating or to the purpose of your visit like attractions, historical heritage, culture events and more. What seems to be the first and foremost concern of tourists though is especially the cost of accommodation. And I see why this is so – this is the first thing you check when you start planning a trip: where you want to go and where you will be staying. And if you decide to just take a peek at what London offers and search for hotels in the capital – you might very well leave the plans for coming here for a better time, like after you’ve married a duke, for example. That’s why I’m stepping in. Just like everything else in London, finding a place to stay has its secret passages. A room in the city could also turn to be a quite affordable thing if only you know where to search!
Firstly, you know that there are many websites who offer convenient searching options and combine in a neat and contracted list the offers all over the internet with additional options for reservations, cancellations and changing dates. But many of those websites tend to miss very attractive options for no apparent reasons; sometimes they might even charge you a gross commission for that. So my advice is to turn to websites like http://www.hotels.com/ which provides offers of the day which are reduced to half the regular price of rooms, bonus nights, discounts, last-minute offers and many more welcome ideas to put you at ease. Other services you can use are Orbitz, Hotwire , Travelocity , Expedia . Just make sure to look carefully – if some feature of the site tells you that another day of the week offers will be more alluring, than it’s best to come back and check again on that day. Unless you’ve found a deal – in this case, don’t wait! Book as soon as possible because with each hour prices rise and places go extinct!
When you have already decided on your preferred way of searching, the next step is to pick what you are searching for.
Hotels are the most common accommodation opted for. We’re all familiar with London’s luxurious hotel offers, at which staying for 3 nights will cost right about your yearly rent at home, yes, these are famous. But such a diverse city offers diverse places to stay as well! A safe bet would be to go with the established chain hotels; you probably know them from your home countries.
Premier Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Travelodge, Tune Hotels, Ibis – these are the most popular chains around London and over the years they have developed as synonyms to cost-effective travelling. What is the advantage of chains is that they might cost less but still – it would be inexcusable and highly destructive for the hotels to offer undesirable conditions for the respective price. With such established names you know that even though you’re not staying at a 5-star hotel – the quality of your room will not be compromised. And an additional advice would be to subscribe to the hotels’ bulletins, unless of course you have a set date for your trip and cannot afford to sit and wait for e-mails!
Another way to go about booking a hotel is to look for family or Bed & Breakfast hotels. Be careful, because some of those might turn out to be not what you expected or saw from the photos. So trust only high reputation sites and browse through users’ comments! You can search for some lists or ranks of Bed & Breakfast cute places – obviously, they won’t have the full rating, but the most important thing is to find strong evidence that they are clean. And maybe that they are not 30 km away from the town center…
The second most popular choice of accommodation that tourists make when visiting London is to stay at a hostel and use all that money saved for bars, attractions or shops. This is more frequently done by the youth as they don’t so much need privacy, comfort or luxury compared to excitement, new people and adventure! But this is not necessarily the case. More and more hostels are offering rooms for couples or even families. You shouldn’t picture all hostels like the one from the movie…If you take the time to look for the proper place, with regard to value, location and provided facilities, you will surely find a suitable option no matter your age, gender or family status. And if you are a group of friends coming together to London – I promise you, this would turn out to be the best decision; you will get even more time together and make sure that there is someone keeping the party animals in the others awake at any time!
A similar idea would be to use the Halls of Residence of some universities. During the school year they are unavailable, but when summer break comes – many campuses offer places to tourists and sometimes cost less than a hostel. And you would get to re-experience college years, right?
My favorite London accommodation option, although I should stay impartial, is renting a small apartment. You surely see the benefits – privacy, more space, more of the feeling you have at home and especially – a kitchen. The prices will be a little bit higher than those for a room, yes, but just take a minute to think of the amount you’re going to save up on buying meals! With a kitchen you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want and it would cost you just a small bag of groceries! You can look for such apartments at some websites – Wimdu and Airbnb , for example.
My last suggestions might be a bit unexpected. In London, there are actually special location where you can camp. Yes, camp! You can take your tent and have nature-connected stay at the capital of Britain. You can check the locations available here – Camping in London – and decide whether such conditions would be good for you!
And a tip that goes with all options is not to be hesitant and not to wait! You know that you are not the only one browsing for a cheap deal and if you find a suitable place, price, dates and all the rest from the package – it is vital not to leave the booking for tonight or wait for your partner to approve or anything else. Waste an hour and the offer might well be gone.
As for the detail of what dates to choose so as to avoid the doubled prices…You know that winter is the cheapest season to travel around London, except during the holidays, of course. If are planning a winter trip and book a room well in advance – 3-4 month prior to your arrival, let’s say – you are probably paying half the price of a regular trip. And if you are set on a warmer coming during spring, summer or fall – make sure to arrange everything at least 5 month before you come; this way you will save the optimal amount from accommodation.
I know that the simple act of booking a room for your stay in London might now seem a complex challenge for which you need some previous education…But don’t be discouraged by the number of options and factors you have to consider – just take the time to browse, think carefully and be sure to do all this well in advance. This way, you will have a lot more to spend on our wonderful bars and shows!!