Your Airlines is Your Friend
Most airlines will offer frequent flyer miles for those who use their services. Not only can you rack up points quickly if air flight is a common mode of transportation for you, some airlines will combine with other credit card services to help you maximize points. Take advantage of offers. An accumulation of 25,000 credit card points can give you as much as 5,000 airline miles. Your frequent flyer credit can save four hundred dollars and more on a flight from Boston to London.
Travel during an off-season and take advantage of package deals. London remains pretty busy year round, but the top travel time is in the spring and summer, when London lightens up a little and gives you warm, sunny days for strolling along the Thames River or lingering in the parks. The cheapest package deals are offered during the fall to early spring, but by keeping a close watch on offers, you can receive budget-pleasing package deals any time of the year.
A package deal can get you discounts on your flight, accommodations and shuttle services. It may offer guide services for tours, or include discount tickets for prime tour attractions. It’s best to sign up for package deals early as the offers are limited by date and hotel/airline service capacity.
Charting Your Own Adventure
Package deals aren’t for everybody. Many travelers prefer to choose their own hotels and only shave off flight expense with their credited airline miles. This doesn’t mean you’ll be cut out of the loop for special offers, however. Your hotel choice may still give you credit card points for your frequent flyer account. It may also offer its own package deal for frequent visitors to their hotel chain, or nights off for every two or three nights you spend with the hotel.
An independent search for hotels gives you a choice of location. If your budget is tight, check for hotels close to the metro services and buy a London Pass and a guide book. Buy an Oyster Card, which is a computerized method of metro travel, at the Heathrow Airport. Taxis are expensive and can deplete your savings quickly, but the metro services are cheap and the commuters friendly. If you become confused, ask questions. As long as you are polite, most Londoners will be happy to help you.
Visiting London’s attractions isn’t expensive. Many of their landmark sites are free to visitors, such as the British Museum, the British Library, the Natural History Museum, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. However, not all its attractions are free, and the better bargain for including a trip to the London Tower, a visit to the Westminister Abby and taking a Thames River cruise is the packaged services of a London Pass. You’ll save time and money, plus receive special discount offers for shopping and dining.
Dine Like a Londoner
Even with package deals that include dining discounts, planning all your meals with restaurants can still be more than you wanted to spend on your budget vacation. In reality, most people don’t dine out more than once or twice a week, and that includes Londoners.
If you want to trim your meal costs, arrange for a stay at a hotel that includes a kitchenette. Buy easy to prepare foods at the local grocers, and plan for some in-room dining. If your hotel offers a continental breakfast, take advantage of it. Your stay may not include the gastronomical delights of the finest in London restaurants, but your home cooked meals will keep your appetite satisfied, along with your wallet.
You cannot help but blend a feeling of culture and history when visiting London. Its influence in fashion, art, music, science and technology have been felt around the world. All great ideas have a basis in London. It whispers with the days of Roman power and resistance, it echoes with the craftsmanship of the Enlightenment. It carries you from the days of knights in shining armor, ladies waiting in stone castles, to bold new designs in architecture and cutting edge technologies.
(Photo via Wikipedia/Flickr Commons)
Loukas Billas is a travel blogger at gloholiday.com. He blogs about his experiences travelling around the world and helps others find inspiration from brilliant photography and awe-inspiring sites.