How to stay a week in London on a budget: with cost projections!
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Total budget: $2500 for a family or 4 to travel to London, England.
Let’s start with the flight: If you used our post on the best times to fly, you will know that there are five months out of the year where you can get flights to London for as low as $400 per person from most large US cities.
*If you are in a rural area and don’t have access to an international airport, it will cost you more. Check the cost of all the airports you can travel to before booking. Any airport within a day’s drive is worth checking for a lower price.
Example: If you live in Columbia, SC it might be significantly cheaper to fly out of Charlotte NC, or Atlanta, GA. $200 per person cheaper as opposed to one tank of gas. If the price drop is worth the drive, consider it!
Ok, you got your flight for $1,600. That leaves only $900 for food, lodging, and transportation. How are you going to do it?
You need to budget about $100 a person for seven days of food. That’s a total of $400 for food.
That leaves $500 for lodging.
Doing an Airbnb “hotel” type set up (shared kitchen and bathroom) for the adventurous is only $28 dollars a night! So lodging would be $200, leaving $300 in your budget for tube passes and shopping.
*The London pass will save you a lot on all the cool touristy things, but it will raise the budget of your trip. If you are looking for an extra special kind of adventure, and I think you are because you are willing to share a flat with two other rooms of strangers in order to have an adventure, use our tips for saving on London travel to make your own path HERE.
Now for transportation: The Oyster card caps at $10 a day, (most trips will run about $5) so the most you can pay for the week is $70 a person. Times that by two people (anyone under the age of 16 is free on most rides. See rules before you go HERE) is $140.
That leaves you with $160 for the unforeseeable “extras”.
If you are looking for something more spacious and less adventurous there are options:
Rent a house: Airbnb has great week-long to month-long options on houses throughout Britain.
Stay out of London Proper. The London train system is amazing. It all depends on where and how you want to visit, but if you stay out of the trendy areas, away from hotels, and rent a flat (that’s their word for apartment) on a Tube line (that’s what they call the subway), you will be in good shape for traveling and a great price.
*Stay away from Hackney and Westminster. Even if you could get a good deal there, you won’t want to. High crime rates, high prices, and sketchy neighbors make them places to avoid renting.
Hotels: Even a cheap hotel is going to cost more, give you less space, and have less access to local amenities. The value in a hotel is the safety factor. You have a hotel staff to help you 24/7 if you lose your room key, need a ride someplace, or just want a recommendation how to get where you are going. You won’t get access to a “real person” if you opt for an Airbnb or its equivalent.
*Hotels have a tendency of making you feel like you’re on vacation. It’s hard to make a hotel room feel like “home” even if you’re staying there a month or more. By renting a flat, the “homeness” is built in for the most part. Just something to consider when you are booking your lodgings.
This will save you money if you are interested in doing these things!
P.S. Don’t pay twice! If you are getting the London Pass, make sure to get the Tube Upgrade with it! You will lose out on savings if you buy a Tube Pass separately.