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London is a beautiful city, but it isn’t a cheap one. From visiting top attractions to simply getting around town, a trip to the city can quickly burn a hole in your wallet. Before visiting London, it’s important to prepare your finances to ensure that you can afford all of the food, fun, and festivities that the city has to offer without accidentally overspending. With proper planning, you can make your trip downtown both affordable and unforgettable.

Plan in Advance

As with any trip, planning in advance can save you a significant amount in travel expenses and lodging. If you’re flying into London, you should start looking into plane tickets 18 to seven weeks ahead depending on flight distance according to Skyscanner. For hotel rooms, TripAdvisor suggests three to five months in advance for the cheapest rates.

You should avoid booking rooms or flights during peak tourist season, which is generally in the late spring to early autumn. The cheapest time of year to visit London is around the winter holidays, from November to early March. Lodging and travel both cost less at this time, along with certain attractions.

You can often save on recreation and sightseeing by booking tickets online ahead of time. With online bookings, you can also be sure to get a space, and you may even save time by avoiding lines.

We definitely recommend getting a local guide – you’ll save much trial and error, and tour guides will reveal London’s hidden history and stories that you’d hardly find by yourself. Plus, you’ll get first hand insight into culture and may even get a local friend.

While many of London’s most popular activities and attractions are some of the most expensive in the world, other unmissable sights are completely free to include in your trip itinerary. World-famous museums such as the National Gallery and the Museum of London are free of charge for visitors from all walks of life. You can also visit one of the city’s many parks and gardens or head to Buckingham Palace to witness the Changing of the Guards

Create an Itinerary

Planning out an itinerary allows you to see everything that interests you without wasting any time on redundant travel plans. You can use your time more efficiently and ensure that your plans include all of the highlights that London has to offer. Planning out an itinerary ahead of your trip also allows you to check that all activities are within your price range, and makes booking tickets in advance much less of a hassle.

Start a Travel Fund

Well before you start to get serious about your trip, you should begin setting away money each month into a savings account that’s exclusively for travel. You can either set aside a portion of your disposable income from work or find another means of raising money, such as financial crowdfunding. It helps to keep careful track of your financial habits and cut out any unnecessary expenses to raise more capital for your travel fund.

As long as you manage your finances properly, it’s easy to plan a trip to London on a budget. You can see all of the city’s most famous attractions without having to worry about draining your savings account.