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5 tips for cheap travel in London

Travel fares are an unavoidable part of any trip; even if you are travelling within theUKand not internationally, you will still be faced with the possibility of paying for train tickets or for parking, covering the cost of getting around the place you are visiting and so on. Londonis no exception to this rule and many people are surprised at how much it can cost to get around the city if they haven’t first done some forward planning.  Yes, travelling to and around London can prove expensive but not if you follow our handy tips on how to secure cheap travel the next time you are planning a trip to the city:-

1. Book in advance

This is especially key if you are choosing to travel by train toLondon, whether from somewhere else in theUKor from one ofLondon’s airports.  There is nothing quite as confusing as the train fare system in theUKbut it is one which can be understood and beaten with a little investment of time.  The main way to save money on your train fare is to book early; tickets are released around 12 weeks in advance and it is entirely possible to secure cheap seats if you happen to grab one of these early tickets.  That said, even if you don’t manage to book some of the cheapest seats, it is still better to get online and try to book as far in advance as possible; if you just turn up at the station on the day and try to purchase tickets then you will almost definitely end up paying far more than you needed to.

Booking your tickets online is very simple and straightforward and you can pay with either a debit or credit card and arrange to collect your tickets at your outgoing station.  If you aren’t travelling for some time then you can also have your tickets posted out to you although this does incur a small extra charge.

2. Book all in one go

A vital tip for international travellers, is to book an airport transfer and train or tube travel all in one go.  Surprisingly this usually works out much cheaper; so if you are travelling to accommodation near Hyde Park then book your transfer from Heathrow (for example) including tube, bus or train ticket toCentral London and you may find that you make a considerable saving.  Be sure to price up the two journeys separately first so you can ensure you are making the biggest saving possible.

3. Choose wisely

There’s a general consensus that it works out cheaper to travel around Londonif you stick to public transport or walking and avoid black taxi cabs like the plague but this is not always the case.  Certainly if you are travelling solo then you will find the cost of taking a black cab to be fairly extortionate and not at all expedient, especially if you are trying to cross Londonduring the middle of the day.  However, if you are travelling with a group and will be splitting the cost of the taxi then you might actually find it works out to be quite a cost-effective method of transport.  Better still, if you are planning on going on a night out whilst in Londonand want a simple way of getting back to your hotel, perhaps the Shaftesbury Hotel Hyde Park International, then booking a cab could be the best choice.  Not only will you not have to worry about getting back in time for the last bus service or tube train but you will also get dropped off right on the hotel’s doorstep.  There are a number of different apps which can be downloaded, such as ‘Minicabster’ which will compare cab prices and help you to book a registered cab driver who can deliver you back to your hotel or accommodation.

4. Get a travel card

If you are planning on doing a lot of sightseeing and travelling aroundLondonthen you might find it more cost-effective to get a travel card.  There are a number of different types but the one which generally offers the biggest savings is the Oyster Card.  This is a smart-card created by Transport forLondonwhich you ‘swipe’ as you board buses or pass through tube stations.  It is a prepaid card which you have to load up and it offers the biggest discounts on daily fares.  You can visit the Transport forLondonwebsite and order a Visitor Oyster Card in advance, having it delivered to your home or collect it when you arrive in the city.  There are also a number of rail and travel cards available for those under the age of 16 or students (who have a valid NUS card) which can also help you to secure a decent discount on travel.

5. Avoid peak travel times

Commuter hours are typically between 6.30am-9.30am and 4pm-7pm inLondonand this si when the travel fares will be greatest.  Try to avoid travelling during this time if you can; not only will it be cheaper to travel outside of commuter hours but you will also avoid the crush of Londoners trying to get to work on time.  The tube is a particularly busy mode of transport with many people choosing to cram onto the trains which pull in rather than wait for the next one; not ideal if you aren’t confident withLondon’s tube or are travelling with children.

So those are our 5 top tips for securing cheaper travel the next time you are in London.  Hopefully you can put them to good use and save some money on your trip.

 

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