The first thing to do when thinking about taking a trip is to decide when you would ideally like to go. City breaks to places like London tend to be slightly cheaper during weekdays when there are no special holidays taking place- so it’s best to avoid visiting at Christmas or New Year if you’re on a really tight budget. However, during these times, there may be some top London hotel offers to be had because of seasonal specials which means you could potentially end up getting two nights away for the price of one.
Another thing worth thinking about is that if you are planning to use public transport, you should endeavour to travel after rush hour when people are commuting either to or from their place of work. This is because travelling by rail or underground is especially busy at these times and so carriages can feel pretty claustrophobic, and you almost certainly wouldn’t have the luxury of getting a seat for your journey.
If you are travelling by car, the same rules apply, avoid morning rush hour at all costs and the post-work journey times too- unless you want to be stuck between the same junctions for at least an hour, which isn’t so bad if you’re travelling alone or sans kids. However, it’s not so great if you’ve exhausted every letter of the alphabet in a vain attempt to keep the kids occupied with an extended version of ‘I Spy’.
If you’re leaving the country to fly away to some place hot and sunny, it’s unlikely that you would just turn up at the airport and purchase a ticket; instead you would have probably booked your air fares weeks, months or even a year in advance. This ensures you get the ticket for the price that you saw advertised, reserves your seat and reduces stress before you travel.
In the same manner, if you are planning a little jaunt to London, and you are opting to use public transport as a means of getting there, then you should be organised and book well in advance of your departure. This is sensible for many reasons, but not least because it helps you stay within your travel budget. Booking rail fares in advance can often save you serious money, especially when the trip is in to central London.
Also, it’s a common misconception that travelling first class is extortionately priced, on some journeys at quieter times, travelling in first class carriages can be almost as cheap as standard fares. Remember there are massive discounts to be had the further ahead you book, so get your organisational head on and start thinking ahead now for your next great City break.
Another option you may wish to think about is travelling by coach. ‘National Express’ and ‘Megabus’ often offer very low rates on intercity travel if your fares are also booked in advance. It’s worth noting though, that one way fares often prove cheaper than return fares, so it’s always best to compare the prices of both before committing to a booking.
If you are travelling to London by car, then you should also factor in fuel and oil costs when working out a travelling budget, not to mention the fare for the Severn River crossing if you are travelling from Wales. Bear in mind that there may also be congestion tolls on some roads in central London that are payable between certain times of the day, so don’t forget to factor those possible costs in too. Parking your car in London can also prove expensive, and are often charged at an hourly rate rather than a daily one; some London Hotels will also charge you to park your car in their car park overnight too, which seems to be a common trait amongst city hotels in any area of late.
Rather than returning home the same day and having to make lots of rest stops along the way, because lethargy and tiredness amongst motorists can be fatal, it may be more economical to look out for London hotel offers on the run up to your trip. Service stations and convenience stops can prove expensive, both in fuel costs, and in refreshments, which of course are compulsory as you’ll need to keep yourself hydrated and alert in order to make the long journey home.
It is far better to get a good night’s sleep in a decent hotel, and fuel up at breakfast before making the trip back home, than to be driving along the motor way dog tired and hitting traffic, or even worse, being so tired that you fall asleep at the wheel!