How I Booked a Trip to London on a College Student's Budget

Traveling abroad is an amazing experience. It allows for you to embrace and learn about new cultures and see new things. The only downside is that it’s usually pretty expensive. College students don’t have a lot to spend on extra things, as tuition takes up most of our money. I traveled to London with family a few years ago, but I didn't realize how expensive it was until I went to pay for the trip myself. However, there is a way to travel abroad on a college student’s budget. I’m going to share how I saved money and was able to travel to one of the most expensive cities in the world. 

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The Flight

            The plane flight will be the biggest ticket item, as tickets abroad can run up to thousands of dollars. But, being college students, we don’t have that much money to spend. The key here is to plan months ahead, as this is when flights will be the cheapest I’m going to London in March and I booked my flight in the middle of September. You also want to try and stay away from peak times of travel to London. This is why I chose to go in March, early spring, because the peak times are in the summer and around Christmas time (December-January). I used Travelocity and Google Flights when searching for the cheapest options and found a round trip non-stop flight for $560. While this is still a lot of money, it is crazy cheap for a flight to London! 

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            This is another expensive item, and where it again helps to book during one of the slower months in London because there is less of a demand. I recommend Airbnb for lodging as it is a lot cheaper than staying in a hotel. If you would prefer to stay in a hotel, staying in one that is outside of the city center of London will also save you a lot of money. You don’t need to be right in the center of everything in London because the tube (subway) system runs all over the city and doesn't cost a lot of money to take you into the center of the city. No matter where you stay, you’ll need an Oyster card, which is the subway pass for London and it can be purchased at any Tube station. The tube is much cheaper than taking a taxi everywhere you go.  

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            Depending on where you go, different activities around the city can again, be expensive. It’s a pretty common theme in London, but there are ways to do all the fun stuff while paying a lot less. Most of the museums in London offer free admission, like the Tate Modern, National Gallery, and Museum of London. This is a great way to immerse yourself in the cities’ culture and see a lot of cool things while doing so. The Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace is another must, and it’s free! Taking a Hop on Hop off tour is great way to see all the main attractions of the city, and if you book them in advance, are a great deal as well. The one thing that I recommend doing that is pricey is the London Eye. The London Eye is a giant, enclosed Ferris wheel next to the River Thames that offers views of the entire city. It may seem like it isn’t worth the 25 pounds (which is 32 dollars), but the view, in my opinion, is unbeatable and it is an amazing experience. This is something that is worth splurging on.  

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Last Tips

            To recap, book everything in advance, you can never book something too early. Pinterest is also a great tool for finding things you wouldn’t normally think about doing that will fit into your budget. While I’m in London, I’ll be staying with friends who are studying abroad at a University, there as another way to save money. Finding friends who are studying abroad or studying abroad yourself are also money saving options. Think outside the box for things to do, and always check multiple websites for the cheapest options. Finally, (yes, I’m saying it again) plan ahead, and you’ll have an unforgettable experience on a budget.