London on a tight budget

London is an expensive place to live and travel, though it still tops many people’s must-see list. Luckily, there are ways you can get around the city on a shoestring budget.

Ride around
You can access a Santander hire bike for just two pounds a day, and then pay two pounds per 30 minutes of use thereafter. London has cycle superhighways, so you can safely zip around the city at your own leisure.

Travel off-peak
If you’ve got some flexibility in your plans, travelling off-peak is both cheaper and less crowded. Peak times on the tube are between 6.30am and 9.30am and 4pm and 7pm on weekdays, excluding public holidays. It’s the perfect excuse for a sleep-in in the mornings and an extended evening adventure.

Know your zone
The amount you will pay on the tube is determined by how many zones you travel through. Zone one is the most expensive, so you can save money by taking slightly longer trips to avoid it. MyLondon suggests touching on and off on the pink card readers when you transfer between lines, as the Oyster card system will assume you have taken the shortest – and more expensive – route otherwise.

Travel card
If you know you’ll be doing a lot of travel in a short period of time, a travel card may work out cheaper than a contactless or Oyster card. MyLondon points out that hitting the £6.80 cap each day for a week totals £47.60, while a seven-day travel card for zones one and two would equal £34.10.

Bus about
Zone one is the most expensive zone when travelling on the tube, but bus tickets cover all zones. If you purchase a travel card that covers the tube in zone two and beyond you can simply switch to buses when you want to get around zone one to save money. You can travel on as many buses as you’d like for £1.50 an hour, making it cheaper than the tube, plus you’ll get to enjoy the view!

Walk
We know, we know, walking isn’t the most original of ideas when it comes to cheap transport, but it’s also a great opportunity to see the city from a local’s perspective. You may be surprised just how condensed some areas of the city are. It may even be faster to walk between some sites than it is to take public transport.

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Written by Liv Gardiner

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