Seeing London for free??
Travelling can be expensive but if you know few tricks you can manage your finance properly.
Sure London is a very expensive city.
I would say next after Geneva was London which drained my pocket the most.
Everyone has her own limit so you should look into your own finance to know what you can afford and what you should just skip.
When I arrived in London Heathrow Airport, I immediately bought a sim card at a machine in the arrival hall for my husband.
It is cheaper than roaming.
That is because he has to be able to stay connected to work in Malaysia.
You can pay as low as £5-10 and use cards for payment.
Rate for pounds to Ringgit is £1=RM 5.40
So everything you will convert in your head to avoid overspending.
Then, I bought Oyster card for hubby and me.
Each card has to be depositted for £5 and you will get back once you return the Oyster cardbefore you leave.
I chose Oyster because it doesn't limit your days of travelling.
If you travel less than the amount you topped up, you can use more for the next day instead of buying for example 3 days card or 5 days card.
Oyster card still have a maximum cap for a day.
It was if I am not mistaken £8 something.
Beware that one trip on a metro will cost you £2.20 which equals to RM 12.
What to do, it is London.
Europe is cheaper.
Previously I reserved a Hotel in the city.
It was Hilton Kensington Hotel.
Despite the name, it has its flaws.
The room wasn't that big but it is big enough for London.
An expensive city will have high rate per square feet so the room should be small.
The price was RM 2400.
The good thing was that it will be in the middle of the city and some things will be closer but as London is a huge city, you will have to travel a lot to most of the other attraction sites.
I wonder if it was worth it?
It is far from Heathrow Airport and Luton Airport, which means I would have to take a taxi.
2 taxis for arrival and depart to later will cost me more than £100 which will be more than RM 500.
Now, what if I get a place still near London city with a direct train to the city and from Heathrow Airport.
Which means, I can just use a train from Heathrow directly to my accommodation.
After days of searching, contemplating, I found one townhouse in Ealing through airbnb.
It can be reached directly through Picadilly line from Heathrow and stop at the Acton Station.
Acton Station has an elevator for strollers and wheelchair.
That was an advantage for us.
It takes about less than 5 minutes walk to the townhouse from Acton Station.
I have saved my first cab and used Oyster card instead £2.20
Owh, the cost of stay in this rented room in Stewart's townhouse was RM 1600.
So I cancelled Hilton and chose this.
Saved RM 800.
The townhouse was 3 storey, big and all white, English style.
Stewart and his wife, little girl lived on the 3rd floor.
We got the second floor to ourselves.
Our room was big, neat, all white with a desktop, printer and office table, side table with reading lamps, baby cot, soft toys for Isabella, children's books, novels, maps and London guide book.
It was connected to a private spacious, clean and modern bathroom.
The room and bathroom was even bigger than the one I saw for Hilton.
We were very comfortable.
Every morning, I made porridge for Isabella using rice I bought from a store opposite the road.
I made breakfast for hubby and me.
So, one meal was saved.
We ate until we were full.
Got ourselves,cheese, breads and eggs for sandwiches.
Stewart and his wife was very gracious and helpful.
They were always ready to give advices and suggestions.
His wife even let Isabella used her little girl, Ishbel's prescribed cream when I told how Isabella's skin reacted to the cold weather.
From Acton town station to London central, it took us 15 minutes via Picadilly line direct to the centre.
Not all underground station has a lift but it is good to have our final stop, Acton Town Station, prepared for a stroller after a long exhausted day of exploring.
The groceries shopping for 5 days of breakfast was £10=RM 54 and you will have more than you can get in Malaysia.
Everyday, we spent £15-20 for food for both of us.
One dinner of falafel/kebab was £7/pp which makes it £14 for 2.
Lunch we would grab delicious halal samosa at the knightbridge underground station which costed £1.50 per piece. Grabbed 2 of them plus a hot chocolate.
Hot chocolate of £2.50.
Total of spending for food £19.50.
Though we didn't eat this everyday.
It is just an example to you.
I set it as £20 just as a guideline.
Which means there were days when we exceeded £5 or we used lesser than £20.
During my student days, I spent only £10 per day strictly.
I usually used less.
I was a student and money was tight.
Now, I don't have to make it that way. However, it is good to have guideline so that you can track your spending and not be surprised later by the balance in your bank.
If however, you wish to spend £15 for 2, I think that can be done as well.
Just eat the halal beef samosa 2 at one time and you will be full.
Even if you buy for dinner as well, you are still below the limit.
The samosa was tasty and filling.
I stayed for 4 days (groceries £10 + 4 days food £80+extra when I bought water and stuffs £10)
Oyster cards= £40/pp X 2 =£80=RM 432
Taxi to Luton airport on our final day £50=RM 270.
We have to be on our way by 4 a.m. so taxi is the best choice.
simcard £20. My silly husband chose the most expensive sim card when the last time I was in London, I bought for £10 only. It bugged me when this kind of things happened.
Total of RM 3031
The accommodation, I have paid before arrival, months before so I only used during my stay in London RM 1431.
But we did indulge ourselves with shopping and all which made the spending was more than this. We also bought Arsenal jersey for Isabella and hubby got himself Arsenal gilets. Since it is not related to the budget so I am not sharing here.
If you don't do shopping and don't buy souvenirs, you can definitely use less than RM 1300.
It depends on your finance.
RM 3031 plus without flight ticket for 4 full days and 1 half day is not that difficult to save.
I am not interested in museum, so I did enter any museums and save myself the entrance charge.
You can still see a lot of London by going through the city, streets, buildings and all, you won't even have enough time to see everything for free.
Of course the first rule is to have more than the amount required for emergency.