London on a Budget: Short-Term Rental Tips for Cost Conscious Travellers


This is a collaborative post.

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If there is a pair of words that don’t really belong together, it’s ‘London’ and ‘budget’ – but it is possible to visit London and keep to a budget. You just have to plan ahead and make canny decisions about the places you’ll visit, the things you’re going to do, and where you will be staying. Let’s take a closer look.

Make a Plan and Stick to It!

If you carefully make a list of London’s cheapest eateries, best bars and free activities, it can be tempting to think that stepping away from your carefully curated itinerary won’t be too much of a problem. Imagine a huge red flashing X and a klaxon sounding should you be tempted in this way. London is very diverse, and that means that while some places are remarkably cheap and cheerful, others are horrendously, mind-bendingly expensive! And the unwary traveller seldom falls into the category of those ‘pleasantly surprised by a wallet-friendly venue’ – very much the opposite is usually true!

Prebook What You Can

A good way to avoid unpleasant surprises is to prebook and prepay for as many of your activities as you can. You won’t be horrified by the cost of the Millenium Eye if your tickets were purchased weeks or even months beforehand. This includes your accommodation. If you can book and pay for your accommodation in advance, do so. At the very least pay a chunky deposit which will offset any final charges to keep end-of-trip expenses as low as you can.

Hotel, Airbnb, or Serviced Apartments?

Where you stay can also have a big impact on your wallet. Consider the various options available to London’s visitors:


These can be very expensive, and sometime use demand pricing to inflate their fees at busy times. While you might snap up a great bargain by booking early, do make sure that prices are not subject to change, especially if they become unexpectedly busy and feel justified in charging more than their usual rate.


This informal hospitality site started out as a great way to travel the world cheaply, staying in spare rooms and holiday lets out of season, but has become a behemoth of a business. This means that there is a huge disparity between one Airbnb and the next – you could end up in the lap of luxury in the heart of London or squeezed into a cramped box room in a distant corner of the city, miles from any of the must-see sights and attractions. Prices can vary with the quality – and some unscrupulous hosts will make a determined effort to extract every possible penny from their guests, by piling on the fees and extras.

Serviced Apartments

These accommodations combine the best of all worlds. You will have the full run of the apartments, which will usually include the use of a fully equipped kitchen and all the mod-cons you might need, along with an optional concierge service and housekeeping if that suits your preferences. Check out serviced apartments on to see the full range of what is available.

Consider everything that you will need on your visit, and take them all into account. Once you have made your bookings, keep your records handy, so you can always provide proof of booking and/ or payment. London is a wonderful city and you are sure to have a great time and stay in budget with just a little forethought and planning.

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