From the moment we decided to visit London I’d been preparing myself for the financial massacre it is supposed to be. I’ve routinely heard that it’s Europe’s most expensive city to visit and one of the reasons we decided to only stay three days (two nights) was because it just seemed too expensive.
To my surprise and delight, however, London has turned out to be relatively cheap.
The biggest reason for that is because we found really cheap lodging. We stayed in easyHotel Victoria, which is part of a chain of ultra inexpensive hotels that have increadibly low prices. Our room was literally a bed and a tiny bathroom, with barely enough space to open the door. (It bases its rooms on ship cabins.) But it was also only £41 a night (for both of us, including all taxes), which was cheaper than even the hostels would have been for two people. Even with the exchange rate, it was actually cheaper than some of the places we stayed at in Brazil. It was also cleaner and in better condition than anywhere we stayed in Brazil. Though I’d prefer to avoid soulless chain hotels that have no sense of community, easyHotel has made cities that might otherwise have been prohibitively expensive affordable. (And if there was any city where we weren’t goin to spend time in a hotel room, London was it.)
If easyHotel was part of the reason that London has been cheaper than we expected, another reason is because there is so much free stuff to do there. All of the museums we visited were free, for example, and we could easily have spent many days visiting other free attractions in the city.
Other things have helped make London more affordable as well. Because we only had a few days in the city we got day passes for the tube, which were £7.50 the first day, but only £5.50 the second day for some reason. Food at the grocery store has also been cheap (we got a huge meal worth of food for £5). Plus, the exchange rate, while not great, is better than it was on both mine and Laura’s previous visits.
These things have come together to make London very afforable for us. I still can hardly believe it, but it hasn’t actually been much more than the pricier parts of Brazil.