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Budget Travelers (rates are just not all the same, etc.) :-)

Maryland
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Budget Travelers (rates are just not all the same, etc.) :-)

This topic is for travelers with budget concerns planning their trip to London. Seasoned European's and travelers probably know this already, this is for the ppl like me who are... Duh.

Since I decided to travel to London, then later added Paris my quest for information or budget related data became an obsession.

I am not rich, just a surbuban housewife doing a solo trip of my dreams. First the air travel.

Air: I originally started on Expedia.com to find air, went back and forth between itineraries and going to Paris or not going to Paris, finally decided so the next morning when i went to book my air, it had went up $200 dollars! I went into panic mode!

Next, I went to Priceline.com and found better flights (translation: no small communter flights or choppy ride in US) and at the original price I had found on Expedia.com.

Hotel, first I settled on a highly recommended affordable hotel, but after scrunching the numbers, I realized I had to cut corners since I had added an expensive eurorail ride to Paris. (Do check dates on various days/weeks and be flexible, rail rates there vary too!)

Rail: My train ended up being $297 one way to Paris, I later found seats in the $148 range and lower, so yep, I was bummed out. I did not know or think rail would be that expensive. Duh (Yes, I'm flying back from Paris to US).

Finally, when looking for another hotel I searched every possible website and decided on a decent/good rated hotel (depending on which site reviews you read), but in my price range with private room, free wi-fi and tv and a 2 Euro breakfast . First site bookings.com gave me a rate of $150 Eruo for 2 nights, but I found the same hotel on Travelstay.com for $73 euro, same type single room, same hotel, same 2 nights! My compromise is that it's further out than I orginally wanted. (I went from the Hotel Bridge to the Bridge Park Hotel). At this point, I don't care if it's not as nice, I'm just hoping for the best. Honestly, I'm just trying to see London and not have to panhandle or worst on the streets to do it. Lol

So do your leg work, compare, and know that you can save a lot of money if you check differnet sites and different dates for each leg of the vacation.

Just my .2

London, United...
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1. Re: Budget Travelers (rates are just not all the same, etc.) :-)

Geekymell- just for info, we use ££ sterling in the UK still- in Paris you will use Euros.

Are you locked into the hotel? I know it's cheap, but I don't think I could happily recommend this for someone travelling alone to London for the first time. Don't misunderstand, it's not a place that's dangerous for you, but it's not the best looking part of town and if you are not used to the rougher end of large cities it may make you feel uneasy. Not really anywhere to pop out to in the evening etc. Others may disagree with me, but is there no chance of a rethink?

Bingley, United...
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for Edinburgh
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2. Re: Budget Travelers (rates are just not all the same, etc.) :-)

Eurorail - to be absolutely correct Eurail is a ticket selling agency. If you want to travel between London & Paris you look for Eurostar - as any guidebook would tell you.

The Bridge Park Hotel is near Wembley - have you taken into account the additional cost in time & money of getting there as it's in zone 3 and you have limited choice of transport. Try the Earls Court area which is more central and has direct & easy access to most of what you'd want to see as well as Heathrow & Gatwick (well Easybus to Gatwick so not so easy)

Flying back from Paris to US is a good idea as you don't have the time or cost of returning to London - or having to return the day before so as to ensure you don't miss your flight

And not assuming the first price is the best price is good - as your Eurostar experience shows

Edited: 30 June 2011, 17:56
London
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for London
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3. Re: Budget Travelers (rates are just not all the same, etc.) :-)

I know I put you off the Bridge hotel but honestly the New Bridge is probably worse. Not the hotel itself (I don't know it) but the location.

Have you even tried bidding on priceline as suggested? Or consider somewhere like student vacation accomm like the LSE or even a YHA.

http://www.lsevacations.co.uk/

http://www.tunehotels.com/uk

http://www.easyhotel.com/

I also think the main thing you've left off your list of tips is plan and do your research (like booking Eurostar tickets from Eurostar) earlier and try and avoid 'peak' tourist times of year like July.

Vancouver, Canada
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for London
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4. Re: Budget Travelers (rates are just not all the same, etc.) :-)

Conventional wisdom often indicates that booking directly with an airline, train operating company or hotel offers the best deals; larger companies will guarantee the lowest rates or match those found elsewhere because those companies want direct business rather than work with third parties. Mell's rail booking was an expensive lesson, but I suspect she'll not make it again.

Booking with airlines is handier in case of irrops, because rather than go through an intermediary one deals directly with an airline. Airfares can rise and fall within any 24h period and what goes up can go down. Once you book, try not to look at fares again.

I too think you may want to rethink your hotel location. You won't be able to nip 'home' during the day if you would like to, at least not quickly and easily.

Have a look at some of the decent but not flashy bed and breakfast hotels near King's Cross. The Crestfield is worth booking, along with the Meridiana, Alhambra and Jesmond Dene.

Edinburgh, United...
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5. Re: Budget Travelers (rates are just not all the same, etc.) :-)

You should also try www.holidaydealcompare.com

www.OctopusTravel.com

Maryland
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87 posts
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6. Re: Budget Travelers (rates are just not all the same, etc.) :-)

Thanks for all the tips and advice!

As you all can see, I am completely out of my element there in a foreign country on my own. Thank God I have a super supportive husband who only half listens. lol

When I was last in Europe, I just hopped off the plane with suitcase in hand and found a great hostel walking the streets I will never forget in Spain, but that was in November and I was an airline employee. Guess I thought it would be that simple, until I started looking at hotel sell outs and didn't want to be homeless there. :-D

"Keep Calm and Carry on," I cannot deny your comment got me to thinking, but in the end it came down to the money difference. Unfortunately, I paid a small deposit for the new hotel so I may well be SOL, but you live and learn.

On top of all of this, my daughter's 9th birthday is in 2 days and I'm a quasi party planner soooo, I was anxious to try and find a hotel solution to move on. True, I realized the hotel wasn't a hop on the rail to center city, but the neighborhood issue is one I hadn't thought of. Honestly, the commute is more of an issue to me.

Well gotta go pick my tween up from camp, guess I'll get at this hotel thing again when I get back home. Maybe they will let me transfer the fee to another hotel. I'm not holding my breath though.

Thanks everyone!

London
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for London
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7. Re: Budget Travelers (rates are just not all the same, etc.) :-)

Maybe they will let me transfer the fee to another hotel.

Doesn't work like that I'm afraid. Suggest you forfeit this and startwith the options on this and your other threads. And Spain in November vs London/Paris when tout le monde is on holiday could not be more different.

Seriously I would go for a good hostel over the New Bridge. You might also want to look at sites like airbnb which have b+b in private homes in central locations or some of the places listed in this recent article.

guardian.co.uk/travel/2011/jun/21/one-fine-s…

Maryland
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87 posts
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8. Re: Budget Travelers (rates are just not all the same, etc.) :-)

I guess the problem I had/have is not having a grasp of the different areas and thier distances from central London. Gauging distances and direction is an issue with me (+ the limitation of my low budget), is a challenge. Here, I rely on my gps to go to different places.

I looked at the b+b's and airnb as well as private homes but I do need free wi-fi to stay in touch at home and on FB (lol), and a TV to keep me occupied at night, assuming I will not fall straight asleep as I do not at home.

One place I really liked was Goldsmith's all women property, but they only had a tv in the lounge and a fee on wi-fi. (I emailed them for the fee but haven't heard back).

I am going to check the properties suggested avove for me. Thanks again!

P.S. I didn't cancel my 1st hotel yet, so I guess that's still an option.

London, United...
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9. Re: Budget Travelers (rates are just not all the same, etc.) :-)

I think you need to get a decent map of London, and look at it in conjunction with the tube map and the travel time information you can get www.tfl.gov.uk

U.S. expats
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for Windsor, London, Dry Tortugas National Park
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10. Re: Budget Travelers (rates are just not all the same, etc.) :-)

Yes, I recommend this map--

amazon.com/gp/…

or just type London popout map into amazon.com