London with a lower budget

Article reviewed: 2013/01/13 | Next review due: 2014/08/01

So, you’ve just arrived in London, with a tight budget to set you on your way... No worries, here are tips to eat, travel and sleep cheaply in one of the most expensive cities in Europe!


First on the list is to find cheap accommodation. There are two solutions: before arriving, book a room in a "YHA" or similar hostel. There are hostels all over London, offering all the comforts of a hotel at reasonable prices. You can often book online, but bookings are usually limited to 15 days. Costs at the YHA for a single room (double bed) with bathroom are £52 per week, or £208 per month.

If your budget doesn’t stretch to that, a completely free alternative available to you is ‘couchsurfing’. and gumtree are the best places to look online – in exchange for sleeping on someone’s couch for a few nights (either for free, at minimal cost, or just buying some groceries), you also return the favour later on when you can accommodate… it’s all based on karma, repaying a good deed with another! It’s easy, fun and a good way to make friends when arriving in a new city!


In terms of getting around, the cheapest means of transport is by bus. On pay as you go, a fare (regardless of distance) is £1.20, however you can get a bus-only season ticket for £13.80 per week or £53.00 per month. The bus is also a great way to discover the city, especially from the top deck of a double-decker!


In terms of food, there are budget supermarkets such as Lidl, Morrison’s are pretty low too. One week’s worth of average shopping will cost about £13 at Lidl and £19 at Morrison’s.

Adding up the total, for a budgeted spend in London you should allow a minimum of £78.80 per week, or £343 per month.

Tooltip information:

  • YHA: Youth hostel association


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