Whine and complain about it as much as we like, we all like a sneaky trip into London every now and again. Perhaps you have some work commitments to iron out, or maybe you’re visiting a friend. Sometimes you can just grab a weekend away in the capital. But London is an expensive city. How do you afford to transport yourself easily around the city?
Taking your own car is an option. Upsides include the comfort of having your own method of transport, the speed with which you can travel by car, and the fact that you can drive right back home at the end of your stay. But parking in London is not only expensive but also difficult to find, and you’ll waste a lot of time looking for somewhere to leave your vehicle. Additionally, the congestion charge can make taking your own car an expensive proposition.
Taxis are even more convenient than cars in a way; you don’t have to worry about parking, and you needn’t be concerned about drinking too much to make your way back to your hotel. You can find taxis all over London, and you don’t need to know your way around the city to get to where you need to be. The cost, however, is prohibitive, and many people are uncomfortable with taking taxis in the middle of the night.
Walking or cycling are both reasonable options if you don’t need to go very far. London is more geared towards cyclists than most large British cities, and you will be able to quickly and easily ride around the city, or take your time seeing the sights as you wander along. Downsides include the physical exertion, which may leave you looking less than professional if you have a work meeting, and the fact that you’re unable to go very far.
The London public transportation system is vast and can seem daunting, but it does cover the entire area. Day tickets are available for a charge, but the best way to travel is using an Oyster card. A three-pound deposit will allow you to get your own Oyster card, which you can top up with cash or card in a vast number of places. Simply slapping your card against the readers when you mount or dismount a train, tube or bus allows you to pay for your transportation and you get your deposit, as well as any remaining funds back when you return the card at the end of your visit. Downsides include the fact that not all methods will be available 24 hours per day, as well as the difficulty of figuring out where you need to go and how to get there.
Travelling around London can seem like a confusing and expensive proposition, but by researching the options in this article you can choose the right one for you.