From charity-shop finds to designer bags, it’s not that hard to spend your hard/easy earned cash in London. Just like New York, Pairs and Rome, London is frequented by visitors from all over the world for some of those big-name shopping attractions, off-beat vintage finds and ever-evolving high street chain stores. A London shopping trip can be a lot of fun but also very expensive – prepare to give your wallet a good workout. Don’t worry to much though – with some strategic planning, your London shopping trip could be even more fun and extremely rewarding.
Here are some practical tips to help you save on your London shopping trip.
- Research and Plan. The key is to plan ahead. Last minute of everything can be expensive and stressful. Figure out what you want to buy. Research to find out where you can get those items in London. Plan your trip literary in details and start book your flight + accommodation well in advance.
- Check airline baggage limit and pack sensibly. You don’t want overweight baggage resulting in heavy fines. Pack and shop sensibly will help you avoid unnecessary headaches.
- Arrange travel insurance. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Travel insurance is god-sent in case of lost luggage and illness. With many major credit cards suppliers, you can get free overseas travel insurance once you made a travel booking by your credit card.
- Inform your debit/credit card company of your travel plans. Major credit cards are accepted everywhere in London but be aware that credit card companies might lock your credit card after one day of your heavy spending overseas, leaving you empty handed in the shops (this happened to me twice). You can avoid this situation by simply calling your credit card provider before you go, advising your travel plan.
- Choose the Right Time to Travel. If you are going to a London shopping trip, there’s no point going during Christmas time. All shops are closed on Christmas day and plane ticket can be expensive. Besides, it’ll be freezingly cold! Keep an eye out on special offers from different airlines. Often you can save quite a bit by booking your flight well in advance. Shopping malls and designer outlets usually offer Sales at a particular time of the year so you might want to plan your travel time accordingly too.
- Stay in the Right Location. Accommodation in London can be painfully expensive, and you’ll almost always need to book your room well in advance. The good news is that decent, central hotels are easy enough to find and also offer reasonably priced rooms. Take a look at the hotels near Westfield Shopping Centre in Chiswick. Charming and safe, Chiswich is at an ideal location from which to travel to various sites in London. The Best Western Chiswick Palace could be the perfect place for you to stay. It offers comfortable rooms in the right location, at a price that allows you to enjoy your shopping even more.
- Work by neighborhoods to avoid wasting time (and money) on transport. London is huge and there are different shopping areas so plan your day trips accordingly.
- Use Public Transportation – Taking advantage of the public transit system in London. The quickest (but most expensive ) from of public transport is Underground (Tube). Trains run from 5.30am to 12.30am (7am to 11.30 pm Sunday). The train is also an easy way to get to anywhere in the city fast and is very affordable. Bus is slow going but cheap and offers ace views from double-deckers.
- Avoid rush hour (6.30am to 9.30 am and 4pm to 7am) Tube. Fares are more expensive and it’ll be uncomfortably crowded. Most shops in central London are open seven days a week, though they can only trade for 6 hours (usually noon to 6pm ) on Sunday.
- The cheapest and most convenient way to pay for public transport is to buy an Oyster Card. Oyster Card is a smart card on which you can store credit. If you are planning to stay more than just a few days, you get also get a weekly or monthly travel card.
- Need some extra cash? The best place to change money is in post office branches, which do not charge a commission.