A Budget Travel Guide for Finding London Hotel Deals

(c)Mark Kahler, under an arrangement with About.com

For many budget travelers, finding great London hotel deals is crucial. The room rates alone might frighten some from planning such a trip. Prices for a simple room are steep.

How steep?

In London, like many world capitals, a fairly bland room can cost several hundred dollars a night. Even a bed in dorm-style hostels can cost more than $100 USD/day.

Many people never get past these prices. They scratch the city from their plans without even performing a London hotel search. Then, they look at those who do go with envy. They might even see them as snobs for talking about their trip(s) to London.

There's no need to be in that first group, and there's no reason to pay big prices in London, either.

London on a Tight Budget

Hostelworld searches for London are a good way to start planning a tightly budgeted trip. A typical query there will turn up dozens of hostels, such as the Astor Kensington, where dorm-style beds start at about $25/night and you're a short walk from Gloucester Road tube stop (ages 18-35 only).

Now a word about Bed and Breakfasts in Great Britain: Usually they are not fancy, antique-filled charmers. They are frequently budget lodgings, at least more frequently than in the United States.

Families rent out a rooms to supplement their incomes. Frequently, the toilet is down the hall. Picture albums and exercise equipment might be stored under your bed for the night.

These are wonderful places to both save money and mingle with the local culture. The folks who run them frequently know their neighborhoods and adjacent areas better than any guidebook author.

A good database for finding rooms or apartments for rent is Airbnb.com/London.

There is no "front desk" or concierge, but often good conversation and a beautiful breakfast are part of the deal.

If you venture into the English countryside or to Scotland, costs often drop. In those places, you might need to rent a car to take advantage of such accommodations.

If you're willing to pay a bit more, there are hotels that offer good value, too.

Near Heathrow Airport, Radisson Blu Edwardian offers good value at room rates that are generally less expensive than what would be charged in Central London for similar quality facilities.

Another site with a range of price selections is LateRooms.com. You might find a few selections in the budget category for less than £80/night  There are also places found here to rest your head for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. One small consolation: you'll be pleased to know taxes are included in those quotes.

For those who want to stay at one of the world's great hotels, The Claridge Hotel offers a Timeless Weekend Special. You pay £540 ($704 USD) per night. Budget room? Hardly. But you could easily pay that amount these days for a fairly standard four-star room in London, Paris or New York. A one-time splurge to be sure, but one you're not likely to forget. Happily, all taxes are included in that rate.

No Place Like Home

If hotels and hostels aren't making you happy, why not rent someone's empty flat (apartment) Studios 92 offers rates in London that are sometimes competitive with budget hotels and hostels.

If you've got a larger group staying at least a week in London, check out The London Connection. They offer apartments in a variety of neighborhoods, and they're based in Ogden, Utah. They say that allows them to coordinate trips from both sides of the Atlantic.

Finally, if you don't have enough money for rent, how about a trade? Click HomeExchange.com and read about how they set up members with other members for the purpose of "swapping" houses on vacation. It's not for everyone, but if you can accept the terms, you can largely eliminate your lodging costs and make big-time trips affordable.

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