lite london

March 23rd, 2009

For the first time since 2002 London is less expensive than New York (and 25% cheaper to visit than last year, to boot!).  Here are ten tips for travelers to make the most of this special time across the pond from our own insider on the ground, Mr. Simon Kerr, Regional Director of Marketing and Sales for COMO Hotels and Resorts (and an intrepid traveler in his own right)!

  1. Always check out the hotel’s web site.  They tend to have exclusive packages and promotions and don’t include agency mark ups.
  2. Look at early booking or pre-purchase promotions – especially if you know your dates of travel.  The Metropolitan London and The Halkin offer a fixed dollar rate for huge savings (rates start at $199 at the Met and $299 at The Halkin). 
  3. Business destinations tend to be quieter at the weekends.  London hotels offer more packages and promotional rates from Friday to Sunday.  The reverse applies for resort locations.
  4. Buy in bulk.  Travelling with family or friends can save money.  The Metropolitan London and The Halkin offer a fantastic “Double Up” promotion with additional savings when reserving two rooms together. 
  5. Be flexible when you travel.  Shopping around on what dates you are travelling can save you a fortune.  In this vein, ensure your return flight takes over a Saturday night – travelling within the week can mean your pay a premium (they tend to know this is when business travelers fly).
  6. Timing is everything.  Travel at times when you know the city is quieter.  For London, this is generally during the ‘Holiday’ seasons -Christmas, New Year, Easter, and the UK Summer Holidays (August).  Research when there are festivals, conventions, or events in a city – that might mean that it is busier than usual.   If weather is not the main reason for you visiting a destination – then don’t be put off by cold, rain, or snow.  Best availability for London’s top restaurants, theater performances, and hotel deals are in January and August.
  7. Do as the locals do.  Find out which web sites they use.  For example, top travel sites/blogs for London include: (restaurants & bars), (restaurants & bars), (restaurants, theatre, spa & travel), (restaurants, theatre, music, festivals, travel), (restaurants, theatre, bars, travel), (hotels, restaurants, bars, festivals), (what’s cool in the city).  Many of these sites also offer exclusive deals.
  8. Walk .  Not only is it great exercise, but it is also a fantastic way to see the hidden side of a city (and it saves you a fortune).
  9. While it might seem contradictory to number 8, don’t be afraid to use public transportation.  Most cities invest heavily in this part of their infrastructure, and they are very safe.  London has the ‘Oyster Card’ which is prepaid and saves up to 50% on journeys on the Underground and buses.  When travelling from the airport (especially if there are only two of you), the Heathrow and Gatwick Express services are generally a faster and quicker way to get from the airport to the centre of the city.  Taxis are only good value when you have three/four passengers; plus getting stuck in London traffic is not fun.
  10. Check out what your rate includes.  Many airline tickets and hotel promotions may look good on the surface but then can have a lot of hidden extras.  For example, many London hotels charge for internet access (anywhere between £10-20 a day).  It’s complimentary at the Metropolitan London and The Halkin.

For other insider tips don’t miss the “Go Ask Alice” recommendations at the top right corner of each client page.

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