For the last three years, Pete and I have been busting butt to get to a point where my loans are paid off and he finished his school.
Earlier this year, we finally kicked London and Paris off of our bucket list!
My husband is an ultra-marathon runner who thoroughly believes that traveling should never break the bank.
He’s completed a race in all 50 states, many of which were 100 miles! Phew! I’m tired just writing about this.
Here are a few of the places that we went, to keep our budget in check.
Victoria & Albert Museum
This amazing museum is not only chalked full of history to fill anyone’s day with endless hours of joyful wandering, but it also is a great representation of the love shared between Queen Victoria and Albert. My favorite aspect which was common in many of the museums in London was the multimedia interactive stations that allowed you to listen to the history behind an artistic piece or sometimes modern renditions of poems that spoke about the themes discussed in the art. You could truly get lost here for weeks, let alone take an entire day here without getting bored.
Can I just say, there was not enough time to see all of the beautiful things in this museum! It’s a popular destination for tourists for a really good reason. My favorite highlights were the Rosetta Stone, Hammurabi’s Code, and Cleopatra’s mummy! If you have a few weeks in this lovely city, make sure you get the most of this museum. We only had one day and I wish we could have stayed longer.
This is a quick walk from the “tube.” There are so many awesome public transportation opportunities. Wish my metro area had as many! The view is nice during the day, but we visited during the night so it was pretty cold and drafty ( typical for March weather in London!)
I was so bummed when we visited Big Ben because it is such an iconic landmark, but it was actually under some maintenance and was not really as “picturesque” because of this. However, if you want to make sure everything is going well with that beautiful ol’ clock, I would check this subreddit here.
Typically the Abbey costs money to enter, but if you attend Mass on Sunday you can actually get inside for free. We ended up staying outside and taking a few pics so we could explore more of the city because it is just so majestic, but we didn’t have as much time!
Okay, you have to do it. Take a walk out front and you’ll see this beautiful London landmark and you can snap a quick shot of this deeply significant palace. Anyone with me and love The Crown.
King’s Cross Station Me at Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross StationAny Potterhead fans? I am a huge fan and loved seeing where Rowling got her inspiration. My mind was blown! Not only is this a bustling transportation station, but it has an extremely beautiful interior. Not to mention, you can take a styled photo for free with a wand, scarf of your sorted house, and “push” the cart into Platform 9& 3/4!! My heart was about to explode, I was so excited! Although using the tube costs money, if you find your way here by foot it is technically free!
This place is beautiful inside and out. They have a spacious court outside for catching up with friends and giving your kickers a rest. Seriously, we did tons of walking. The interior had an amazing exhibit for a sound library which included some of the first recorded music and sounds from across the world. This was a temporary exhibit, but some of the main floors include a ceiling to floor covered cases of books. My vintage heart was melting. And all totally free to look around. Where else are you going to get this kind of history?
The old Bard in Southwark, near the Old Globe Theater
The historic St. Pancras hotel
This historic site was originally opened it’s doors in 1873!
So this sounds all great, but how did we get to see all of these lovely places on a dime?
Pete and I are strong believers in experience trumping almost everything else. We are history nerds when it comes to visiting a new place.
Pete got to be a pro at traveling on a budget as a bachelor by using Kayak and he found an amazing deal round trip to London via London Gatwick Airport and then back through London Luton returning with layovers in Iceland. For two people, the cost was under $700. Okay, that might seem like a lot, but normally those tickets are well over $1,000 per person.
Here were our budgeting ideas that kept us on point.
- For us, experiences were important so we diminished our eating out expenses by eating out at low-cost establishments. ( Check out this amazing and affordable Cafe we stopped by above)
- We skipped taxis whenever possible and used public transportation via the London Underground or “Tube.”
- We walked a lot and skipped the Big Bus tours.
- We stayed at AirBnB’s whenever possible to avoid the overpriced hotel stays.
Experiences are a must for Pete and I, but sometimes I opt for foodie deliciousness.
If you had to choose, which would you rather pick: a nice restaurant or a night out at the town?