I am travelling back home next week, and preparing to take a detour through London to visit some pals. Hubby and I visited London together a few years ago. I lived in London during university and knew a few tips and tricks that saved us a few quid. I have included the most useful ones here.
Buy an Oyster card.
Similar to the Octopus card in Hong Kong, this will save you a lot of money. I still use my student Oyster card (although this discount no longer applies). You can buy a regular Oyster card at the tube station at Heathrow airport. You can add money as you go in any tube station, and some shops.
Get a Giffgaff Sim card.
For my UK phone, I have a giffgaff sim card. The Pay As You Go card can be activated online, for as little as 5 Pounds. It gives you unlimited texts and calls to anyone on the same network, so useful if you are travelling in a group.
Free Wifi is not as common in UK. If you have a giffgaff sim, you do get data. Heathrow Airport offers 30 minutes of WIFI free. However, not a lot of places have it gratis. If you get stuck, go to any chain of coffee shop and ask for the password.
Book train tickets.
Thanks to the privatisation of the trains in England, train tickets are extremely expensive. Book train tickets in advance to save up to 50% off. If you travel by coach this is also cheaper, and there are coaches to most of the larger towns, plus all of the airports. * Trains are often delayed, if your journey is delayed, write a complaint letter to get a refund of 50% of the ticket price.
Get a Railcard.
If you are relying on public transport and plan on visiting lots of places, it’s worth investing in a railcard. Mine cost around 30 Pounds. There are Railcards for families, couples, students and elderly. You can also get discounts for some London Attractions with a National Railcard. * You will need a passport photo for your photocard.
Buy a Universal Charging Cable.
Hong Kong and the UK use the same power sockets. However, if you need to charge your phone, laptop, electronics, it’s always useful to have a charging cable that can charge a variety of functions. A lot of the more reasonable hotels only have one or two power outlets.
Bring an umbrella.
It’s England. It rains.
Thanks for reading!