- Keep your pins dry
If you’re dressing for a rainy day, tights or stockings dry much faster than anything else. There’s nothing worse than having to sit in damp jeans for two hours. And while we’re on this topic, the ‘Brushed Tights’ from Primark are deliciously warm.
- Get streetwise
When you can, walk somewhere (or take the bus). You’ll get your bearings and learn your way around much quicker. It might not be as fast as the tube, but it’s usually a much happier experience. And – exercise. Yay.
- Apps for maps
Citymapper is by far the best map app out there. No more getting lost for you. Not that getting lost is always a bad thing, and if you do find yourself a little further from where you intended to be, there’s usually a tube station within reach. Hop on and head home.
- Save the change
Travel passes (weekly, monthly, annually) are much cheaper than just using pay-as-you-go on your Oyster or contactless card. And the bus is cheaper than the tube or train.
- Make the most of your age
A 16-25 Railcard is a must if you’re 25 or under. It’ll get you a third off your travel. When we went to Edinburgh, my train ticket was £80 cheaper than G’s. You can get one right up until you turn 26, so theoretically if you buy it on the eve of your 26th birthday you can still use it for a year. The only time this doesn’t make sense is if you have an Annual Gold Card (when you buy a year-long travel card) because that gets you a third off already.
- Rain rain go away
If you wait for the rain to stop before you head out, you’ll spend your life in doors. Ok, ok, I’m exaggerating. It doesn’t rain that much, but it does rain a lot. Get yourself some waterproof shoes (note: Londoners don’t often wear wellies), a good brolly and a stylish hat and get outdoors. The show must go on.
- Vouchers baby
Eating out in London is not cheap. But it can be cheaper. All it takes is a quick ‘name of restaurant+coupon’ google and you’ll be shaving a few pounds off your total. Just make sure to check the T&C’s to see whether the restaurant you’re going to accepts vouchers (some in the more touristy areas like More London don’t), whether you can only use it on certain days or at a certain time, and be sure to ask your waiter if anything on the menu is excluded before you order.
- Go on through
You don’t have to wait for the barriers in the train stations to close before you tap your Oyster/contactless card. This may seem obvious, but I can’t tell you how often I see it happening, and at rush hour too. Don’t be too hasty though, make sure that the person in front of you has had their card accepted first so you don’t end up paying for them too.
- Shop and you’ll drop
Oxford Street is not my favourite place in life. It’s definitely worth one or two visits, especially at Christmas time and there’s no denying the flagship stores that grace its sidewalks are impressive. But it is also where half the population of the world can be found at any given time. All the shops on Oxford Street can be found elsewhere and there are shopping areas that are far prettier (Covent Garden, Seven Dials, Carnaby Street, Kings Road or even Kingston) and less crowded. If you must shop there, go early to beat the crowds.