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You’re getting stuck into the graduate job hunt and finally receive confirmation for a graduate job interview in London – let the preparation commence! For graduates living outside of London, planning for a graduate job interview will not only involve researching the company, but also what travel options are available and how much it will cost. Minimising spends will be essential – easier said than done? Here are some tips on how to make the most of your trip to London without breaking the bank.
If you don’t already have a 16-25 Railcard, now’s the time to get one! If the train is still emptying your funds, consider looking into Megabus deals. When possible, try to plan ahead and book in advance as you can save some serious money before you even step foot in London.
If you plan to visit London again, make sure you buy an Oyster card. Even for a weekend, if you’re intending on making a few trips, an oyster card is an important first step to having cheap and convenient travel around the city. It requires a £5 deposit, but you will quickly make that back. Oyster cards cap out your expenditure each day, and will generally be cheaper than any single ticket, and be better value overall than other travel cards.
If you’ve got some time to kill and want to catch a proper glimpse of London, but not sure if you can afford it, remember plenty of sightseeing can be done for free. Check out the best free walks across town, and make use of lots of nearby and convenient sites on your way through on foot. It saves on transport costs, and the uniquely London experience is very possible even without going to the bigger and more obvious tourist attractions.
Most of the major museums and art galleries will have free collections or free entry (up to a point), and you can spend as long as you like. See some of the best art and museum collections in Europe without paying a penny – just resist the lure of the museum or gallery shop! Stay in the loop with listings of exhibitions coming to London and try to squeeze in an art excursion during your visit if you can.
Free galleries don’t just take the form of the biggest and busiest spots – there are a whole host of exhibitions on display in smaller galleries across town, most of which do not charge entry. The Sir John Soane, for instance, is always free, as well as the White Cube for more contemporary tastes.
Shopping in London is incredibly varied, but it can definitely get costly if you aren’t careful – temptation is around every shelf or rail. So if you’re keen for a little retail therapy in Oxford Street or Covent Garden, consider investing in an NUS card or investigate UniDays and Student Money Saver for the best discounts for students.
Whilst out and about, minimise expenses by planning and packing a lunch or snacks instead of picking up impulse purchases or spending extra on sit down lunches along the way. It is a good idea to have at least one or two meals planned, so you aren’t hitting the centre of London hungry (which is when it’s easiest to overspend). Do some research beforehand, find some inspiration for cheap lunches to be ahead of time and cut back on costs.
Airbnb and hostelworld always have a variety of options that will be more affordable than conventional hotels and be sure to pick somewhere convenient to get around from. Airbnb gives you a chance to ask locals for their top tips in the area you stay in, so that you spend less and more wisely.
With so much on offer in the bustling streets of London, it can be easy to overspend, but keeping all bases covered won’t blow your budget. Spend wisely and good luck!
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