Travel tips: visiting expensive cities on a budget by Telegraph Travel Writer Anna Lisinski. Cities by their very nature are where it is happening. However, with city buzz, tourists have also come to expect a higher holiday expenditure. Londoners who work in England’s capital, for example, can expect to receive a higher salary to help with the high cost of living associated with calling London home, but what about tourists who are keen to experience a bit of city life on a country or suburb budget?
For many, a city break is a short holiday, often at most a long weekend – as well as being expensive they also more tiring than a more rural or seaside break due to the sheer quantity of things to do and see, and the pace being twice as fast.
Top money-saving tips
Day trip it – Stay in the suburbs and take a day trip to the nearest city.
Book early or keep a lookout for last-minute deals – to bag a good deal you may have to be flexible with your destination and see what is available on the days you have booked off.
Package deals – Look to save money by finding a deal that includes flights and a hotel – often a travel agent or money-saving website will find the best deals for you and you are sometimes eligible for airport pick-up which can save you the cost of a taxi.
Hotels vs Hostels – add an ‘s’ and you get a cheaper rate. Hostels are abundant in many cities – providing an affordable way to stay in an expensive city for a couple of nights. If you’re worried about sharing with six teenagers then fear not as most hostels have private rooms perfect for couples or close friends.
Avoid taxis – they all add up and often cities are relatively easy to walk around. If your legs get tired then experiment with the bus or the subway – usually a really quick way to get around.
Getting there – Long haul flights are more expensive than shorter ones – an obvious point but if you visit cities that are closer to home you will save money on transport.
City breaks with culture
Europe is abundant with cultural gems with cathedrals, museums and picturesque alleyways and building to ogle at for days. Places like Venice, Rome and Paris can be quite expensive due to their popularity and romantic associations. For equal beauty, less crowds and tourists opt for an Eastern European city such as Budapest or Zagreb which are often overlooked by tourists but can work well inside a tight budget.
Cosmopolitan city breaks
American cities such as New York, Boston and San Francisco, Canadian ones like Toronto, and even Australia’s Sydney have a different feel to them compared to the historic mismatch typical of European ones. Often classed as having a more modern and cosmopolitan feel, these cities are newer and as such are often easier to find your way around, either by foot or by public transport.
Middle Eastern treasures
Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok are often favorites with the gap-year backpacker, as these popular Middle Eastern cities offer cheap bed and board with an experience like no other. Try exotic street food, enjoy scorching hot weather or humid rainfall in monsoon season, and observe a different culture rich in color and diversity.
Anna Lisinski writes for Telegraph Travel on her personal holiday experiences and provides tips for those visiting her home town London.