New York might be the fashion capital of the world to a lot of readers, but let’s not forget that the more modestly sized United Kingdom has its very own shopping Mecca. The next time you want to go on a trip that sees you coming back with more than your wardrobe can handle, consider a trip to London. But don’t just go there on a whim and see what you can dig up. A little planning can make a lot more out of your trip.
Know what you need
There’s nothing worse than arranging a big shopping trip to a city like London, only to find out that you didn’t come back with that one thing that you really needed. Spend some time taking a closer look at your wardrobe before you go. Top priority goes to events that have some urgency to them, like any additions to an outfit for an engagement party. Then consider any outfits that you’re trying to build. You might want to look at your most fashionable when travelling the streets of London, but instead of bringing your best outfits, bring your staples. That bag you want to use, a simple white shirt, a blouse, a pair of jeans. These are the building blocks of a good outfit; your companion pieces that make it much easier to pick out the item you could really use.
Know where to go
London is huge, and there’s a huge selection of shops of all kinds of different price ranges. A stop by Oxford Street, Bond Street and Regent Street for those elegant designer label experiences might be considered mandatory. But don’t forget about the sheer range available in the bigger shopping centres like Westfield London, or the hip, boutique, and hand-made treats to be found in Covent Garden. Make sure you know how to get around, too. Pick the shops you want to hit and see if you can find a hotel that’s close by or at least gives you easy access to public transport that gets you there. Don’t forget a good pair of hardy shoes, either.
Know how to free up that budget
London is expensive, and just being there can eat into the savings you’ve spent so long putting together. If it’s close to the trip and you haven’t saved up enough, then secured lending can be a godsend, allowing you to pay for the trip after it happens rather than before. Otherwise, consider making the rest of the trip more of a budget experience. Get an Oyster card to make travel much easier on the wallet and pick out eateries like Pret-A-Manger or Eat in advance. There are plenty of food trucks and hand-made foods available across the town, just do your research in advance so you know the safest to stop at. If you time your trip for when university is out, you might even get a super cheap stay in the student halls.
Know a good deal when you see one
Freeing up your budget is only one step to making sure that you get everything you want and more. You also have to consider how you get a better deal from the shops you’re at. For one, sign up for coupons and discounts for as many shops as possible in advance. It might not offer huge discounts at designer places, but at quality department stores like Selfridges, it can make a huge impact in spending power. If you want access to the best deals, make sure you get in stores early, too. If you’re up and out for 9:30 am, you’re less likely to miss out before someone grabbed the bargains before you.
Explore what you don’t know
Yes, it’s easy to get caught up in the labels and the sheer size of the huge shopping centres, but London is a very fashionable city at just about any price. When your budget is looking a little skimpier, take a short detour to one of the many charity shops near the high-end streets. As fashionable as it is, you can imagine that Londoners tend to donate a higher range and quality of clothing. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility at all that your killer outfit might have come entirely from thrift shopping.
Having an idea of what you need, where to go and stay, and how to get a better deal will ensure a great deal more satisfaction when you get back. Smarter budgeting methods can ensure that your bags are a great deal heavier, too.