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Maintaining a Positive Bank Balance in London

Traveling abroad is all well and good when you made a good decision and didn't get a journalism degree. You may have actual money and stuff. In a very clear sign that my peers were wrong in naming me "smartest" in the high school yearbook, I did get a journalism degree. My pay scale is roughly a quarter of a peanut butter sandwich an hour. Just peanut butter, no luxurious jelly.

Okay, maybe this is a *slight* exaggeration, but I'm not exactly rolling in the dough. What spare money I do have usually goes to trips. In 2016, I pooled that money together for a vacation to the UK. My last five days were spent in London, where the cheapest non-seedy hotel I could find ran me more than a day's pay per night. It was nice knowing that such a large chunk of my salary was spent being kept up by neighboring hotel guests whose showers somehow sounded like jackhammers. Maybe they were so grimy that they really had to get chunks of gunk off themselves. I don't know.

Anyway, unless you go the hostel route, hotels are going to really eat into your budget in London. That's why you've got to somehow go past the alluring London Eye and equally expensive tourist attractions and go straight for the free stuff. Otherwise, your wallet might become self aware and start smacking you upside the head.

The best things about London when you aren't Ms. Moneybags are the free museums. It's amazing for a history dork, such as myself. Some are so packed with items that you could easily spend five days looking through the assortment they have to offer. Who needs an expensive short ride on a giant Ferris wheel when you can gawk at the contents of the Victoria and Albert Museum?

If I spent as much time here as I'd like, I'd be done looking through it in about four years.

Apart from that wonderful place, you've also got the Natural History Museum, the National Gallery, the Science Museum, the Tate Modern, the National Maritime Museum, and the Tate Britain. There are a lot more, but it would be a super long sentence if I listed them all. I've been to London twice and haven't even managed to see half of the freebies. Of course, I'm an expert museum gawker, so I may spend more time in them than other people...

If you want to enjoy the great outdoors and people watch, there are a ton of spots to do so, like Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, St. James' Park, Regent's Park, and the sidewalks/bridges along the River Thames. I sully the honor of vacations by always keeping to my weekly running schedule, so I'd recommend lacing up those shoes and enjoying the parks. At least it helps you burn calories, so you can do more of the preferred vacation pastime: stuffing your face.

Enjoying a nice walk by the Thames with seven million other people...

London is also really well known for the theatre scene. If you want to spend a small amount of money and have a kickass cultural experience, you can always pay five pounds to get a yard "seat" at The Globe. I actually didn't realize they were so cheap before, but an employee there told me about it when I was asking about tours. I mean, you do have to stand for the whole play, but it's kind of like a Shakespearean mosh pit, right? I really enjoyed seeing The Merchant of Venice there, but I decided to actually buy a seated ticket because the possibility of rain and my curly mane worried me. I didn't want to obscure everyone's view when the moisture turned my 'do into troll hair.

If nerding out over Shakespeare is wrong, I don't want to be right...

So, basically, go to London. Run through their lovely parks, or, you know, don't be a crazy runner and just sit down on a bench. Check out the free museums. And burn all the calories standing through a Shakespeare play so you can eat all the yummy Indian food... or Cadbury bars. Mostly Cadbury bars.

To see some of my adventure in London, check out my Thrifty Trips London video.

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