How to Decide Where to Stay in London (or Any City)
Tell me if this has ever happened to you:
You just booked a flight to visit a new city you’ve never been to. You’re super excited and you’re on your “Traveler’s High” because you scored the perfect ticket. You’re daydreaming about all the adventures you’re going to have, all the food you’re going to eat, and all sights you’ll see.
And then...all of a sudden... You realize that you have to actually PLAN everything. Where to stay, where to eat, how to get around...
If you’re heading to a big city like London for the first time, it can be a bit daunting and overwhelming to sit down and plan everything—especially where you want to stay. There are so many options and so much ground to cover that choosing the perfect place can be tricky.
Luckily, I’ve gone through this headache enough times to figure out an easy way that you can decide where to stay in any city based on your biggest priorities. You can use the examples below to help pick your accommodations for London!
Step 1: Know Your Priorities
Like I said, this system was created on selecting a place to stay based around your priorities. There are 3 main priorities when it comes to choosing an accommodation:
The most obvious priority here is budget. What is your budget? Do you know how much money you’re able to spend per day on accommodations?
If you have a lower budget, you might be considering hostels or couchsurfing. If you have a medium budget, you can start to consider apartment rentals or low to mid-range hotels. If you have a high budget, you’re probably able to consider luxury hotels or even home rentals.
The next priority tends to be the exact location of where you’re staying and how convenient it is for your travel itinerary. Some things to consider:
- Transportation: How close is it to public transportation? Do you need a car, or can you get around by foot? What is the transportation like to/from the airport (or train station, dock, etc.)?
- Walkability: Is the hotel in a good location that you can easily walk anywhere? Is it in a safe area that is good to walk at any time of day?
- Nearby Attractions: What attractions, restaurants, or other places of interest are nearby? Is it close to where you want to be?
- Safety and Ambiance: Is the area or neighborhood safe? Does the accommodation feel homey and somewhere that you wouldn’t mind spending time around? How big is the room and does it have adequate privacy? Noise levels?
This might not fall high on the priority list for everyone; but for others, amenities can sometimes make or break a decision on where you want to stay during your trip. Does the place you’re staying have convenient and comfortable amenities for you to enjoy? Some amenities to consider can be:
- Wi-Fi (this is huge for me!)
- Complimentary meals, refreshments, or hors d’oeuvres
- On-site pool, gym, spa, etc.
- Bar, lounge, or restaurants on-site or nearby
- Room views, balcony, or other outdoor space options
- Bike rentals or other means of access to transportation
- Pet friendly
- In-room amenities (toiletries, electronics, robes, etc.)
- Check-in/out times (for real...this can be a huge hassle sometimes!)
Step 2: Choose Your Style of Accommodation
Once you’ve decided on your priorities with the questions above, you can start to narrow down the selection on the type of place you want to stay. In London, there are options for all budget ranges that fit everyone’s needs! Here are a couple examples to help you with your selection:
For the budget friendly traveler
Hostels are a great option for adventurous, budget friendly travelers. You can usually pick places that have both private and shared rooms at very affordable prices. I personally love the website Hostelworld to find the one that is best for you.
For the mid-range budget traveler
Apartment (and home) rentals have been on the rise in popularity in recent years because of their affordability, convenience, and overall homey feeling that can be hard to find when you’re traveling. I personally love them because you can really get what it feels like to live like a local in the city you’re visiting. You can experience the local grocery store, the local bars, the local restaurants, the local shops... all without feeling like you’re being coerced into doing so just because your hotel is right next door (or the concierge recommended it $$).
While I was in London, I stayed in a really lovely apartment rental through FG Properties. I was very impressed with the wide variety of locations and types of apartments that they had all over London—plus the interior decor on all of their properties looked so cute! Everything about the apartment was super modern, up-to-date (including a keyless entry), and the location was perfect (literally steps away from the tube station and tons of places to eat). There was even a washer/dryer in the apartment, which is perfect for people who are staying longer term and need to do some laundry!
Click and browse the gallery below to read more about the apartment:
I’d recommend this company as an option for Apartment Rentals if you were coming to London! Plus, you’d be supporting a local business! You can check out their rental properties right here. If you need to contact them during your stay, you can get in touch with their reception desk, who helps with check-in/out, maintenance, and any other things you need throughout your visit.
For the luxury traveler
If your travel budget permits, you might consider splurging a little and booking a reservation at one of London’s finest hotels. Take advantage of all the amenities and luxuries that your little heart desires. And, since London is quite the thriving metropolis, you won’t have a problem finding an excellent luxury accommodation within the city.
Step 3: Book Your Reservation
The last part of the process has arrived. Now that you’ve selected your accommodations, it’s time to book it. Get your confirmation number and get ready to travel!
Not too bad of a system, right?! It’s pretty easy to select once you actually have an idea of what your priorities are and what you’re looking for.
Try out these tips next time you’re having difficulty deciding where to stay in a new city and let me know what you think!
Thank you to FG Properties for hosting my visit in London. All opinions are my own.