Booking air /hotel for London

Discussion in 'Traveling Members' started by Doe Be Doe, Mar 1, 2017.

  1. Doe Be Doe

    Doe Be Doe Viscount

    hi. It's been years since I traveled abroad. Now I want to go to London. Is it okay to book the flight and hotel online or should I use a travel agent?

    Any other tips or pitfalls in visiting the UK?

    Zman likes this.
  2. escortrod

    escortrod Baron

    Booking online is fine. I would recommend Norwegian premium economy. It's better than the same class on legacy airlines, and significantly cheaper.

    Do you want to stay in any particular part of London? Hotels are expensive, but there are some bargains I can point you towards if you are flexible about location.

    I can't think of any particular pitfalls. Given the exchange rate I'd say you should go while the going is good. :)
    Zman likes this.
  3. Doe Be Doe

    Doe Be Doe Viscount


    I'm just starting to look around. I normally use Travelocity and have been pleased with it but I've never used it for international. Thoughts?
    escortrod likes this.
  4. escortrod

    escortrod Baron

    I tend to use Expedia for flights myself, and I usually book hotels through AmEx or Chase. If you decide to fly with Norwegian book with them directly.
    pubic_assistance likes this.
  5. body2body

    body2body Baron

    I too have had success booking hotels with Expedia. Most of my recent trips to London tend to focus on theatre, and concerts on the south bank and I have stayed in that area the last few trips. Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, Novotel Blackfriars, and Hilton Bankside have all been fine and convenient to the Underground, and Rail. They are also all within walking distance of the National Theatre, Old Vic, Young Vic, Shakespeare's Globe, Royal Festival Hall, and the Tate Modern.Finding a hotel is often best determined by what your activities will be. My one suggestion is to book a place convenient to public transport. If the weather is inclement you will appreciate having a short walk to your hotel.
  6. s1conrad

    s1conrad Apprentice

    Hey, I'm leaving for London tomorrow. I got a $460 r/t on Norwegian Air from OAK to LGW. I have an Oyster Card to get me from Gatwick to Victoria on Southern Rail (35 min ride)--AVOID the Gatwick Express if you land at LGW; it's more expensive than Southern Rail and only shaves off 5min. travel time. I'm staying at the St Giles Hotel in Bloomsbury not far from Tottenham Court Tube Stn and the British Museum. I like the Bloomsbury area; it's close to Covent Garden and the Theatre District. For both Air/Hotel I booked direct. The St. Giles Hotel is right next to the Central YMCA so I can work out and do a swim every morning. London has *amazing* dining options these Cote Bistro, you can get a 3-course French dinner for less than $25USD. I'm hoping to get a ticket to 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf' with Imelda Staunton. If you want to venture to Paris, the Eurostar has advance round-trip tickets for about $140 from St. Pancras to Gare Nord--much cheaper than flying between the capitals. In 2 1/2 hours you're in the City of Light. Happy planning!
    Zman and escortrod like this.
  7. escortrod

    escortrod Baron

    Note that if you have a debit/credit card or mobile device that does contactless, this can be used in place of an Oyster card, and it works out cheaper.
  8. mike carey

    mike carey Duke

    Rod, is that the standard Visa PayWave or its equivalent, or is it a more sophisticated thing like Apple Pay et al? The last thing I need is another city's fare card! Since it works in place of an Oyster Card, I assume that it can be used across all London Transport?

    Edit: Answered my own question, any Amex, most MC and Visa contactless cards. You may have to use the card in 'chip and PIN' mode to activate it for contactless.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2017
    escortrod likes this.
  9. Zman

    Zman Viscount

    Conrad, thanks for the info. Have you stayed at the St. Giles before? I hadn't heard of it but I looked online. The location looks great as you said but the reviews are so-so and the lobby is apparently under construction. The price is pretty decent though and that's hard to find in Central London.
  10. s1conrad

    s1conrad Apprentice

    Yes, I stayed at the St Giles back in October. My room was about $90 USD per night = very tiny room. I'm upgrading to a Superior Room this time for about $130 per night. Hopefully it will be bigger. I have stayed at a charming B&B called the Morgan Hotel on Bloomsbury Way on previous trips--it used to be a steal at 45 Pounds per nite, but now it's well over 100 Pounds. St Giles is very central; there's a Sainsbury's across the street, as well as many dining options and the Dominion Theatre and Oxford Street are a stone's throw. Best of all it's 15 min walk to my favorite area: Covent Garden/Seven Dials = a vibrant center of shops, cafes and street performers. The Balthazar Bakery has the most beautiful inlaid ceiling in the city (aside from Ruben's Banqueting Hall in Westminster). I'm hoping to do a meet-up whilst I'm there....I will give a report to the team:}}
    Zman likes this.
  11. pubic_assistance

    pubic_assistance Viscount

    I agree with Rod. You can get some great package discounts on hotel and airfare with Expedia.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2017
    Zman and escortrod like this.
  12. Travel agents are now only good for very high-end travel and/or cruises

    The consumer having basic access to Sabre through sites like Expedia, Priceline and Travelocity has made it much easier to figure out pricing and flight connections. My advice is to always double check that pricing as a package really is cheaper than booking separates. I'd also recommend looking here for a wide scale view of airfare prices:

    Google Flights
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
    escortrod likes this.
  13. Larstrup

    Larstrup Count

    The above websites will also offer some of the very worst travel flight times and connecting cities for your trip. While a good source of information I usually end up with better pricing and travel times constructing my own flight itinerary directly from the carriers website.

    I also do not like utilizing them for hotel bookings. Typically, but not always, your room will be located in a less desirable area of the property, whether it be based on view, floor or even worse, a floor dedicated to low cost/ discount travel.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017

  14. Like I said, always double-check. Google Flights aggregates most airlines into their price checking. It's a brilliant system.

    As for hotels, you usually get what you pay for. Don't expect a suite when you booked a small garden view. In my experience, only in Vegas- where they have an insane inventory- does that kind of thing work in your favor. Upgrades can be plentiful.
    azdr0710, OneFinger and Larstrup like this.
  15. bigvalboy

    bigvalboy Regent

    I concur...
  16. Epigonos

    Epigonos Duke

    I will be staying at the Morgan in August. I have stayed there many times and love it. Their rate includes an excellent full English breakfast. Virtually all of the major theatres are walkable. There are several inexpensive B&B's along Gower St./Bloomsbury St. Others you might consider are the: Aaron House B&B, Gower House Hotel, and Judd Hotel. Full breakfast is included in all of these establishments. I’ve stayed in the Aaron House and it is perfectly acceptable, however, none of these are luxurious.
    Zman and Benjamin_Nicholas like this.
  17. Charlie

    Charlie Peer

    The St. Giles Hotel was originally built as the YMCA, back in the 1960s. My spouse stayed there when he first moved to London then. We stayed there a couple of years ago, and it was OK, but the neighborhood is very crowded with tourists and the local underground station is always jammed. There is also a lot of new construction going on in the area. The main advantage is its location, from which one can walk to lots of shopping and theater, and it is convenient to the tube and many bus lines.
    escortrod likes this.
  18. If you're wanting something convenient to the tube, tons of food options and a very 'local' neighborhood, check out the K&K George in Earl's Court. While not luxurious, it's clean, pleasant and modern. I've been staying there off and on for the better part of 10 years.

    I keep going back because it's so close to Nando's Chicken and Star Indian. #FoodWhore
    Zman likes this.
  19. Doe Be Doe

    Doe Be Doe Viscount

    I'm staying at the Luna Simone on Belgrave Rd. The tripadvisor and websites liked it. Not fancy but hopefully clean and safe.
    Zman and escortrod like this.