globetotting partner post
One of the biggest adjustments with returning to live in London has been the cost of living. I mean, London has always been expensive but when I last lived here I was single, in my late 20s, earning well and had zero responsibilities. London may not rank among the world’s most expensive cities any more, but coming back to live in the British capital with three kids has still put a dent in the bank balance!
There are certain things that are, if not cheaper, then better value for money. Free entrance to so many of London’s incredible museums makes days out with kids affordable (and educational!) for example. Similarly, the myriad London parks make for great trips with the kids. There are also some fantastic discount websites that offer value-for-money trips to places like the theatre or dedicated kids’ shows. Two outgoings that definitely affect the cost of living, however, are rent and travel. London rents are ridiculous (despite reports that they are falling) and even though the capital’s public transport system is very efficient, it is not cheap – one of the reasons that my husband cycles to work most days.
Over the holidays I was invited to partner with online travel agency LoveHolidays and try out their interactive Tube map. The map highlights holidays that you can take in exchange for a week of rent and travel on the London Underground. All you have to do is enter your daily commute details on the holiday finder map and follow the track to discover where your money could take you if you didn’t have to do things like, you know, live and work!
It’s fascinating (and, if I’m completely honest, a little depressing) to see how many exciting places you could visit if you swapped a week’s worth of rent and Oyster card travel for a seven day holiday. Switch a week on the Tube from Clapham South to Canary Wharf for an all-inclusive holiday enjoying the beaches of Cos; replace a week on the dreaded Northern Line travelling from Highgate to London Bridge for a week of all-inclusive holiday happiness in Majorca; or trade in a week spent travelling across London from Brixton to White City (my old commute) with a week in Turkey, flights and accommodation included.
As well as being a fun way to see just how far your money could take you, the holiday Tube map is a great way to get inspiration for your next holiday. I played around with the map for ages, putting in routes that I used to take when I lived in London many moons ago as well as more recent journeys – Portugal’s Algarve and Egypt were two places that I particularly liked the look of. Once you’ve picked a destination, the interactive Tube map takes you through to see which hotel you could be staying in. LoveHolidays is an ABTA member, which provides ATOL protection to customers as well as a price match guarantee.
Let’s face it, most people would prefer to be on a beach instead of the Tube. So, even if the idea of packing in your job is nothing more than a pipe dream, at least you know that if you did decide to leave the capital and all your responsibilities behind, you could enjoy some very nice holidays in the sun indeed!
Disclosure: This was a partner post with LoveHolidays. All opinions are, as always, entirely my own.