How to Book a Trip to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Wedding for Under $1,000
It’s official – Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will tie the knot on Saturday, May 19, 2018. The big event is sure to cause quite a stir, as royal weddings usually do – with well-wishers lining the streets, vying for a glimpse of the newlyweds in their carriage. Tourists from all corners of the globe are expected to show up for a chance to join in the celebration.
It’s been said that interest in Prince Harry’s wedding could even eclipse that of his brother’s wedding. When Prince William married Kate Middleton in 2011, the event caused a sizable surge in travel to the U.K., drawing 600,000 tourists. As people flocked to the scene, flight bookings soared by 266%, and hotel reservations increased by 211%.
If you’re up for braving the crowds and chaos to be a part of royal history, you can book an affordable trip to Britain for the wedding – as long as you book relatively early. Here are eight expenses associated with a trip to the royal wedding, along with important money-saving tips. If you plan ahead and book early, you’ll find it’s possible to keep travel, accommodations, and other costs under $1,000 total.
1. Round-trip flight
- Price: $318 and up
An important rule of thumb: The sooner you book your trip, the cheaper and more available flights will be. You’ll probably want to arrive several days before the wedding to get settled before the crowds start pouring in. For example, you could leave for London on Monday, May 14 and come home Tuesday, May 22. For those dates, a round-trip flight from New York to London currently runs as low as $318. If you’re flying out of Chicago, flights start at $380, and if you’re departing from Los Angeles, flights start at $440.
Next: How to find an affordable room in London
2. London accommodations
- Price: $28 per night and up
You may wish to book a room in London for the first several nights of your stay. This will give you time to see popular sites like Big Ben, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Palace. Staying at a hostel may be the most affordable option, and these start at $28 per night. If your budget allows for a bit more, there are dozens of hotels and inns to be found currently in the $100 price range.
Next: How to find an affordable room near the chapel
3. Windsor accommodations
- Price: $32 per night and up
If you stay the first few nights in London, you’ll probably want to head to Windsor on Friday, the day before the wedding. The ceremony takes place at St. George’s Chapel, which is in Windsor Castle. This is about a 50-minute drive from London – and guaranteed, it’ll be longer on the day of the wedding. If you book a room in Windsor for the last several nights of your trip, you’re looking at hostel prices starting at $32. The price range goes all the way up to $484 per night, for the Heathrow Windsor Marriott Hotel.
Next: The cheapest, easiest way to get to the chapel
4. Taking the train
- Ticket price from London to Windsor: $14
Whether you make the trip between London and Windsor a couple of times or more, your most affordable bet would be the South Western Railway. A one-way trip between the London Waterloo and Windsor & Eton Riverside stations costs around $14. This trip by train takes around an hour’s time. You can book your train ticket online in advance, but know that cheaper advance fares usually go on sale 12 weeks before travel.
Next: Combat high restaurant prices by doing your research.
- Price of a plate of fish and chips at a London pub: Around $10-$15
When tallying the flight, hotel, and train prices listed here, it’s possible to keep those expenses well under $1,000. Dining is one area where prices could start adding up quickly. London is known for having expensive restaurants. To keep costs down, research prices and choose restaurants within walking distance of your location. Yelp is a great resource for seeing prices and reading reviews, and a quick search there shows The Harp and The Gladstone Arms are two affordable London brew pubs with high ratings. If you enjoy a brew with your fish and chips, you should know the average price for a pint of beer in a London brew pub is $6.40.
Next: What you’ll pay for official souvenirs
- Cost of official commemorative china plate: $54
What better way to remember your trip to the royal wedding than by taking home a commemorative souvenir? Official souvenirs are those personally approved by the marrying couple. They typically include bone china with the couple’s initials intertwined. At the time of their wedding, William and Kate’s official wedding souvenir china plate cost $54. While Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s official souvenir merchandise is not yet available, you’ll likely be able to pick some up when you’re in town.
Of course, you can save money by going with unofficial souvenirs. These will be plentiful everywhere you turn while in Britain for the wedding. Be on the lookout for mugs, t-shirts, and figurines. For Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding, all these were being sold – as well as off-the-wall souvenirs such as clothespins, teabags, comic books, and even condoms.
Next: How to save on tourist attractions
7. Tourist spots
- Price of 2-day London Pass with transportation: $148
As we mentioned briefly already, there are a number of tourist attractions you won’t want to miss – especially if you’ve never been to London before. One way to save money on sightseeing is to buy the London Pass. Once you’ve paid for this card, you’ll receive free entry to more than 80 attractions and museums like the Tower of London, Windsor Castle, Kensington Palace, and Westminster Abbey. For a three-day adult pass, which also includes free transportation on buses and trains, you’ll pay $186. The cost of a two-day pass is $148. This may be the smartest route to go if you plan to see several of London’s big attractions. One user reported saving 50% by using the London Pass after visiting seven attractions.
Next: Options for tourists on the royal wedding day
8. The wedding day
- Price of watching wedding procession: Free
The least expensive – and most exciting – place to be the day of the royal wedding is on the streets with the crowds. On Prince William’s 2011 wedding day, hundreds of street parties took place. Many roads were closed to vehicle traffic. Pack a basket with a blanket, food, and drinks, and stake out a good spot where you might catch a glimpse of the newlyweds in their carriage.
If you’d rather have someone else take care of the wedding day details on your behalf, you can pay a tour company for packages including transportation to the wedding procession, including shopping and sightseeing stops as well. Door2Tour.com provided such packages for Prince William’s wedding.
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