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5 Tips for a Budget-Friendly Christmas in London

While you may think it’s too early to start planning your Christmas break, if you’re hoping to pop over to London in December and you’re on a budget, now is the time to start. Even though we can’t guarantee you’ll get snow, we can help you squeeze every ounce of value out of your stay.

 

1. VISAS

Even if you’re only going for a few weeks, the United Kingdom offers a standard 6-month tourist visa to holiday-makers. There is a significant amount of documentation you need to supply, so make sure you apply for your visa approximately 1 month before your departure to allow for enough time for the visa’s processing and any unforeseen ‘whoopsies’.

Insider Tip
For assistance with a smooth UK visa application process visit Move Up (www.moveup.co.za). They can assist with all UK visa types and even promise a money-back guarantee.

 

2. CHEAP FLIGHTS

You may have to fly economy class, but here’s how you can economise even further on your flights. December and January are considered ‘high season’, which means flights are in demand and can be sold for higher prices. The golden rule of savings on flight bookings: the earlier you buy your tickets, the cheaper they’ll be.

Insider Tip
www.kayak.com and www.rometorio.com are 2 of our favourite websites for finding low-cost international flights. (Pssst! Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve are usually the cheapest high season days to fly).

 

3. HOME SWAPS

Who says you have to pay through the nose for overseas accommodation? Remember watching the romantic Christmas movie, The Holiday, starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Dias? If you own your own home or your landlord doesn’t mind you subletting, you might consider doing a house swap this Christmas. Just sign up, pay a registration fee, create a profile, browse your options then get in touch with the owners. If you can’t find a perfect date match for a swap, you can always spend some credits on a one-sided arrangement. Check out www.lovehomeswap.com for some exciting options!

Insider Tip
You can also sign up to be a house- or pet-sitter and stay overseas – for free! This option also requires registering with your preferred website, paying a registration fee and finding a suitable match.

 

4. TRAVEL LIGHT

Next to flights and accommodation, your daily transport costs can make a big dent in your budget. Hiring a car for all-day sightseeing outside of London will give you some independence, but the beloved oyster card will be your most useful asset within the city. An oyster card allows you to travel on the underground, overland trains or city busses without the hassle of carrying cash. Just purchase and top your oyster card up at your nearest train station, then tap it on the designated spot as you pass through the turnstiles or step onto a bus.

Insider Tip
We can’t decide which is more useful: the Citymapper app that compares London travel routes, methods and prices; or Rick Steves’ Audio Europe app for top-notch, guided walking tours of London.

5. ENTERTAINMENT FOR DAYS

The oldest centre of culture in the English-speaking world, from quirky restaurants and jaw-dropping art exhibitions to the world’s best theatrical productions, in London you’ll find a variety of entertainment, tours and museums to tickle your fancy. Make sure you watch at least one of these celebrated productions: Wicked, The Play That Goes Wrong, The Lion King or Mathilda. Entry-level tickets start at approximately £25 (R500). Book early to secure your spot.

Insider Tip
If you head to Trafalgar Square at 13:00 on week days you can take in a world-class classical music concert held at St Martin in the Fields. There’s no entrance fee, but they do accept donations towards maintaining their beautiful, old church. See their concert schedule.

 

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More Coverage of Our Media Release for Move Up:

All 4 Women

IOL Travel

 

 

 

SA Set to Break Emigration Record in 2018

MOVE UP NEWS

Experts predict that 2018 will be the year South Africans break their own emigration record. Ryan Rennison, managing director of UK visa solutions experts, Move Up, says that they’ve seen a 22% increase in South Africans interested in relocating to the United Kingdom (UK) over the past two years. That figure is expected to increase dramatically on the back of President Ramaphosa’s recent announcement on changes to the constitution, which will allow land expropriation without compensation. Rennison lists the strength of the pound sterling, access to cheaper travel opportunities, a high-functioning government and political stability as the main reasons South Africans cite for wanting to leave. Better job opportunities, increased earning potential and access to better education for children are other factors at play in most people’s decision to move.

The last record-breaking year for emigration in South Africa was 2015. According to the latest available statistics published in The Telegraph in 2016, the UK is ranked fifth in the world for its number of immigrant citizens. “With the UK now one of the most desirable places to live in the world, unless you have clear ancestral rights to live in the UK, it can be very difficult to move there permanently,” says Rennison who has worked with over 3,400 South Africans over the last 10 years to help them relocate to the United Kingdom. While changes to immigration legislation in the UK occur frequently, without the correct documentation and know-how, applying for the correct visa can be a cumbersome and frustrating process to undertake. According to Rennison, the total number of visa applications Move Up has processed over the last year has also increased by 42%. “The total number of cases Move Up represented during the 12-month period from October 2016 to September 2017 has already been met in the last 8 months (October 2017 to June 2018),” he says. Rennison adds that individuals who want to relocate to the UK, but who do not qualify for ancestral visas or British passports, have several other visa options they can explore. The UK government recently expressed interest in attracting people with special skills into the country including doctors, nurses, fashion designers and film and television professionals. Highly skilled individuals in the fields of science, humanities, engineering, digital technology and the arts are already on their priority list.

American think tank, the PEW Institute, reports that over 900,000 people have left South Africa since 1990. At the same time over four million people have immigrated to South Africa, mostly from Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Kenya and the DRC. According to the StatsSA’s Community Survey 2016, while Australia was the number one destination for South African emigrants (26%), the UK came a close second with 25% of all South African emigrants heading to the British islands between 2006 and 2016.

For more information visit www.moveup.co.za or call 021 761 4608

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LISTEN:  Radio 702’s Charlotte Kilbane spoke to Jonty Leon, a legal and financial manager at Financial Emigration, to discuss Move Up’s latest statistics.

READ the Zululand Observer ‘s coverage of the media release here.

READ:  Business Tech cover the story.

READ:  The South African Reflects on the 702 Interview

READ:  South Coast Herald

 

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