There's no getting around it: London can be as expensive as New York, Paris, or any other large city. But it's much better to accept this fact in advance and factor it into your vacation planning, tailoring outings and trips that will reflect your interests—and your budget.

Often, booking in advance, harnessing low-season deals, and taking advantage of Internet specials for flights and hotel rooms can cut down on costs. London is also great at offering things for free, and the quality of the culture, entertainment, relaxation, and fun to be had in the city means that if you target your spending wisely, you'll go home penny-pinched but satisfied.