A Day in the Life of a Broke, Touristy College Student in London


Iman Usmani is a student at North Carolina State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying with ISA in London, England.

I showed up to London a couple days before my program started, just so I can get a feel for the city and explore a little on my own. Being that typical, frugal college student, I decided that I would go the whole day spending as little money as possible.  So, on this first day of being in the city, I was a proper tourist and visited all the typical museums and tourist attractions. I packed my bag with my book, headphones, wallet and umbrella. I even threw on a rain jacket for good measure.


Buckingham Palace is a top sight to see, especially when they have the changing of the guard.

First stop: The museums. The great thing about London is that it is a leader in the transportation game so getting around the daunting city is pretty simple. There was one stop to get to most of the major museums in the area. After getting off the tube, there is a tunnel that leads down to direct entrances of the museums and mostly all of them are free! I popped into The British Museum, Science Museum and V&A and wandered until I was ready for the next stop. It was easy to get to and low commitment which really is the best commitment.

I got to see a true celebrity – Bumblebee – in the flesh.

Another great aspect of the city is that there are a ton of parks. Coming from North Carolina, I start to miss the green. The parks are beautifully maintained and a great way to take a break from being a tourist and eat your lunch. I grabbed a quick sandwich from a local place (unfortunately, you’ll have to pay for food) and sat on a bench in the nearby park. It was a great time to do as the locals do and people-watch.

The final thing to add to your busy and free day around London is doing a typical city tour. There are apps that you can download on your smart phone that are dedicated to providing some free walking tours that you can listen to as you stroll through the city. I did a simple tour around Westminster to learn more about classic sites like the Parliament building and London Eye.

Wesminister Abbey is gorgeous – no wonder Prince William and Kate married here!

Despite having to use small fees for transportation, London is a great city to explore with little cash on you. There is so much to see that even walking around and admiring the architecture is enough to keep one busy for a couple hours. Next time you’re traveling to the city, make sure to grab a map of the underground routes and explore the numerous free sites.

The world awaits…discover it.


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