Getting to the Royal Wedding for Less Than a King's Ransom

Prince William and Kate Middleton pose for photographers as they announce plans for a royal weddingGetting to the Royal Wedding is going to be a royal pain in your budget if you don't act soon. Round-trip airfares to London around the April 29 nuptials for Prince William and Kate Middleton will rise faster than the Queen's bar tab at the Buckingham Palace reception.

"Book soon for everything," Tom Hall, Lonely Planet's London-based travel editor, told
WalletPop. "Excitement levels and prices will only rise as the big day gets closer."After a full Monday of searching for cheap packages and flights from April 27 to May 1, we're already feeling a bit less than jolly. The least expensive airfare from JFK to Heathrow that Kayak
spit out was $668, and we found nothing cheaper elsewhere. Another try on Tuesday reaped more grim news: one flight at $758 and nothing less. The one package we found of merit emerged from British Airways, which offered round-trip and four nights at the Pembury Hotel in London's Finsbury Park for $1025.50 (including tax and fees). It was still around when we last checked. Travelzoo offers popped up on searches, but my clicks were met with warnings in red that the deals were sold out.

Hall advises stateside Anglophiles who simply must be on the procession route not to get cute and book an air ticket for another city in Europe in the hopes of saving money. "London remains, generally, the cheapest place in Europe for Americans to fly to, so there's nothing to be gained by flying to Paris or Amsterdam and making your own way to London from there," he wrote. One lone exception could be Dublin through if you can find low-cost transport to London, he said. The prices rise and fall on the site like a Wall Street tote board, so you'll have to act fast.

The picture is a bit rosier for getting to the ceremony once you're in Great Britain. Superbreak has a three-night rail and B&B deal starting at 299 pounds ($482) out of Leeds, York, Newcastle, Glasgow and other prominent outposts. That includes a ticket for the London Eye -- Europe's tallest Ferris wheel -- and a two-for-one dinner per booking. Americans are encouraged to make reservations, but you'll have to pay in British pounds for now, Superbreak spokesman Ray Jones emailed to WalletPop. "I've been told that a double figure percentage of all the tourists who visit London for the Royal Wedding will be American!" he wrote.

Those of less-than-aristocratic means should be aware that access to the festivities will mostly be limited to the 1 1/2-mile route between Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey before and after the ceremony. (That is unless you're one of the 2,300 invited to the church, or among the 800 asked to attend the afternoon reception back at the palace or the few hundred for the Prince Charles-hosted soiree.) The princess-to-be and her groom will ride to the Abbey in limos, but all the Royal party will return afterward to the palace in carriages with marching bands, soldiers, the works, as the procession weaved through Parliament Square, Whitehall, Horse Guards and the Mall, according to the Daily Mail.

If a peek from the sidelines is satisfying enough, then what you spend might not be too blue for your blood. And we promise to keep you on the cheap once you get there: Stay tuned for WalletPop's London-on-a-budget bust-out coming soon. Cheerio!
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