London is preparing for more than an estimated 600,000 visitors for the April 29 nuptials, and there's still time to be one of them. But as the excitement builds in the U.S., flights are selling out and London hotels are filling up, so time is running out to make arrangements.
On "The Early Show" Monday, Travel + Leisure magazine International Editor Mark Orwoll shared pointers to help make your trip as hassle-free and enjoyable as possible, and help you get the most for your money:
Despite the anticipated record crowds, common folk can still witness history when the newly-betrothed couple takes a carriage ride through London, starting at Westminster Abbey and then passing by these landmarks en route to Buckingham Palace: Parliament Square (i.e. Big Ben), White Hall (government offices), the Horse Guards Parade, and along a street called "The Mall."
Airfares and hotel rates have climbed 40 percent above normal for that time of year, and one tip is to NOT FLY DIRECTLY INTO LONDON. Instead, try flying into Paris or Brussels, then taking the Eurostar train under the English Channel into London. These train tickets cost about $125 round trip (1 hour and 51 minutes each way from Brussels, 2 hours and 15 minutes from Paris).
As for accommodations, LOOK OUTSIDE LONDON (i.e. Cambridge, Reading, St Albans or Wales) and check out B&Bs, as opposed to hotels, in and outside London.
BEWARE of package deals! You don't need the champagne and roses most include, and it is easy enough to book your own walking/bus tours, many of which highlight places special for William and Kate's history.
Orwoll also speculated on where the royal couple might be headed on their honeymoon.
An estimated 600,000 came to London for Charles and Di's wedding, even though no one could actually guarantee they were going to see anything -- and experts are predicting this is going to be even bigger. The Brits are taking it very seriously -- they've named April 29th an official public holiday, so the streets will really be flooded.
Best Bet for Actually Seeing Something, Short of an Invite!
If you want to get up=close, here are the details: Kate is arriving at the ceremony by car for the 11 a.m. ceremony at Westminster Abbey. The wedding is a closed door affair. But then the royal couple - once married -- will go on a carriage procession through central London. The carriage procession route will start at Westminster Abbey, pass by Parliament Square (i.e. Big Ben), past White Hall (government offices), past the Horse Guards Parade (a large parade ground off Whitehall where you can see the Changing of The Guard), along a street called "The Mall," and from there, on to Buckingham Palace, where the reception will commence. Luckily they won't be going at car speed; they'll be going as fast as a horse's gait. I don't know how many people-deep the crowd will be along the route. There will be risers, but those will be exclusively for foreign dignitaries -- people they couldn't include in the ceremony. But for people like us, it is very "catch as catch can."
What about Security Concerns
They've had terrorist incidents in the heart of London before, so we can imagine that, for obvious reasons, security will be tight and omnipresent. Don't go if you don't like crowds.
We're already hearing that airfare has climbed 40 percent over what it would normally be, as have accommodation rates. If you DO want to go, book now - don't hesitate! My number one tip would be: Don't fly directly into London. There is a very efficient and affordable network of trains that travel between London and The Continent. Try flying into Paris or Brussels and then taking the Eurostar train under the English Channel into London. Tickets to the high-speed trains can cost approximately $125 round trip, so it is a great alternative to paying that 40 percent premium.
Stay Outside London
Do you really want to stay in London? Because really there's no need. You can stay in Cambridge or Reading, St Albans or Wales, and be in central London in two hours. And by staying out there, you can find reasonable hotel rates. Just remember, you'll be paying a little more because you'll be taking the train in. If you want to stay in London, consider hotel alternatives, such as B&Bs. They're not just in the countryside; they're usually private homes, and your stay there will likely include an English breakfast. Visit to see some options.
Anything Buyers Should Beware of?
There are a lot of packages out there -- we're seeing hotels creating royal wedding packages chock full of things you don't want and don't need, like rose champagne -- so put together your own package. Check out CelebrityPlanet.com -- they are offering a William and Kate "royal wedding walk" -- a walking tour of all the places most identified with these two: the jewelry company where Kate was working when William dumped her, the Mahiki nightclub (where royals party!), Westminster Abbey, Garrard Jewelry house (where Prince Charles designed and bought the sapphire engagement ring Kate now wears on her hand).
What Else to Consider Doing while There
Check out the bargain-basement airfare being offered from London to any of the Continent's capital cities, only a short flight away.
How to Pack
London will likely be cold and damp in April -- so bring a hooded raincoat!
The Royal Honeymoon?
We've heard that they might end up going to Lizard Island in the Great Barrier Reef, off the east coast of Australia, with its white powdery sand beaches and every imaginable luxury in the rooms -- and the resort there still has rooms available the first week in May - for $1,400 a night.
If That's Out of Your Price range?
Then watch the wedding from your couch! It will air at 5 a.m. New York time April 29. And check out the options in your home city. For example, the Trump International Hotel in New York is hosting what they're calling a "royal wedding experience," starting with an exclusive breakfast at Jean Georges, where you will be surrounded by several oversized monitors broadcasting the festivities, and the whole thing will cost you just over $1,000.