London is a huge, expensive city and finding accommodation can be a harrowing experience for new arrivals. Fortunately there are lots of options. London accommodation isn't limited only to renting a flat. If you are a new arrival and want to live in London without blowing the budget, you will need to get creative.

The cheapest accommodation in London is actually free - stay at a friends place. If you have friends in London milk their couch for all its worth because the other options get a lot more pricey. It's something so common it even has a name: dossing. When you doss at a friend's place you will sometimes be asked to contribute some money. The going rate in 2005 was £5 per night but that has probably risen since then. This usually goes towards paying the bills or appeasing their housemates with beer money.

New arrivals without any friends in the city will find themselves searching for the cheapest possible London accommodation while they look for a more permanent place to stay. This is where backpacker's hostels come in. They are geared towards young people and offer accommodation in dorm rooms at amazingly cheap prices when compared with hotels. In London you probably won't find places much cheaper than £20, but hotels go for a lot more. To get the cheapest rate at a hostel you will be sharing your room with other people, usually between six and ten to a room. What you lose in privacy you will gain in new friends as hostels are very social places and are often filled with other people looking to settle in London for awhile.

Once you've got a good feel for the city and know what part of the city you will be working in, it will probably be time to say goodbye to dorm living in favour of a room of your own. Or maybe not it is much cheaper to share a room with one or maybe even two other people. Basically, the more people that are crammed into a house or flat in London, the cheaper it will be for everyone. Some houses really take this to heart so if you want to do things on the cheap, expect to live with a lot of people. Having your own room is also an option but getting a place all to yourself will cost you dearly.

Whatever option you go for, there are plenty online classified sites for finding accommodation in London. There are lots of hostel websites too if you decide you want that to be your first step. Before moving into a place make sure it will be handy for work because London is a big place and you don't want to spend all of your time commuting. Do a bit of research, meet your potential housemates and figure out your budget before committing and you will be on the right track to find some quality accommodation in London.