It's not too late to be among the 1 million or so people looking to get a glimpse of Prince William and Kate Middleton when they exchange vows in London in April, but make plans soon and brace yourself for crowds, high prices and a flood of tacky memorabilia.

There are still plenty of direct flights to London from major hubs like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, but hotel rooms are filling up.

Many online travel sites, airlines and hotels have seen double-, even triple-digit jumps in bookings for the wedding period, which is only a week after another heavy travel time -- Easter. The couple plans to marry April 29, which has been declared a holiday. The following Monday is a banker's holiday, which makes for a four-day weekend after a four-day weekend in the prior week.

"This is a hugely popular weekend," said Jill Lloyd, a spokeswoman for "We started to see a definite spike in bookings after the announcement, and it's been quite sustained since then."

Expedia has seen a 200 percent increase in bookings for the wedding period compared with year-ago trends. Other sites have reported 40 percent to 50 percent more bookings than last year.

"There's been a lot of reporting that London is completely sold out," said Karen Clarkson, vice president and regional manager, North America, for VisitBritain, the national tourism agency. "But that is not true. There are still plenty of rooms available in London, and if you want to commute an hour or so outside of London, there are rooms in Brighton, Cambridge, Windsor or Bristol."

The Brits are quick to point out that travel to London this year is a better value proposition than most any time in the last five to six years, given current exchange rates. In January 2008, it took about $1.97 to buy one pound, compared with about $1.58 today.

"Britain is effectively cheaper today than even two years ago," said VisitBritain's Clarkson. "You're looking at an 8 percent difference in price."

Packages? There are plenty. British Airways is offering a Royal Wedding Package that includes a round-trip flight from New York and three nights in a London hotel for $819.

Expect to pay a lot once you're there. Hotel prices in central London generally start around $300 a night, but are now going for more than $400.

"London hotels are fairly expensive anyway," said Expedia's Lloyd. "We've not seen a massive increase in prices yet, but as availability drops that may happen.

"There are still bargains to be had and a wide range of prices available at a wide range of star ratings," she added.

Hotel packages are still available as well. The Royal Garden Hotel is offering the Royal Wedding Package, which includes a three-night stay, afternoon tea for two, complimentary spa use and two free tickets to Kensington Palace, starting at $1,338.

Most hotels are requiring a three-night stay. The Ritz London, for example, is offering the Executive King room for $1,233 a night while the Savoy's rooms start at $845.

But you don't need a package to get a feel for the royal couple's lives. Given the long holiday weekends back to back, most travel experts predict that many Londoners will take flight themselves that weekend, and will offer their own homes and flats for rent. Check out sites like, or to see what's available.

On the wedding day, if you can't find a spot on the one-and-a-half mile route the newlyweds will travel in a horse-drawn carriage from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace, don't fret. The ceremony, procession and balcony wave will be televised live at most pubs and cafes, as well as on oversized outdoor screens at such tourist spots like Hyde Park or near Big Ben.

Here's the wedding-day schedule: Middleton will leave St. James' Palace by car for a low-key entrance to Westminster Abbey.

The closed-door wedding will begin at 11 a.m. It's unclear exactly how long the service will take -- Prince William's parents' wedding started at 11:20 a.m. and didn't end until 1:10 p.m. -- but the schedule has the newlyweds in a horse-drawn carriage headed to Buckingham Palace at noon.

The procession will cross Parliament Square, home to Big Ben, go past the government offices of Whitehall to the Horse Guards Parade, a large open area known for its ceremonial changing of the guard. The procession then will head down the Mall, a direct route to Buckingham Palace alongside St. James' Park.

It's scheduled to take a half-hour, but actual travel time will depend on the horse's gait. Once at the palace, Queen Elizabeth will host a reception for the couple and several hundred guests.

At about 1:30 p.m. Prince William and Princess Catherine will kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, just as his parents did three decades ago. William's Royal Air Force colleagues will stage a flyover then, too.

At best, you'll get a drive-by glimpse of the happy couple en route to Buckingham Palace. At worst, you'll see the tops of the horses' heads. In any case, you'll be able to say you were there -- and those are bragging rights.

Before you set off to London, here are some tips for how to plan for the trip.

* Prepare for the masses: estimates that the day of the wedding alone will attract some 600,000 visitors. Other projections estimate that more than 1 million people will line the royal-wedding route.

* Get rail and subway passes ahead of time: Most passes can be bought through online-travel agencies or independent sites such as,, and

* Bring comfortable walking shoes.

* Keep your eye out for freebies: Many London museums are free, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square and the Tate near Westminster.

* Make reservations in advance: Book theater, restaurant, palace and museum reservations as soon as you have an itinerary. OpenTable exists in the United Kingdom, as do other entertainment-reservation systems. If you have trouble securing theater tickets in London's West End, there are a last-minute, discount-ticket kiosks around Leicester Square.