just how expensive is London

Old Mar 18th, 2005, 07:49 AM
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Brisbanite...try posting in one message rather than several after another....weren't you under another name recently??? No offence intended just asking.
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Old Mar 18th, 2005, 07:58 AM
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This month's edition of Budget Travel magazine has an article about enjoying London affordably...it is written by a New Yorker who fell in love with a girl in London and decided to move there. Worth checking out for some ideas.
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Old Mar 18th, 2005, 09:53 AM
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<i>&quot;even though I can buy 1 item and have it imported for $7.00?&quot;</i>

So don't buy your Star Trek DVDs from Amazon.co.uk when you can get them cheaper elsewhere.

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Old Mar 18th, 2005, 10:12 AM
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Carmel, I am going to look into this with renewed interest. Your point about the stress of planning a trip is well-made. There's also a bit of serendipity in that that I like also, as in, not where we should go, but whose house is available? Thank you for the &quot;essay&quot;--I needed it!
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Old Mar 18th, 2005, 11:30 AM
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brisbanite:

quotes from your surveys&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;

Using New York as a base city with a nominal score of 100,

and

According to the report's authors, the two major reasons why a city's cost of living index changes over time are exchange rate fluctuations and price movements.

&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;

despite your response, your amazon.com comparasin and your surveys are useless as they are all relative to USD. New Yorkers (who understand how these surveys work) should taking no comfort from the fact that new york is now &quot;cheaper&quot;. new york has not gotten cheaper for new yorkers who earn USD, nor has london gotten more expensive for those earning GBP. In fact, either city may or may not have gotten more expensive to its citizens but unfortunately, the currency fluctuations as compared to USD distort the ratings so much that it is impossible to tell from these worthless surveys.

since USD has gone tanked, all US cities now have the edge and appear to be much cheaper.
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Old Mar 18th, 2005, 12:49 PM
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One word, walkinaround. Huh?
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Old Mar 18th, 2005, 05:42 PM
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kswl,

That's the spirit! When our first child was 4 months old, we braved a 10-hour transatlantic flight and a month long vacation to London and Paris. But, a year later, when it was time to make annual vacation plans, we were feeling a little rusty.

So in a twist, we decided to solicit a home exchange to somewhere tropical and closer to home. We wrote to everyone from the the Caribbean to Hawaii and in between. Lo and behold, we got a response from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I only knew of this place as a door prize given out on the Price Is Right.

I could easily fill a page about our luxury condo situated right on the beaches of Puerto Vallarta. But suffice it to say, we consider it as our absolute best &quot;vacation&quot; ever. And that's saying a lot, since we've been to many tropical locales (We consider Europe and the like as more of an adventure. Anyone traveling with children will appreciate the distinction.). Vallarta was just incredible. And it was a place we would never have considered on our own without home exchanging.
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Old Mar 18th, 2005, 09:25 PM
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Carmel, I will let you know when we've arranged our first exchange---thanks again.
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Old Mar 19th, 2005, 06:49 AM
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It's not so much that London is that expensive compared to other big cities, but the exchange rate is what kills you. You can just figure that whatever the price is you double if for US $. In other words, we don't find a $30 lunch for two expensive in any big city, but with the exchange rate that is $60 or darn close to it. We have paid $200 a night for a really nice hotel in big cities, in London the exchange rate makes it $400 and the 17.5% VAT on top of that adds even more to every purchase. That being said, I love London and plan to go this fall.
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Old Mar 19th, 2005, 07:10 AM
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huebie, your post would seem to indicate that it isn't the cost of things, but rather that it takes nearly two dollars to equal a pound and it is THAT which makes it expensive. That is such foolish reasoning. Using that same logic, imagine how horrible it was for Italians traveling before the euro. It took 2000 of their lira to equal one US dollar, so with your logic, that means if they went to the states, everything would have cost them 2000 times as much! The fact that two countries have two different currencies and one's just happens to require two of the other, has NOTHING to do with things &quot;costing&quot; double.

That $30 meal you mention elsewhere is not likely to be 30 pounds, but more like 18 or 20 pounds. Aren't you aware that MOST things are not priced in London by the same NUMBER of pounds as they would be priced in dollars in an equal type establishment in the US? Have you read the many examples listed above? You can't say due to the low dollar, that is what makes things &quot;twice&quot; as expensive. First of all, when were the pound and dollar ever equal in &quot;numbers&quot; or value?
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Old Mar 19th, 2005, 08:20 AM
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I dunno, Patrick... When we've been in the UK, &quot;prices&quot; seem pretty comparable with what we'd expect to pay in the US. For example, a lunch at a US sit-down (non-fastfood) restaurant would cost $8 - $10. That's pretty much the same as we'd expect to pay (in &pound;'s) for a similar lunch in the UK.

That's why it's so easy to start thinking of &pound;'s as dollars when we're in the UK. Of course, the reality hits when the Visa bill arrives.
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Old Mar 19th, 2005, 08:32 AM
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I tend to agree that for the most part except for the most deluxe places, the prices in London in pounds are very similar to the price in dollars which means that given the current rate of exchange you pay twice as much for many things in London than you do in the US. Top of the line places might be slightly less but not a whole lot less.

Now of course there are exceptions...the theatre for one is somewhat cheaper in London (although the price spread with Broadway is narrowing because of the low dollar and the fact that prices in the West End have skyrocketed in the past couple of years) but the same big mac meal (ugh I know) that costs &pound;3.99 in London can be had for around $3.99 in the United States or thereabouts.

It's all relative, completely understand that. I like to go to Pret a manger for lunch when in London, let's see a nice mozerella plate and diet cokke come to about &pound;4.23. Not bad I think to myself...then Irealize I just spent about $8.30 for lunch; not complaining mind you the food was pretty good but certainly not gourmet and clearly I could do somewhat better in NY but not enough to intimidate me not to do it.

My friends love visiting me in NY and they can't wait when they get here to go running into Wal Mart's and/or Targets to stock up on blue jeans, underwear, household goods (they all love the George Foreman grill!)...they need converters of course but they have them already...then we go into a food court at the mall and yum yum (at least to them, a Philly cheese steak or a Japanese fast food for 3 quid as they say, they can't believe it.

And then of course when we fill up the car at the petrol station (gasoline) for &pound;13, while I complain bitterly about the high cost they laugh....

But I understand, it's only a generalization.....
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 04:26 PM
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1. I live in NYC and I go to London pretty often. I would agree that many many things DO cost twice as much in London as in NY for someone with dollars - a ten dollar thing is often a ten-pound thing etc.

2. I know this is old but : as to the example of the dvd prices at Amazon.uk versus Amazon.com: supposing someone is really buying a dvd and considering whether to order it from the US or Britain: I hope that person knows that you cannot play a dvd from one country on the dvd player of the other country.

Please be aware that I know that this has nothing to do with the topic of the discussion from March.

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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 04:40 PM
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Oh sure you can, Elizabeth. You just need to have a <i>no region/region free or multi region</i> DVD player.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 04:47 PM
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Thanks, Nimrod - I do know that - but most people in the US don't have those.
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 11:50 PM
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I bought some CD's from Amazon.com (rather than Amazon.co.uk) and because I exceeded the &pound;27 limit on imports, I was slammed with tax duty before the Post Office would release the items (and the Post Office also added an &quot;administration charge&quot.
So it doesn't pay to import to the UK from the USA!!
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Old Jun 11th, 2005, 01:05 AM
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I can understand that cheap food in pubs can act as a loss leader, but the equivalent of a fiver in a real restaurant is another thing.
What on earth are the farmers getting and what on earth do they pay the staff?
I suppose that in the US, the customer pretty well pays the staff, but I wouldn't fancy eating food that cheap.
 
Old Jun 11th, 2005, 02:21 AM
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Pub food is cheap because the ingredients are cheap. A bag of frozen chips will cost under &pound;1 per pound weight in wholesale outlets. You would get a few platefuls for that. Lasagne, sausages, chicken etc are cheap also, as are salad garnishes. A pub meal will cost little over &pound;1 to actually make plus overheads. It is simple fare for low costs.
As for restaurants, you will obviously pay higher prices. I don't think that anyone realistically expects to pay &pound;5 in a London restaurant! I'm sure that no-one on this thread has suggested that you can eat at night for &pound;5 in central London Restaurants (you may get &pound;5 deals for lunch but portions will be smaller) which doesn't include cafe's or fast food joints?
As for farmers in the UK - well that's a huge argument because the supermarkets pay the farmers next to nothing but then sell it on cheap as well (although they do still make a huge mark-up in the supermarket). It was only pointed out yesterday on our news how the French and US governments give their farmers huge subsidies. I think the figure for the EU is that 40% of all subsidies go to less than 5% of the EU population (i.e. French farmers).
How much do they pay the staff in London? Well, there is a minimum wage of &pound;4.85 per hour for all over 21 years of age - that's equivalent of $8.79. And that's the minimum. I don't know how that compares to the US. We do tip waitresses ect in the UK (10-15%), but not bar-people as a rule. With the current employment situation in the UK, if a bar/pub doesn't pay much then the worker can just go down the road to another pub. It is an employee's market at the moment. There are also a raft of other benefits that are mandatory such as 4 weeks paid leave, maternity allowances, length of shifts etc.
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