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London, Paris, Dublin and New york on $120/day per person, hotels and food

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Jul 3rd, 2012, 07:44 AM
  #1
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London, Paris, Dublin and New york on $120/day per person, hotels and food

I wanted to share with fellow budget travelers what I ended up spending for a recent trip to three expensive cities, London/NY/Paris, and Dublin. This was total cost not including airfare; it includes hotel/lodging, all food, travel such as trains, buses, subway, tours, entertainment such as seeing two West end shows in London (Jersey boys, Rock of ages), cash for spending, airport transfers.

The trip was 17 days, 15 nights for 3 people. It does not include transcontinental flight which was about $800 RT pp from JFK to Paris, open jaw return from Dublin to NY. It also does not include Ryanair flight from London to Dublin which was about $50 pp. If I were to include these airfare costs, the cost pp/day for the entire trip would be about $160/pp/day.

We had 4 days in NY; used Priceline and got hotel rooms for $135/night which is about $165/night after all taxes are included. We got the Marriott in financial district which had very nice rooms; I would happily stay there again. There are buses and subways within 5 minutes to get anywhere in Manhattan. We rented an apartment in Paris $215/night for 5 nights which was a very spacious 1 BR with 800 sq ft, and elevator service. It was in the Bastille/Marais district. This was our splurge and it was very Parisian and charming. In London, we went budget and stayed at the Travelodge in Covent Garden (3 nights at 79 pounds per night, 1 night at 25 pounds). They have lower rates at other times but we were traveling in high season at the second half of June. In Dublin, we stayed at the Capitol Grafton Inn near all the sights in a great location near St. Stephen's square; it was $188 for two nights ($94/night).

Our costs included a day trip to Normandy from Paris which was a splurge but not as much as it could have costed. We did a half day tour which was 60 euros per person and train ride there was about $80 pp RT.

We dined in nice restaurants many days; about 8 nice meals at destination restaurants. Remaining meals were at enticing pubs and cafes.

Some of our cost-containment measures:
-I booked an easybus to get us from central London (earl's court area) to Gatwick. This was about 3 pounds for quite a long ride. I think it is the least I have paid for miles traveled.
-we never used taxis. In NY, we got from our hotel to LaGuardia for $2.25. One ride on the E train from its origin at the World trade center, exit at 74th st/Roosevelt exit then a free transfer to the bus Q33 which was waiting right outside and it takes you right to the airport.
-in Dublin, we took the local bus in from the airport to our hotel, the #16 which was 2.65 euros pp. On the way back, we splurged and took the airport bus which was 7 euros since it made fewer stops and was faster.
-We took advantage of all the free sights and activities: walking the streets of NY, seeing Times Square, Rockefeller center, Grand Central station, Central Park, upper east side, shopping in SOHO, walking around Wall Street, Staten Island ferry ride.
In London: British museum, British Library, Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert museum, Museum of Science. We didn't even get to the National Gallery, etc.

I hadn't seen much on estimated total costs for these cities that are known to be fairly expensive so I thought this might be helpful to post.
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Jul 3rd, 2012, 08:11 AM
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Thanks for sharing. Could you elaborate about your expenses in restaurants ?
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Jul 3rd, 2012, 08:27 AM
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ncounty

How far in advance did you bid on your hotel in NYC? We will be in New York for two days in October before a cruise to Halifax and St. John. The rooms are even more expensive in October than they were last December. 3* near Times Square is between $400-$500.
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Jul 3rd, 2012, 08:34 AM
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I did Priceline about 2-3 months before, scatcat. Unfortunately, October is a VERY busy and tough time there. Check the Marriott site directly. I also found a gorgeous hotel near the Marriott and thought it would be 500-600/night and was shocked that right now with one day's notice, it was under $300. It is the Conrad, a high end hilton hotel. Check their website as well. You might hold a room in these places that is cancelable and then work on Priceline to see if you can do better.

Our upscale meals ran about $60-90 in general for 3 people. We did the prix fixe at a one star Michelin in Dublin which was 3 courses for 25 euros; that was our big splurge.

We dined at the North end grill in NY for brunch and it was amazing; cost was about $60. We generally just had coffee and a pastry for breakfast, did lunch and dinner for prix fixe if possible.
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Jul 3rd, 2012, 09:32 AM
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Hi nc,

Thanks for the report.

I was really wondering how you did it until you mentioned that there were 3 of you. That does make a difference.

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Jul 4th, 2012, 06:09 AM
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Yes, that makes a big difference, ira. I did Peru on $100/day but that was solo. I think I did find inexpensive ways to get around which helped.
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Jul 4th, 2012, 07:37 AM
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Hi ncountry,

Thanks for a helpful report as we plan our first trip to New York!

Any specific recommendations for good 'cheap eats' in NYC?
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Jul 4th, 2012, 09:20 AM
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Hi 2010...Yes! I would go to Grand central station which is just gorgeous and go to the lower level dining concourse. There are wonderful food stalls there that offer great food at affordable prices. I was told that they made a decision to avoid any chains, like Chipotle, and they are all local enterprises.

As a splurge, I highly recommend the North End Grill in Battery Park (near Wall street, probably a 20 minute walk, great river views) for brunch. You can start with sweets like their sticky bun ($4) and Bostock ($3) that are amazing. This is an elegant fine restaurant with some Starbuck's prices. The brunch items are about $15 each which is quite good in value for a lovely and culinary establishment. Their lemon meringue pie is fantastic ($8).
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Jul 4th, 2012, 10:18 AM
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Can you define "nice" restaurants? Frankly I really can't think of many in NYC where 3 people can die for less than your daily limit including lodging. (Unless you mean by "nice" anything better than Mickey D's.)

We eat out a lot - and some places are very casuale/modestly priced. But if you share an appetizer, each have a pasta or chicken entree, one glass of wine and coffee each plus tax and tip is generally about $70 for a couple.
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Jul 4th, 2012, 01:30 PM
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A Danny Meyer restaurant called North End Grill in Battery Park was our final meal in NY, we did brunch on Saturday:

http://northendgrillnyc.com/

A Michelin star in Dublin called Cliff townhouse:

http://theclifftownhouse.com/restaurant/

We did their three course menu for 25 euros each.

Those were our splurges. We also ate at Punjab in London, one of the oldest Indian restaurants in the UK. We always go to Sorza in Paris. We also enjoyed Cafe Constant in Paris.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...de_France.html

We dined right before 7 pm and got their prix fixe for 17 euros for two courses.

http://www.cafeconstant.com/1.aspx

On a more casual note, we enjoyed the Hairy Lemon in Dublin:

http://www.thehairylemon.ie/

A fantastic value was the L'As du Falafel in the Marais district in Paris, $5.50 euros for a take away huge falafel sandwich or schwarma for a euro more:

http://travel.nytimes.com/2006/12/31/travel/31bite.html

We also enjoyed Cask in Murray Hill, NY:

http://www.casknyc.com/index.htm

One of our favorite meals was in Normandy in the town of Bayeux sitting at an outdoor cafe with a view of the cathedral; it was called Reine Mathilde. Their salads looked fantastic and I want to try one next time. We had their Camembert pizza and it was also notable for one of the best spaghetti carbonaras we have had (and we try them wherever we can including in Italy) and fantastic crepe desserts.

http://www.hotel-bayeux-reinemathilde.fr/
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Jul 4th, 2012, 01:33 PM
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We save money by not ordering wine and coffee with every meal. I would rather spend money on composed dishes that take culinary effort and maybe have wine at home before going out or afterwards. This may not work for everyone but it helps meet our budget goals; just like most would not use public transportation to the degree and frugality that I put us through.
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Jul 4th, 2012, 01:44 PM
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scatcat- the Marriott had rooms for $279 in October:

http://www.marriott.com/hotels/trave...s=y&ttr=2.18bD
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Jul 4th, 2012, 04:21 PM
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It seemed odd to ask about New York eateries on the Europe forum! Thanks for listing restaurants you enjoyed on your trip!

I like to have a list of restaurants (of various price points) 'in my pocket' when traveling. We're off to Paris & London this fall and New York next spring. So, the list grows thanks to you!
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Jul 4th, 2012, 04:24 PM
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Yes, it is tough because you can only list one country for the forum and this trip spanned all those cities. I just randomly picked U.K.

Have a great trip, 2010! All such fantastic cities...
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Jul 4th, 2012, 07:11 PM
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Well - I must admit that I really don't want dinner without wine and coffee - that's part of the relaxation and enjoyment- and making a 2 to 3 hour dinner. And we don;t eat extra early to get budget prices - after touring around all day we want to relax for a while before dinner. I guess just a difference in traveling style. We don;t go for Michelin * places every night - although we do go for a splurge dinner - perhaps 250 to 400 euros for a couple - in each city. But other dinners are nice restaurants, with wine and good food and a couple of courses - for us that's an important part of travel.
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Jul 4th, 2012, 07:23 PM
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ncounty

Thanks for the link. I think I will book it and then try Priceline for a hotel near Times Square. I like the Wall St. area, but I also like to be near the action and shopping around the square. It is $299 per night for Oct. 4-6. Way better than $500 for the Hampton Inn at Times Square South!
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Jul 6th, 2012, 11:42 AM
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Hi ncounty, great info, thanks for sharing. Just wondering if you could pls link to the apartment in Paris you stayed at. Thanks in advance, it will help with planning our trip.
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Jul 6th, 2012, 02:41 PM
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Reine Mathilde, nice place and great view. We had a best meal in Bayeux at La Fingale. I spend more when I go with my husband but less when I do it with girlfriends unless we start running up bar tabs quickly. You can travel and have a nice trip on a budget. Apartments and eating in some help a lot. Planning a trip now and think a terrace is a must. Wine, cheese, fruit and sitting on the terrace will help with those bar bills...We eat breakfast in. Public transportation. Great tip on the bus to Gatwick.
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Jul 6th, 2012, 05:27 PM
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I paid 2.99 pounds per person for that bus to Gatwick about 1 month before the trip, flpab. Those walked up paid 10 pounds. It IS popular so be sure to allow half an hour extra.

I will look for La Fingale as well next time in Bayeux.

here is the apartment we stayed at in Paris, abitito:

http://www.vacationinparis.com/apts/id_239.htm

I have seen several others posted here for even less money.
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Jul 7th, 2012, 06:58 AM
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My personal notes on the apartment in Paris:

-the location is the Bastille area, not too far from Le Marais. It is a young area with Rue de Lappe, a major party street a block away. It is very lively. I liked that when I closed the windows though that the apartment is well soundproofed and I could shut most of the action out. The bedroom is in the back overlooking a quiet courtyard and is great for sleeping.

-Bus 69 goes from there to the Eiffel tower. It is faster to take the metro but if you want to view the terrain, it is an option.

-the living space is charming and at least as nice in person as in the photos. The place is VERY spacious at 80 meters squared; most others were 30-40. There are two living areas, so the third person can sleep in an area and still have a living room that is free and uncluttered. The kitchen and bathroom are very basic and purely functional.

-there is no air conditioning. It was cool while we were there so it was not a problem.

-free phone calls to the U.S. This was great. Also free wifi internet; essential for us.

-5th floor with an elevator.

-I had a problem after my departure where they tried to charge me for a towel that was stained. What happened was there was a windy stormy day and one of the windows blew open and we didn't realize some rain had come in. We grabbed a towel as soon as we saw that to avoid any damage to their hardwood floors. The towel was stained in wiping this up. They tried to charge me 45 euros (about 60$) for a simple basic towel. I explained what happened and they stuck with the charge initially. I protested again and they took the charge off.

Overall, we had been delighted with the apartment and it was unfortunate to have had that negative glich at the end but it got fixed.
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