tight budget in London

Old Apr 15th, 2006, 04:49 PM
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tight budget in London

I'm going to be on a tight budget for my trip particularly in London becuase it's so expensive. I'm thinking a budget of 190 pounds. That includes everything except hotel. I'm staying at the Pickwick Hostel for 25 pounds with shared bath and no tv.

I'm going to just eat at McDonalds and cheap take out with a splurge at one nice restaurant of 20 pounds for just me. And I'll spend a total of 50 pounds on food.

30 pounds going to clubs and stuff

35 pounds for transportation

40 pounds for shopping and little stuff like the paper or a soda.

And finally 35 pounds for sightseeing.

My question is has anybody ever done a trip on such a tight budget? How did it work out? Any tips that I might not have thought of.

Thanks

Terrence
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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 04:58 PM
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All I can sugggest is there are dozens of threads here with better budget food options than McDonalds. Pizza Express and ASK are 2 of my faves. Take away from Marks & Spencer is not bad. Indian and Chinese are good and cheap. Here are a few of the previous posts.

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=34750684

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=34636012

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...=2&tid=1304351

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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 05:07 PM
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I agree with mclaurie, I think you'll find much better & cheaper choices out there than McD's. I don't know about you, but this trip this summer may be the only time my kids get to Europe (at least for a while) - thanks to our lovely economy! Is there anyway you can save a little more between now & when you leave (cut down on clubbing, eat out less, drink more water and cut down on sodas (it will help hydrate you for the flight)? Apply for a 0% credit card? More money will help in the end and protect you in an emergency.
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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 06:17 PM
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Don;t know how long you'll be gone - so can;t say if this is sensible or not.

But - you should be aware that McDonalds and other chain fastfood is at least double what it is in the US. (And a dinner at Friday's will set you back more than 20 pounds.) You'll do better for a bargain at local sandwich shop - and search other posts here for ideas on local places.

Also - suggest that you search out what activities are free in London - and check out the cost of a couple of the major activities - I think you'll be suprprised at how much they are (Tower of London is 14 pounds for adults, 9 for students). (If you're a student be sure to bring your school picture ID - will get you better prices.)

Also - second the notion to save more - and work more - if you can before the trip - so you're not outside looking in at a lot of things you want to do.
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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 06:25 PM
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Avoid McDonalds. Go to a relatively large market that has a sandwich counter and buy a big one. I have done that for lunch and gotten more for my money than by going for fish and chips or other fare.

I have not had to do that in a while, but old practices die hard!!

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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 06:44 PM
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Eat take-away sandwiches. In descending order of price, the purveyors are:

Pret a Manger
Marks & Spencer
Boots
Iceland Grocery (Real Deal Meal not bad for £3) - and buy your drinks to last until the next meal while you're there


Transport costing £35 for 3 days is way out of line. If you get an Oyster card and load £9 on it, you can ride the buses as much as you want anywhere in Greater London (only not before 9:30 on weekdays). If you're under 18, it's even less.
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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 06:45 PM
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I lived in London working at a menial job that paid me so little, I'm embarassed to actually state what the figure was. And I only got one day off!

However, on that one day off, I walked London from end to end, entering as many free museums and historic sites as I could. I mainly ate out of grocery stores. A treat for me was sitting down in a grotty cafe and ordering soggy white bread, Heinz beans and a cup of vile tea.

I got very wet doing all that walking. I learned a great deal.

London restaurant food has improved marvelously (and miraculously) in recent years, but you have to pay top doller to get into the range of where it matters. Go into the supermarkets.

Museums are mostly free. Spend all your time there. London has very heavily invested in making its greatest treasures democratically availabe to all. Take advantage of it!

have a great trip.


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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 07:37 PM
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Thanks for the replies yall! Oh about 35 pounds for transport I meant 20 pounds for the bus pass and 14 pounds for the train from gatwick to victoria station. But I'll have to read up on the oyster card I thought that was for like people who live there and need like monthly bus passes. But if I can save a few pounds I will definately use the oyster card.

McDonalds isn't cheap in the UK? Wow. Everything is expensive other there even McDonalds who knew? I heard about fish and chips being the way to go so I'll look into the sandwich shops and stuff I just figured McDonalds would be the way to go. Hmmm.

I thought getting a new credit card but yeah right like I'll get a good one. But really as I sit down adding things up it's more than I thought especially once you start converting pounds into dollars! I'll be spending about $100 a day in London. When I thought I'd spend just $50.

I think part of my problem is not really knowing how much things cost until now. Well thanks yall I've definately been given some food for thought.

Terrence
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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 07:54 PM
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Pizza Hut has a weekly lunch special (which is probably about 5.5 pounds now) for all-you-can-eat pizza, pasta, and salad. All are okay in quality (not terrible), but one positive thing is that you can load up on vegetables and fresh produce, which is not so easy to do for a cheap price otherwise.

Another poster mentioned this spot in London, and it's the cheapest lunch or dinner ever, at 3 pounds for all-you-can vegan Indian food. The quality was certainly acceptable, if not superb.
Vegetarian Bhelpuri House
92 Chapel Market
near the Angel tube station

The Camden Market area to Islington does have some other cheap places (I recall a cheap price at a vegan Thai place, but not any other details).

Of course just because you are eating cheaply doesn't mean you'll eat anything. There was someone hawking his Chinese food in Camden Market with a price of something like 2 pounds for a meal, and I heard people walking by say they had gotten food poisoning. I've also gotten food poisoning from a bad kebab.

Note that cheese is pretty cheap in supermarkets. I got a round of Brie for 1 pound - a deal which would be hard to equal anywhere.

You could also bring some cheap energy bars or some such food from home to tide you over.

If you are trying to save every last cent, it might be wise to look at the bus routes and consider the cost of a bus pass versus a TravelCard. However, I have to say that I tried this on my first trip to London and ended up getting a tube pass because it was so much more convenient.
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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 07:58 PM
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I should have given you this before:

http://tinyurl.com/zcshh

nessundorma is offline  
Old Apr 15th, 2006, 09:11 PM
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There is no reason to pay the Gatwick Express £14. Southern Trains will take you to Victoria for £9. Here's the link:

http://www.southernrailway.com/main.php?page_id=93
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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 09:34 PM
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Here are my cheapo guides to London transport and navigation:
http://tinyurl.com/pdjs7
http://tinyurl.com/nhjo9

And two for Paris:
http://tinyurl.com/c2tgo
http://tinyurl.com/qod2b
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Old Apr 16th, 2006, 03:29 AM
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If you like Indian food then go to the Indian YMCA hostel in Fitzroy Square for a meal. No dish costs more than 2.20 GBP, and if you eat the vegetarian option you can have a full meal for around 3-4 GBP. Very tasty and much more nourishing for you than a burger. And you won't have to buy a drink at the YMCA - jugs of water are on the tables.

www.indianymca.org

Close to Warren Street tube station, bus routes along Tottenham Court Road and Euston Road.

Another place I consider good value is Wagamama for huge bowls of Japanese noodles. Few of the dishes here cost more than 10 GBP, most seem to be around the 7-8 pound mark. There's one near Leicester Square, and other branches in London.

Have a great trip!
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Old Apr 16th, 2006, 04:35 AM
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There are shops like British Home Stores and Debenhams and probably many others that do An all day breakfast. You can usually get them in supermarket cafes too.
It's not cordon bleu, but is usually under a couple of quid if you don't have any extras and it's certainly filling.

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Old Apr 16th, 2006, 07:19 AM
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I also love Wagamama, but speaking of Asian, Chinatown is filled with some really cheap options -- filling and good. Drink the free house tea for further savings. Order a coke and you may double your total cost! And with the popularity of Wagamama, there are now a variety of similar, but cheaper Japanese style noodle houses springing up all over London.

You can do so much better foodwise and costwise by avoiding MacDonalds!
 
Old Apr 16th, 2006, 08:42 AM
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Out at Heathrow airport, MacD was an option. Breakfast for 2 was under £ 5 and 2 hamburger style meals were under £ 8, including a salad. This is not to say it's the best option in every place, but I give the information to assist with pricing.

When available I think Marks and Spencer, etc. offer more variety for comparable if not better prices. Cheers.
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Old Apr 17th, 2006, 02:38 PM
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You can purchase a travelcard/museum pass at https://www.ticketsto.com/frameset_l...m?categoryid=4.
Bakeries are another option for inexpensive meals. If I were you I would check out www.tripadvisor.com to see what others have to say about Pickwick Hostel; if you're concerned.
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Old Apr 17th, 2006, 02:50 PM
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Ticketsto... marks up the TfL Travelcards. There's no reason to buy them before you arrive.

Furthermore, as I said above, there is no reason to buy a Tube pass - and the daily Oyster cap on bus travel is £3 ($5.26).

Free museums:
British Museum
British Library
Tate Modern
National Gallery
Maritime Museum
Royal Observatory
Imperial War Museum
...the list goes on.
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Old Apr 17th, 2006, 03:28 PM
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terrence,

i think that some of these posts are a little misleading and from your second post, it is clear that you have been mislead. pizza express and ASK cost much more than mcds. wagamama is also considerably more. All three are also sit down places where you need to tip.

i would never recommend this to anyone except those on a bare bones budget but you may want to check out the jd wetherspoons pub chain. they have several locations in london (look them up on the web as each pub goes by a different name). they have very cheap food and many specials like 2 for 1 meals and rotating specials that should allow you to eat for about £5 with a pint of beer included (and no tipping). this puts it in the same price range as mcds or even cheaper when you consider a beer is included.

i also agree with neo's suggestion of chinatown. just walk around and see where all the chinese students are eating. this should cost about £6-8 for a meal...a bit more than mcds and you should tip in these places as well.

whatever you do, don't eat from the sausage stands that are positioned around london in the summer. they are vile and virtually unregulated...and you will most likely get sick.

clubs are very expensive in london. pubs are much cheaper. you can also find a byob restaurant to save money on drinking--most curry houses on brick lane are as well as kandoo on edgware road (an iranian place with excellent oven fired bread).
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 11:38 PM
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Thanks yall!

Wow I checked out the schedules for the southern rail train to gatwick and I'm definately going to roll with them instead of the other place. I didn't realize that there would be more than one train from Gatwick.

And thanks for the links for the cheap restaurants. I'm going to have to print that out and take it with me. I usually go to McDonalds here at home I can survive on $4 a day not including drink. So that's why I mentioned it. But it's good to know other options especially if it's about the same price range. So thanks agian.

Oh and I know about the free museums. Yes yes I will be taking full advantage. I may just do one site that I'll pay for the rest will be just museums and just experiencing the city. Not having a lot of money is going to force me to slow down and appreciate where I am instead of playing the most overpriced tourist traps in one day contest.

Oh by the way I read somewhere it may have been on here or somewhere else that the Tate Museum has a great view as an alternative to the London Eye as far as views are concerned.

The idea behind my budget is supposed to be not spending or doing more than I would during a weekend at home. Seeing and doing mostly free sites. Cause for the course of 3 weeks in 5 countries I'm going to be living on about $60 a day average. And I'm finding out it's not as easy as I thought it would be.

Does anyone know about how much the drinks cost? Probably what I'll do is drink a little before I leave the hotel but you gotta have something to sip on just a little.

I hate to talk money money money but it's important yall. I mean cause I don't want to be in a position where I'm running out of money during my trip and it's happened to me before thank God I was traveling before pay day. But that particular Thursday wasn't the funest.

For this trip pay day is at the very begginning and near the end of my trip. I've gotta go to summer school so I didn't have much choice with my dates. So my advice to yall is to try to plan your vacation where pay day falls right in the middle. Even if you have enough money saved up it helps to have a cushion.



Well I thank yall for all the advice.

Terrence
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