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Trying to convince hubby that we can afford a 2 week trip to London despite the exchange rate!

Trying to convince hubby that we can afford a 2 week trip to London despite the exchange rate!

Dec 1st, 2004, 05:11 AM
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Compared to other European cities, London IS very expensive! I stopped buying souvenirs in the UK years ago. However, what about this compromise: since the dollar is not doing so well, and you have to be mindful of your expenses, why not make it a ten- or twelve-day trip instead of fourteen? Even knocking only one day off the end will help control the expenses. It's a thought.
Dec 1st, 2004, 05:21 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 978
Maybe your DH has already planned a trip which he is surprising you with at Christmas time...

Sometimes, there are things we just don't know. And, it's better if we don't fight or pressure too much. Remember, Santa Claus is watching!

Here's another angle...Have you thought of picking up a part-time job to build a vacation nest egg? Or cutting out something in your weekly budget to free up some extra cash? A money "diet" so to speak can really grow into a big pile over time!

SharonNRayMc is offline  
Dec 1st, 2004, 05:51 AM
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shortening the length of the vacation as suggested above will, of course, make it cheaper. however decreasing the duration also significantly decreases the overall value for money. there are better ways to save.
walkinaround is offline  
Dec 1st, 2004, 06:06 AM
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>...it's only two weeks and it should not deplete the kids college fund much.<

ira is offline  
Dec 1st, 2004, 06:11 AM
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OK. London IS expensive. Could it be more "comfortable" outside of London...York, Bath, the Cotswolds, Cornwall, etc.? Eat pretty well, sleep comfortably...get "around"?
SuzieC is offline  
Dec 1st, 2004, 06:33 AM
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I agree that shortening the trip is not the best way to save money - since the airfare doesn't change the overall value goes down if you shorten the trip. I also agree that London is more expensive than Paris or Italy, etc. BUT it is still a wonderful city and you CAN do it for a reasonable price depending on your requirements. I am going in March and if it weren't for the fact that I am going to visit someone I would be going somewhere else. But I've been there 3 times in the last few years.

Keep in mind that the museums are free. A tube pass on a weekly basis is not that expensive. You can do your own walking tours (there are tons of them published in guidebooks) for free that are very interesting. Prepackaged sandwiches in England are totally different that what you'd get in the US. They are so much better and available everywhere and make for a very cheap lunch. As far as accomodatiaons, it's difficult but I found a B&B for 39 pounds a night in central London that looks good (haven't stayed there yet so don't know for sure) and there's two in the suburbs that other fodorites love.

So think about the costs and the various options It really is doable.
isabel is online now  
Dec 1st, 2004, 06:50 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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I think my first concern would be whether worrying about costs is going to diminish his enjoyment of the trip. Not to mention yours...will you be stressed out by every "surprisingly large" breakfast bill? (Somehow things never seem to surprise us by costing LESS). I have sometimes made a mistake in my vacation planning by getting "stuck" on a certain itinerary without even realizing it.

Look at some of the less expensive options (Provence? Spain?). You may decide it's London or nothing. But he would probably appreciate the deference to his concerns.

JeanneB is offline  
Dec 1st, 2004, 09:07 AM
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London is expensive but it is not necessary to stay for two weeks. You can have a delightful time in London in 5 days and combine it with something less expensive. Perhaps a trip to the country or to Ireland or Scotland or, best of all to Paris and perhaps Normandy. You could do an open jaw flight for nearly the same as round trip. The dollar is not favorable right now but we haven't noticed that we spent a whole lot more on our most recent trip than on earlier ones.
mamc is offline  
Dec 1st, 2004, 09:31 AM
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The one good value item in London is the metro. We would get a family pass each day for only a few dollars. Breakfast was included at the hotel, and for lunch we usually just picked up a sandwich at a deli type place. ALso, most of the museums are free. DInner was pricey, and we ate at pretty low key places (pubs and Italian). I think the priceline approach is a great way to get a good deal on a hotel. We went in APril '04.
MFNYC is online now  
Dec 1st, 2004, 10:39 AM
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i agree that nobody is shocked when they get a bargain only when they get (as they perceive it) "ripped off".

nobody exists the national or tate galleries in disbelief that a worldclass museum can be free. or the british museum or the tate modern or the portrait museum or the imperial war museum. for the most part they are the best museums in london (and totally world class). i am aware that some of washington's world class museums are free but for the most part, looking for free museums in the US will land you in button or pencil museums.

nobody is shocked when they get a fresh hand pumped pint for the equivalent of $4 (tip included) when the same would cost $6 in the US (not not even be a real, imperial pint!).
walkinaround is offline  
Dec 1st, 2004, 10:57 AM
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walkinaround, actually I do have gratitude to the British taxpayer every time I visit one of those places, and I hope they are getting their money's worth by providing this by-donation admission. I can't comment on whether the beer or ale is a good deal.

We haven't heard back from praline. Although a trip to London can be made cheaper by following the tips above, for a family of four there are certain unmoveable costs, like airfare and lodging, even if these are obtained as cheaply as possible. If either spouse has doubts as to the financial feasibility of such a plan, I would take those very seriously.

One last possibility which works for some people - a home exchange.
WillTravel is offline  
Dec 1st, 2004, 11:11 AM
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I think those posters who are going on about how cheap Paris is are misleading people. They could be in for a nasty shock when they get there. I was in Paris a few months ago and it's not as cheap as people try to say it is. The Euro has raised prices all over Europe and I find eating in Paris can easily be as expensive as London. In both cities, if ya think its too expensive then it probably is and you're being ripped off. Make sure you do your homework and go armed with a list of cheap eateries and ways to save money. In Londres for example head to the nearest Marks and Spencer for a take out lunch...tasty sandwiches, salads and desserts...eat where the Londoners or Parisiens eat and you won't go far wrong. $150.00 for sandwiches and sodas? Only in some dodgy club in Soho darling....
lauralamb is offline  
Dec 1st, 2004, 11:27 AM
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My husband and mom went to London two years ago, pre-baby, and we kept costs down by walking a A LOT! We also found that there were tons of pre-fixe menus and they were easy to compare and shop around. Now, we didn't wine and dine in any establishment that would be considered "fine dining" but we were in London, eat, touring, having a good time. Yes, staying at the cheapest bed and breakfast that Virgin Vacations offered was not the best, but we were only in the room to take showers and sleep. The breakfasts were boring after the second or third day, boiled eggs, toast, coffee, cheese, a sweet roll, but paid for! We used to take extra eggs and cheese for the road and with the temperture being so cold, it kept cool in our backpacks and served as "emergency" food when we needed it. Now, a lot of people would not have endured or even thought of doing what we did, including my mother who went with us, but in the end we had a wonderful time. Yes, everyone knows going to London is expensive, but set your expectations from a budget that is realistic and possible for you and your family! Remember in Economics 101: there are wants and there are needs. Figure out what are your wants and needs and see if you can afford it.
bhpopek is offline  
Dec 1st, 2004, 11:41 AM
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$150 for sandwhiches?surprised by the $140 for breakfast.

Dont you people glance at the prices on the menu outside before you decide to eat at a joint?
what do you expect if you walk into a tourist trap?

read up on reviews and recommended places on this forum, do your homework before you leave and you could travel on ANY budget if seeing London is really that important. if what you want is two weeks away from work then go to Florida.

the exchange rate is a good an excuse for not travelling as the time difference between here and greenwich.if the pound gets weaker it will cost more for Londoners to import oil, sugar and tea etc,london staff will want pay increases etc. the cost will be passed on to the consumer.
got1tiel is offline  
Dec 1st, 2004, 12:06 PM
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It really is quite possible to eat in and around central London for prices that are comparable to San Francisco and New York without any difficulty.

Additionally, many pubs offer bargains on drinks and offer great pub grub at reasonable prices.

Many of our best museums are also now free of charge!
Walter_Walltotti is offline  
Dec 1st, 2004, 01:37 PM
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"It really is quite possible to eat in and around central London for prices that are comparable to San Francisco and New York without any difficulty."

Same price, same food - yes.

But quality-wise? I am much more satisfied with the quality of food, service and location for the same amount of money that I spend in SF and NYC than in London.
ezlivin is offline  
Dec 1st, 2004, 01:44 PM
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Yeah, I was a bit floored by the "$150 for sandwiches" as well. We have stayed in London several times, for good prices. Last time was at a small B&B in Chiswick for $30 a night per person. The place was about a block from the tube, and down the street from a great pub. We had dinner several nights at the pub (the Rat and the Parrot, I think), and had the best meals of our trip there. The average cost of dinner? $20 per person (including dessert!). FOr lots of good, tasty food -- my favorite was the Persian Lamb Casserole, that had cinnamon and tomatoes, topped off with a rum cake with hot cinnamon sauce for dessert!

We were not budgeting hard, but was perfectly able to do fine. Granted this was in 2000, but still -- we usually grabbed a picnic lunch at Hyde Park, made sandwiches while we watched all the peoples

If you do decide to go (I would never turn down a chance to visit the UK, it's my soul's home) then there are MANY ways to make the dollar count, no matter how weak it is!
GreenDragon is offline  
Dec 1st, 2004, 01:53 PM
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PS -- I'll double the suggestion about taking the second week somewhere cheaper. I found B&Bs on the Isle of Skye to be $15 per person -- in season, in August! It was a lovely place (and that's where I tried my first haggis!), and that area of Scotland is a great place to wander...
GreenDragon is offline  
Dec 1st, 2004, 01:53 PM
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Some things in London are very expensive - and some are totally free. For instance, in Paris or Rome you have to pay to visit almost any museum or gallery, but on London almost all of them are free.

For a 2 week trip, if you plan on 1 week in London and 1 week in the countryside you can do it on a budget.

To save money in London stay: 1) in an apartment, 2) use priceline, or 3) stay in an outlying B&B.

Then when you are out in the country stay in village B&Bs (they will be a fraction of any london accomodations and are one of the best travel bargains anywhere)

I travel on a fairly limited budget but manage very comfortable trips to the UK 2 or 3 times most years.

Yes - I have had £50+ (for 1) lunches or dinners - but I have also had MANY £5 pub or pret-a-manger lunches.
janis is offline  
Dec 1st, 2004, 02:07 PM
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GreenDragon, when were you in Skye? Unfancy B&B prices in rural Scotland are currently more in the £18-25 per person range, certainly not £8 ($15 US). Still a lot cheaper than London, though. But if you want London, I'm afraid Portree (or Broadford or wherever) doesn't quite have the same buzz.
KT is offline  

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