For the month of May were in in England. We spent approximately 3 weeks in Bath and 1 week in London. I am sure that you are eager to find out how we did, as England is a country known to be on the expensive side. Our grand total for 31 days was $2993.84 or $96.58 per day/$32.19 per person per day, which is actually a little under budget!
Sounds great, huh? Well there were a couple factors that helped us come in under budget. Without these factors, I am doubtful that we would have even come close to our goal of $100 per day. The first factor that really helped our budget was my parents staying with us for part of the time while we were in Bath. Besides having a wonderful time with my parents, they split the cost of lodging. The second factor, we did our first house sit at the end of May. So, we did not have to pay for our lodgings while in London.
However, some of our savings were definitely offset by the weak USD. Most prices in England are about what one would see in the US. For example a café latte would typically cost 2.50 GBP. But then when one factors in the horrible conversion rate, everything all of a sudden becomes a whole lot more expensive. Over the month, 1 GBP averaged $1.53 USD. That café latte now cost us around $3.83!
Our largest expenditure during the month of May was the cost of food. Our total cost for food was $1,103.99. We spent $822.45 for groceries and $281.54 for dining out. For us, dining out not only includes sitting down at a restaurant but such costs as the spur of the moment coke, café latte to go, and the ice cream cone while wandering around town.
During the month of May we celebrated my birthday and Mother’s day. Instead of presents for my birthday, I choose an activity that I have wanted to do for years now…to have afternoon tea. The three of us enjoyed a delicious assortment of scones, clotted cream, deserts, tea and champagne for Jason and I at the Pump Room. The price tag for afternoon tea… $93.60!!! I know, a very decadent expenditure, but what a great memory. I can now say I have had afternoon tea in England.
Our next largest expenditure was for our lodging, which was $996.00. Included in the cost of lodging is $34 spent on laundry. Unfortunately our Bath apartment did not have a washer. As I said before, my parents split the cost of lodging while in Bath and this is reflected in our total lodging costs. I must say that out of all the countries we have visited thus far finding an affordable short-term rental in England was the most difficult. Most of the places we were looking at were $2000+ USD a month.
Our total expenditure for transportation was $348.83. While my parents were in England, we decided to rent a car to see some of the sites outside of Bath. The total rental fee for a week was $74.20 and fuel spent was $113.18. The remainder of our transportation costs was for the train to London and local transportation. While in London, we bought an oyster card for the subway and bus. The oyster card had an upfront 5 GBP refundable deposit, which we got back at the end of our time in London. We then added money to the card as needed.
Our total expenditures for entrance fees were $262.06. One thing that I found disappointing about England was the cost of seeing some of the bigger known historical sites. At many of the historical sites in other countries admission for Sydney had been free or severely discounted. However in England, Sydney cost almost the same as an adult and the adult admission was expensive. For example, The Roman baths for the three of us cost $53.04 and the Tower of London was $70.02.
There are a couple of options to help save money when visiting the historical sites of England, which include the English Heritage Card and National Trust Card. Unfortunately for us, it just did not make financial sense to purchase either of these cards.
Once we made it to London my disappointment rapidly dissolved when I discovered how many amazing free museums are available in London including the Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, and the British Museum.
We spent a total of $135.96 on entertainment. We spent $95.40 for a show in London. We saw Spamalot and we all agreed (including Sydney) that it was well worth the money spent, as it was hilarious. Other expenditures under entertainment included movie rentals, swimming, bike rentals, and the fee for a library card.
Our total expenditures under the miscellaneous category were $131.32. The bulk of the miscellaneous cost was for more schoolbooks for Sydney and a hard drive to back up our computer.
We spent $15.68 in communication for postcards and a sim card.
- If you will be in London, purchase an oyster card even if you will be only taking the subway a couple of times. The oyster card cuts the single journey ticket cost in about half and credit can be applied as you go. There is an initial refundable deposit of 5 GBP. Don’t forget to get your deposit back before you leave London.
- London has a ton of amazing, free museums with great free activities for kids to do. Take advantage of these museums.
- If you are considering on seeing a show in London, look online for tickets. We tried multiple discount places on the streets, however we found cheaper tickets online. We took a risk and bought what are called “best available.” This meant that we did not know what seats we would get until we arrived. As it turned out, we got great seats.
- In looking over our costs, one easy way for anyone to save money is on food. By far, we are a family that really enjoys our food and are not surviving on ramen noodles! In my mind I justify our cost of food as a souvenir of travel. We do try to avoid eating out and some months we are more successful then others.
- If you will be in a place for a while, get a library card. It costs 2 GBP at the Bath Library and you do not need to be a citizen. The Bath Library has a great selection of books and movies for rent.
Thanks for taking the time to read our monthly budget. I hope this information is helpful to you in planning your own RTW adventure.
Wow! I’m from London, and I’m surprised how much you managed to do for that money! I guess the housesitting gig really helped out. It’s been so long since I lived in London, I didn’t realise the deposit on an Oyster card was now £5! Crazy! It used to be £3, which still seemed like a lot. The cost of transport in London is the thing I found the most difficult about living there; I used to use up about 10% of my income (earning just above minimum wage) just to get to work! Luckily for me, I was living with family, but for people who have to pay rent as well, I don’t know how they manage!
Wow! That is impressive – 10% of your income! But I can easily see that. We tried to limit using the tube/bus due to the cost. We were also lucky that our house sitting gig was in Central London so it was possible to walk to most things. I too I am not sure how people afford to live in London with the cost of rent!
I will be in London with my two children for a month this summer too. I am hoping to be able to stick to a $100/day budget not considering out rental. Thank you for all of your suggestions.
I hope that you have a fabulous visit! We really enjoyed London! Check out the websites of the Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert, and British Museum. They list tons of free classes and activities for both kids and adults.
Great post Kerri! I love the photo of the river in Bath along the Avon River. Is the a purpose for the terraced water?
Thanks! The purpose of the terrace is for flood control. You can’t see it in the picture but there is a gate to let out more water if necessary. How is Life in Oregon?
Oregon is HOT!
Brian Cronin says
Great post on your time in England – London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, so don’t feel too bad. Good to see that Sydney is having fun. Give her our regards.
Thanks Brian! Hope all is well with you and the family. Sydney is missing playing with the gang! How is life in Ireland? Is school out now?
Brian Cronin says
School is finished, I correct high school exams for the Irish Examinations Commission, so I’m busy with that. We seem to be having a summer in Ireland, so I’m getting a bit fed up being inside. Suzie and kids are in Hungary seeing her parents.
Oh too bad that you did not get to go to Hungary. Summer has definitely come to central Europe! Hope correcting exams is going well!