Worried About Dollar to Pound Conversion (London)
Replies: 46 - Last Post: Feb 25, 2013 5:05 AM Last Post By: mickyfinn
Dec 10, 2012 10:28 AM
Worried About Dollar to Pound Conversion (London)So after enlightening myself, I realized London does the pound and not the Euro. When I typed in my approximate discretionary spending amount into a Google currency converter, I was depressed to see that the dollar is hella weak and is worth about half what is it worth in America.
This scared me. I'm going on a study abroad excursion in T-minus 20 days to London (just for winter), and although housing, inter-country travel, and SOME meals are included, the bulk of my emergency, discretionary, and food spending relies on the $600 my mother is loaning me. I thought $600 would be more than enough, but alas, it seems not to be.
My question is, do you think 373.41 pounds is enough to live upon during 2 weeks in London???? I was really looking forward to being able to roam freely, and check out shops, and eat wherever...now it seems as though this is a pipe dream. Silly me for finding this out so late, but most of my money has gone to paying the program fee (in dollars) and for my flight.
Any advice or stories from people who successfully stayed on budget during their London times? I'm not above just eating McDonalds everyday =/
Also, another question. I know that the dollar is worth next to nothing over there and that seems to make things more expensive, but are items actually more expensive in London. If a burger in America was $7, would that same burger be the $7 equivalent, only in pounds? Or do I have to endure the exchange rate AND inflation? Just wondering.
Dec 10, 2012 10:33 AM
1You would do better going to supermarkets (superstores) and buying fresh food there. The cost of a Big Mac meal will be the same as a loaf of bread, packet of ham and some crisps and a carton of juice. Enought to last you in snacks for 3 days. Is that suggested £373.41 just for your food and drink? If yes, it will be easy to get by.
Dec 10, 2012 10:46 AM
Thanks for the response. Our trip planners and advisers never gave us a dollar amount for how much we'd need to eat in LDN. =/
I was just going by what felt right so the 373 figure ($600) is my own. I believe our accommodations are located near a Sainsbury (??? spelling). Is that a nice, cheap store?
I really didn't want to have ALL my money go to food. I wanted to be able to buy little things here and there and have an ease of transport (to check out places, maybe go to a bar or pub)...
Should I bring more $$$ in order to facilitate this?
Dec 10, 2012 10:57 AM
Dec 10, 2012 11:07 AM
4£370 is more than enough to survive on for 2 weeks in London, assuming most of your meals and accomodation are paid for.
If McDonalds is your cup of tea, they offer the Pound Saver menu...£1 for a burger or medium fries. If you want to stock up on cheap snacks, search out a branh of Pound Land or the 99p store...big savings over the normal supermarkets.
If you self cater in Sainsburys (reasonably cheap, somewhere in the middle) you should be able to get by on £50 a week easily.
There is loads of free stuff to do in London, as well as plenty of paid options. If you want to do London cheaply, then this is definately possible. Alcohol is reasonably priced (compared to say Paris or Scandinavia), although a night out pubbing/clubbing can easily reach £50-70.
For transport, depending on where you're going, either walk (London is a great city to walk around), or else get an Oyster Card for the train/tube/bus.
Avoid those horrible tourist shops around Oxford Street and Picadilly Circus selling poor quality and overpriced tat with Union Jacks on.
If you want to travel outside London, buy train/bus tickets in advance online with a card - this will save you a lot over the standard walk up fare. Also, remember to avoid the morning/afternoon rush hour peak time fares on the tube.
Dec 10, 2012 11:20 AM
Dec 10, 2012 11:37 AM
Thanks for the reply! Helped a lot.
It seems as though most meals aren't paid for. I checked the itinerary and there are some dinners that we get that are covered by the program fee I've paid (kinda like tuition). But it seems that breakfast and lunch are really on us. We also have vast stretches of free time that will needed to be filled up by some activity, which is why I was worried about having enough money to have fun!
Thanks for putting me at ease.
Thankfully, our Oyster cards are paid for, the trip to Stonehedge, and the Eurostar to Paris are also paid for. And our stay at the Hampden house is also covered. We were encouraged to stay later in Paris in order to travel and walk around (the original itinerary only has us spend one day in Paris so I elected to stay longer and be in Paris 3 days) so I also wanted to make sure I had enough left over $$$ for that. But the dollar to euro conversion is far more generous.
I was mainly concerned about my ability to eat and go out and have fun. It seems as though my $600 is enough and can be stretched out over 2 weeks. :D
Dec 10, 2012 12:00 PM
Dec 10, 2012 12:59 PM
8It seems to me that they come loaded and if they were ever to drop to 0, we could go to our trip leaders/advisers and they would use a University credit card to reload funds on them.
They made it seem like if we ever had to use our own money for the Oyster card, then we better keep some type of receipt for reimbursement.
Dec 10, 2012 1:04 PM
9Paris prices will kill your $$$$,,, BTW check out Sainsbury meal deal... New York deli sandwich, bag of crisps/ chips to you and a small bottle of fresh orange juice for £3.
Dec 10, 2012 1:27 PM
Really? I was thinking since the exchange rate is more favorable that staying in Paris would be cheaper...? Me and some pals found a hostel there that is only costing us the equivalent of $100 for 3 nights. Is food or something more expensive there??
Dec 10, 2012 1:32 PM
11If you have any cooking facilities then Sainsbury's will be your friend. Shop wisely and you will have plenty left for a few beers and a couple of cheap meals out. If there are lots of you staying in the same place it might be sensible (and fun) to get together and cook some large meals together, economies of scale and all that...
Dec 10, 2012 1:37 PM
12And Paris is not a cheap town, but again there are ways. Look out for Prix Fixe menus which are usually good value - mostly for lunch, but you can find some in the evenings too. Drinking out is a lot more expensive in Paris than London, but buying a few bottles of wine and hanging about in the hostel (if possible) would be cheaper.
I don't know if they still do it, but the Time Out guide to Paris used to have lots of vouchers in it, and I got several free drinks using those which saved about triple what the guide cost...
Dec 10, 2012 1:47 PM
Dec 10, 2012 2:13 PM
14Really? I was thinking since the exchange rate is more favorable that staying in Paris would be cheaper
I can't understand what makes you say that the exchange rate in Paris is more favourable. You are surely not saying that because you get more euros than pounds for a given number of dollars? It's what they buy that matters, not the number you get.
(0 star Hotel)
From US$44.03 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$130.37 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$142.16 per night