Written by Gary, photos by Gary and Yafei
In my book, 'A Life Redesigned' I spoke about the importance of budgeting your travel and taking what you learn about your spending and feeding that back into your financial planning. I also talked about spending via trackable means (credit cards) so this data can be readily downloaded and analyzed either in a spreadsheet or within a financial planning software package like Quicken.
Use Credit Cards Rather Than Cash So Your Spending Is Easily Tracked (picture courtesy of Burst)
Thus, when we decided to travel to the UK for ten weeks this presented the ideal opportunity to do just this. To put the presented financial data in context, we were a family of three traveling to visit relatives, undertake some sightseeing, and start our daughter's worldschooling adventure.
We stayed with friends on a couple of occasions, utilized Airbnb, and undertook four housesits. We visited Buckinghamshire, the West Country, South Wales, the Lake District, the New Forest, and London. For the first five destinations, we traveled by rental car and then spent twelve nights in London making use of the bus, tube, and trains to get around. The trip occurred between mid-May to the end of July 2019 and was a lot of fun but not without its challenges. We visited many scenic areas, stayed on a farm for a week, enjoyed numerous National Trust properties, and hit some of the main attractions in London.
One of the More Expensive London Attractions We Visited - The Coke Cola London Eye
Here's a breakdown of our expenses (derived by downloading our Citibank credit card data and manipulating this in an Excel spreadsheet):
- 71 nights away:
- 17 nights Airbnb - total cost $3105 or $182/night;
- 1-night hotel - $133/night;
- 36 nights housesitting;
- 17 nights staying with friends.
- 59 days of car rental from Hertz - total cost $1406 or $24/day;
- Gas - total cost $563 or $10/day for the time using rental car;
- Other transport in London (taxi/train/bus/tube) - total cost $246 or $21/day;
- Economy air flights with Virgin Atlantic - total cost $3012.
- Eating out - total cost $3083 or $43/day;
- Eating in - total cost $1728 or $24/day.
- Attractions: total cost $793 or $12/day;
- We basically withdrew approximately $1000 from ATMs and this all got used up! Equivalent to $14/day.
As you can see, our adventure cost us a little over fifteen thousand dollars, averaging approximately $213 per day. When I initially put these numbers together I was a little surprised at how high they were, particularly since we'd undertaken little lavish spending (for example, in London we decided not to go to the theater as tickets were going to cost around $500 and our daughter is just as happy going to the local rep). However, when I looked at the expenses in more detail. all the expenses were pretty much necessary except in a couple of areas:
- We definitely splurged on the beautiful Airbnb we stayed at in the New Forest as we were entertaining friends and saying 'thank you' for staying at their place earlier in the trip. Without this extra expenditure, Airbnb nightly cost would have dropped to around $135/night compared to $182/night;
- We ate out nearly every day in London due to the lack of air conditioning and the limited space around the kitchen table in our Airbnb apartment. I can tell you eating out in London is expensive, even in the suburbs.
Our Gorgeous Airbnb in the New Forest
If we had eaten in more and forgone the expensive Airbnb in the New Forest we probably could have saved about a thousand dollars bringing the cost of our adventure down to around $14k.
Bearing in mind we only paid for 18-nights of accommodation out of our 71-night stay, it's clear our expenses would have been considerably higher if we were paying for lodging every night. Say, we had used Airbnb exclusively at between $100 - 135 per night, accommodation alone would have come to seven to nine and a half thousand dollars.
One cost that was lower than expected was entrance fees for attractions. This was primarily because we bought a National Trust Family Membership and visited many of their historic properties. At £126 (~$170) for a year for a family, you only need to visit three or four properties before you are quids in. Also, in London, we visited many free attractions like the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Maritime Museum, Notting Hill Market, and a number of parks.
One of the Many National Trust Properties We Visited - Great Charfield Manor
We hope these financial figures help you with planning and budgeting your trip to England. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us via the tab at the bottom of this page.
If you've enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy others about this trip including:
- Pastures Green;
- Save Money Entering Historic Attractions in the UK;
- Ten Weeks in England - What Worked and What Didn't!
- Our Overseas Packing List.
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