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London Travel Cost – Our Budget Breakdown for a 4 Day Itinerary

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This comprehensive travel cost breakdown offers tips for exploring London’s iconic landmarks and vibrant culture without overspending.

Embark on a budget-friendly adventure through the vibrant streets of London with our comprehensive travel cost breakdown. From navigating the bustling city center to savoring iconic landmarks, we share insider tips and strategic spending tactics for making the most of your London getaway without breaking the bank. 

Join us as we uncover the optimal time to visit, preferred payment methods, and our personalized itinerary, ensuring a memorable experience while staying mindful of your budget.

We’ll cover our London travel cost, the best time to visit London, cash vs. credit card in London, and more!

london travel cost

As a quick note, we are not backpackers; we rarely stay in hostels and are very cautious with street food. We like to save money where possible, but we certainly spend it on what is important to us.

This does not represent your spending in London, even for the same period or season. This is merely an overview of what we spent, some of our budget tips, and explanations of the amounts spent.

This post is all about our London travel cost and how you can save money for your trip!

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Best Time to Visit London

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daily cost of trip to london

The optimal time to visit London, considering weather, cost, and crowds, is during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November). During these times, the weather is generally mild and pleasant, with fewer chances of rain compared to the winter months. Flight and accommodation prices tend to be more reasonable compared to the peak summer season, making it budget-friendly for travelers. Additionally, tourist attractions are less crowded, allowing visitors to explore London’s iconic landmarks and cultural sites with more ease and comfort. Overall, spring and autumn offer a perfect balance of favorable weather, affordability, and manageable crowds for an unforgettable London experience.

We personally visited during February since we found good flight deals. It was cold and rainy most days, but we definitely saw the sights with fewer people. Just don’t forget a travel umbrella… you will need it.

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Cash Vs. Credit Card in London

Using credit cards in London is widely accepted and often preferred over cash. Most establishments, including shops, restaurants, and transportation services, readily accept credit and debit cards, including contactless payments. We pulled out a small amount of cash for smaller purchases but only used it for tipping the bell service and housekeeping.

4-Day London Itinerary

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During our four-day stay in London, UK, we strategically stayed in the city center near Trafalgar Square, enabling us to explore numerous iconic attractions with minimal commuting. Our itinerary included witnessing the ceremonial changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, admiring the majestic Big Ben, exploring the historic Westminster Abbey, and indulging in many other noteworthy experiences.

Day Trips from London

If you want to see even more of the UK from your London hub, you can take several day trips. One of the most popular day trips from London is to see Stonehenge. It’s a two to three hour drive (or you can take the train!) and you can find a mix of bus tours and private tours to see the iconic landmark. You could also take a day trip via train to Bath, Canterbury, or Brighton.

Best Day trips from london

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London Travel Cost

Flights

Total: $472

We found a great price on flights with FareDrop! We even got to fly out of the much less busy Santa Ana Airport (SNA) instead of LAX. We were actually flying back from the holidays with family and had a ton of luggage, and that was all included in the price.

Entry Fees

Total: $0

There are no entry fees or visas required for US citizens traveling to the UK for less than 90 days. It was easy to get through immigration with just our passport and information about our stay. Be sure to double-check your entry requirements with iVisa before traveling.

Accommodations

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Total: $335

Average: $84 per night

We had an excellent location for our stay in London – The Trafalgar St. James. And this may be my oddest tip yet, but we booked a hotel under renovation for a steep discount. They were renovating some floors (including the lobby) during normal working hours Monday through Friday. It was LOUD. However, we only heard it one day right as we were leaving, and that was the point. We barely spend time in our rooms during the day since we are out exploring and the construction really didn’t affect us at all. Our room was already renovated and super clean and super cheap.

If you want to stay at a similar hotel – don’t forget to sign up for our favorite credit cards for international travel to earn free nights at hotels around the world!

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Food & Drink

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Total: $436

Average: $109 per day

Average: $55 per person per day

The prices of food and drink in London can vary widely depending on the type of establishment and location. In general, dining out in London can be relatively expensive compared to other cities, especially in central areas and popular tourist spots.

For a meal at a mid-range restaurant, expect to pay around £10-£20 for lunch and £20-£40 for dinner per person, excluding drinks. In more upscale restaurants, prices can range from £30 to well over £100 per person for a full meal with drinks.

You can even expect a quick bite, like a sausage roll, to cost around £8 per person.

Drinks prices also vary, with a pint of beer costing around £5-£7 in a pub, a glass of wine around £5-£10, and cocktails ranging from £8 to £15 or more in upscale bars.

It’s worth noting that prices can be higher in central London and tourist areas compared to more residential neighborhoods. Additionally, there are often lunch specials and happy hour deals that can offer better value for dining out in London.

Our most expensive meal was not even a meal, but a few glasses of wine and a cheese plate at Gordon’s Wine Bar for $70 USD. It was a really cool atmosphere with fantastic wine and sherry. 

Staying at a Hilton hotel and being Hilton Honors Diamond Members, we did get free breakfast each day of our stay, helping us to save a bit of money.

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Transportation

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Total: $96

Average: $24 per day

Public transportation is the way to go in London. Our largest expenses simply came from traveling to and from the airport. We took the train from the London Heathrow Airport (LHR) for $7 per person. And then we took a rideshare from the train station to our hotel. It was raining at the time so we really didn’t want to walk the half-mile with all our luggage. That cost us $9 with Uber. To get from Central London to Luton Airport (LTN), we took another cab to the bus station for $16 with Uber. And we took National Express to the LTN airport for $18 per person.

Once in London, expenses are low. To take the Tube, we paid a maximum of $10 per person per day, and that was with a ton of travel between restaurants and tourist destinations. You can use your contactless payment for public transit in London. Just be sure to use the same card each time so it will properly track your route and max you out!

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via train!

Excursions

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london trip cost

Total: $0

We decided since it was our first time in London, to see as much as possible (and eat a ton!). This meant taking the free route. So, we only visited free activities, like the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, or we viewed them from the outside, like Westminster Abbey or the London Eye

However, there were a ton of things we wanted to do. Next time, we’ll definitely look at seeing a musical. They sell out weeks in advance, so be sure to book ahead of time! We also would like to visit the Harry Potter Studios since we are big Harry Potter fans.

Top Activities in London

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SIM Card

Total: $10

We always opt for an e-sim now to make our travels infinitely easier. An e-sim with Airalo allows you to pre-pay and set up your data before you even land in the country. That means you can use a credit card, have data at the airport to call a cab or find directions, and top up whenever and wherever. The data package for the UK was only $10 for 3 GB of high-speed data for 30 days.

Purchase and download your e-sim before you even step foot in the country. Airalo allows you to have data when you land! 

Travel Insurance

Total: $10.05

We never leave for a trip without travel insurance. Our go-to travel insurance is SafetyWing. They cover potential accidents, cancellations, and even lost luggage. Plus, it takes seconds to sign up, starts at $10, and is customizable for the dates you are traveling.

For a weekend getaway or a long-term adventure, SafetyWing has you covered. They cover medical accidents, lost luggage, emergency response, and natural disasters. AND it’s affordable!

Personal

Total: $46

I can never help but do a little shopping while in a foreign country, and the UK was no exception. We purchased quite a few postcards and stickers to send back home and keep as souvenirs.

ATM Fees

Total: $0

It would have been $10 (yikes!), but our favorite travel debit card not only allows us to use any ATM without fees from the bank but also refunds us for any ATM fees the ATM charges us!

Total London Travel Cost

Total: $923

Average: $230 per day

Average: $115 per person per day

Total with Flights: $1,395

Since we opted for a slightly off-peak travel period and secured deals on flights, accommodations, and transportation, we spent an average of $230 per day, or $115 per person, during our four-day adventure. Our strategic choices, like booking a hotel under renovation for a discount and using free activities, allowed us to save money while visiting a more expensive country. Reflecting on our journey, London emerges as a destination that demands careful budgeting, particularly for dining and accommodations. However, with planning, you can navigate the city without sacrificing the essence of your travel experience.

- London Travel cost -

Our Total:

$923 for 2 people

Daily Total:

$230 per day for 2 people

Value for Money:

THIS POST WAS ALL ABOUT THE top long term travel insurance providers and everything you need to know about them!

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