Budgeting Our Trip to England: All the Numbers!


Thanks for all your very nice comments on my last post. I always feel like a dork after making a post like that because it feels super whiny when in reality nothing all that dramatic is happening. I don't know why I feel like having sick kids would be so much easier if I stayed at home, and so I get extra angsty about working. But anyway, I think we are on the mend. Thankfully the kids don't have anything contagious, and I've been yelling at Jordan if he so much as touches anything in the house, so I'm hoping my superior immune system comes through for me once again and I don't get whatever he's got.

I wanted to get one final England trip post up before the end of the year, because I just don't feel like I should keep talking about this far into 2019. This is all about the budget, so if that doesn't interest you, keep on scrolling ;) 

When I posted my first trip recap on my blog Facebook page, someone commented and asked if I was going to write a post sharing our budget. I admit that I am super nosey and love it when bloggers post budget posts and include actual numbers, but some things are obviously personal and not for general internet consumption. That said, I asked Jordan if he would be okay with me writing a post sharing all the money details for the trip we took to England back in September, and he gave me the go-ahead. Honestly, we were both a bit surprised with the final numbers!

I won't keep you in suspense about the actual total, in case that's all you care about. When all was said and done, the total spent for both of us combined for everything including souvenirs, domestic and international plane flights, BritRail train tickets, Ubers and Underground transportation, lodging for 10 nights, food and travel for 11 days, tickets to events, and travel protection on some of the flights and lodging: $4,438.18

I am not at all saying that $4,450 is not a ton of money. It is. It's a lot, and we are so thankful to have been able to take this trip. That said, we were so excited about that total, and it's actually $850 less than we had saved for this trip!

We have been saving for the last 3+ years, putting money aside when we had it and letting it collect interest in our savings account (Capital One account, not at our bank! Gets amazing interest!). As we paid for things, we paid with our credit card and then transferred the money from our savings account to our checking account. Before we left for our trip, we had saved a total of $5,280, which came from the following: tax returns, monthly savings toward this trip, my freelance editing projects.

We definitely face palmed ourselves when we came home and discovered that we had so much left over from what we had saved. We could have not stressed quite as much about eating expensive meals and maybe paid to go inside a few more places. That said, there honestly isn't anything I regret not doing about our trip. I feel like we did and saw a lot and really didn't stress all that much about it. And now that money is deposited right back in our travel fund to start saving for our next trip, whenever and wherever that is!

Some people probably have Excel spreadsheets to track all their purchases and expenses, but I have a very official piece of notebook paper. ;) A list of expenses listed in USD is below! As you read through the list, please consider that this was our very first time taking a trip of this magnitude. I'm sure there are some things we did well and some areas we probably over spent or didn't use our money wisely. But we did our best with the information we had and feel pleased with how it all turned out!

421.92 // Southwest airlines flight from Dallas to Boston for 2
1,023.58 // Norwegian airlines flight from Boston to London Gatwick for 2
70 // travel protection for our Norwegian flight
6.44 // Expedia booking fee
427.95 // BritRail consecutive 5-day pass for 2
76.65 // Lyft rides in Boston and from the Dallas airport back to my parents' house
Oyster cards for the Underground for 2 (put I think either 15 or 20 pounds on each and paid for using cash, see "other")

201.66 // Hotel in Boston for 1 night (this was a splurge hotel to start off the trip! I tried hard to stay around $100/night for the rest of our lodging)
94.71 // Air Bnb in Boston for 1 night coming home
385.59 // London hotel for 3 nights + travel protection (I think it was around $24)
289.12 - 128.82 // Air BnB in London that we cancelled and only got part of our reservation fee back due to a dumb cancellation policy
188.80 // Air BnB in Liverpool for 2 nights
93.82 // Air BnB in York for 1 night
103.20 // Cambridge hotel + travel protection (I think it was around $7)

67.29 // Buckingham Palace tour tickets for 2
80.12 // Tour of Anfield Football Stadium in Liverpool for 2
103.34 // Big Bus Tour London (premium 2-day pass) tickets for 2

397 // USD we exchanged for Pounds, which we used mostly for food and souvenirs and 2 Oyster cards
145.62 // Boston Discover card (food, souvenirs, and getting into a few Freedom Trail things)
14.97 // Foreign transaction fee for using US credit cards (we knew we would get charged a fee, so it wasn't a shock and we aren't just dumb)

*Please note: the below amounts are only what we charged to a credit card. I didn't keep track of specifically what we paid for in cash, so the $397 listed above in "other" was also used mainly for food in all these places plus some souvenirs. We spent more than the below amounts in these places!

14.52 // Airport Chick-Fil-A ;)
153.91 // Liverpool (2 days)
37.12 // York (1.5 days)
169.67 // London (3 days)
145.62* //Boston (2 days) *see "other"
Cambridge* I have no idea why I don't have any totals for this! We ate dinner and breakfast and lunch, but we didn't pay to do anything else and just walked around, so I'm guessing this is folded into the "other" 397 cash.
A few notes: we exchanged $397 USD for Pounds at our local bank in the US. We had multiple people tell us that it wasn't necessary to exchange money ahead of time, but we just felt more comfortable having some in hand. That said, we didn't want to be carrying around a crazy amount of cash, so we just did a little and figured we could exchange more when we got over there.

Well, we never ended up getting more and so we only had about 300 pounds for the whole trip, which we mainly used for food and souvenirs. Our backpacks were so packed, and we were obviously carrying everything we brought, so that kept us from buying too many extra items. Any souvenir had to be light, flat, and not easily breakable, which limited our options. We ended up using our credit card a bit more than we planned, but our Citi card is a double cash card, so we earn 2% back on any purchase, and since it was a 3% foreign transaction fee, we figured we were really just paying a 1% fee and that isn't all that much when you think about it.

We ended up having about 18 pounds or so leftover, and since I didn't want to waste it, I spent our waiting time at the London airport wandering around spending our final cash. I think we came home with something like 56 pence. The airport is where I bought the most Europe stuff! (Side note: Jordan says that British brand KitKats do not taste like American KitKats. Also their mints taste different! lol)

You probably also noticed that we paid extra for travel protection on our international flights and our hotels. We have never paid for the travel protection before on any previous trip, but we booked everything over 6 months in advance, and with 2 small kids there just wasn't any way to know if we would have a medical emergency or some other reason we couldn't leave. I know some people feel like it's a waste of money, but we felt like paying an extra fee was worth it to be able to get refunded for these larger nonrefundable amounts. Thankfully, we didn't need it!

This was of course just an overview of this specific trip. If you are interested in more specifics about our budgeting strategy, you can find more posts on my Budgeting Page here. You might specifically like: 

Why We Budget
How We Budget for Travel
Budget Friendly Tips for Using a Credit Card

Any questions? Feel free to leave a comment and I'll reply in the comments section for everyone to see! Feel free to send me an email if it's something more personal :) 
Amie said...

I feel like you guys totally deserved this trip and did it on an amount that doesn't seem outrageous to me for that kind of trip. I would have thought it cost more. Love that you had money left too!!

Amanda said...

Thank you! We didn't feel like it was super outrageous either! We were expecting to spend $5,000-6,000. It doesn't seem as impossible to do it again some day!

Unknown said...

Looks like a great trip! I, too, enjoy reading these types of posts. I think they're helpful for planning ones we have on our wishlist for the future, so thank you!

Sarah said...

i'm nosy too so i like posts like this! but it's also helpful as i'm planning our anniversary trip for next summer. we'll be in the US but still helpful things to think about. our vacations are usually to see family or are with family, so we don't always have to pay for all the things (so nice!).

Audrey said...

I'm nosy about this stuff, too. That seems like a pretty great total for 11 days of travel- especially in the UK. I journal and keep very official ledgers, too. Lol. I really do journal and write down everything we purchase and how much, but only for my own interests in my journals :) It's nice to see other travelers do the same thing. LOL

Jen said...

You guys definitely earned this trip and being able to plan in advance definitely helps!

Rach said...

Posts like this were so helpful to me before our first big trip so I'm sure this will be really helpful for lots of people! Well done for saving up so diligently for this trip! Think you will do another one?

Jen F. said...

Thanks for sharing! Seeing specific budgets always get me excited to start saving for the next trip!

Rachel said...

I find budgeting for travel really interesting! The location impacts costs so much, and I know Europe is a relatively costly destination--I do hope to go to Paris one day with my sister....Angel does NOT want to go at all, which, in a way, would make my savings responsibility easier since it could just be for one person. ha!

Betsy said...

this is so, so impressive!