We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

2nd opinion on how much cash to bring to London

Which London hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
21 posts
1 review
Save Topic
2nd opinion on how much cash to bring to London

Hello!

I will be in London for at least 10 days, starting this coming Monday.

I was thinking that I should bring about 500.00 US in cash and leave the rest of my pin money in the bank, in my separate travel account. I also will have my Credit Cards, in case something happens with my ATM card.

My husband is convinced I need to take 1000.00 and put the rest in the bank.

I have never really thought too much about it, so I am a bit curious as to what other people do.

I am also interested in which method would give me the most pounds for my bucks...

Kingston, Washington
Level Contributor
433 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: 2nd opinion on how much cash to bring to London

Hi Maude,

My wife and I had the same question last year. I went to a bank here and exchanged $1,000 USD and got a little less than £500. Our B&B only took £ (as did a number of other places we went while there...parking garages, meters, buses, taxis) so all of what we exchanged here was gone. We ended up having to hit the ATM three times for our stay in England. We also used our credit card. That was quite a few conversion charges we incurred over the course of a week.

If you're okay with paying a fee everytime you use your credit card or ATM, you should be okay. Otherwise I'd personally go with your husband's recommendation. Or perhaps buy traveler's chacks. Either way I think you'd run out of cash real early.

Oh...the fee for exchanging USD for GBP at the bank here before our trip was less than what we ended up paying our own bank for using our credit and ATM cards. Can't recall the exact figure but it was enough to make my wife agree to go with my recommendation for exchanging more cash here before we leave for Scotland in October.

Hope some of this helps.

Cheers,

John

Memphis, TN
Level Contributor
748 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: 2nd opinion on how much cash to bring to London

Experts here are unanimous - do NOT get travelers checks. Apparently they can be difficult to use in the UK.

As to cash, unless you plan on using taxis, you shouldn't need much. Cards are accepted almost everywhere. We learned from our first trip and took no cash with us. We hit an ATM for 50GBP at Heathrow, spent eight days, and had to spend the left over UK currency in the airport shops before departing.

Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
21 posts
1 review
Save Reply
3. Re: 2nd opinion on how much cash to bring to London

hello john! thanks for the input.

hi tony!

do you find it more economical, exchange fee wise, to use atms instead of exchanging cash?

Ridgewood, New...
Destination Expert
for Kiawah Island, Charleston
Level Contributor
8,624 posts
94 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: 2nd opinion on how much cash to bring to London

As always, carrying cash is dangerous. Also, we have done no worse on the exchange rate from ATM's in the UK than we would have done at our local bank. I haven't carried traveller's cheques in years because of frustrations in trying to use them.

I always take sufficient £'s to get me from Heathrow into my lodgings in London, with just enough left over for a minor emergency. On my first morning there, I scout for the local ATM's.

Redlands, California
Level Contributor
5,161 posts
46 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: 2nd opinion on how much cash to bring to London

As a rule you will get a better rate overall using your credit or debit card rather than exchanging cash. The only USD I bring stays tucked away in case of a global emergency and I've never needed it. There are ATMS (cashpoints) at the airports and everywhere else. Just make sure you have a 4 digit PIN and do tell your CC company and bank that you will be using the card abroad, or they may freeze it out of suspicion.

Believe me, the days of travellers' checks and cash exchanges are over--at least for smart travellers in Britain.

Kingston, Washington
Level Contributor
433 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: 2nd opinion on how much cash to bring to London

Maude, I think it depends on the charges your bank/credit card will levy against you. I understand the reasons for not carrying large amounts of cash and think they're absolutely spot on. As I have chosen the cash route for myself, I have a money belt to protect it from pick-pockets.

It may also be wise to check out the places you intend to visit (if, like me, you're a planner that knows what you'll be doing from day to day) to see if they accept credit cards. In my case, it was about 50/50 so I opted to save the trans. fees and used cash.

Cheers,

John

Santa Barbara...
Level Contributor
484 posts
1 review
Save Reply
7. Re: 2nd opinion on how much cash to bring to London

I would never carry $1,000.00 USD on me..as that is pretty much my entire cash budget for the trip..and once lost, cash cannot be replaced.

I am going to hit the ATM once I get there, get that days exchange rate on a small sum ($200.00 USD) and then hit it up as I need cash (which I do not think should be too often). I will not be so nervous carrying small sums of cash. We are taking 3 ATM cards (using only one, but if it gets de-magnitized then we have others linked to the same account). 2 Credit Cards and that is it.

The exchange rate my bank will charge me does not land up being a good deal for me if I was to exchange money before I get there.

PS-Check todays exchange rate..the dollar is getting stronger ..would be a shame to exchange USD today at your bank just for it to be even better (could be worse also) once you get there.

Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
3,530 posts
100 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: 2nd opinion on how much cash to bring to London

I would never carry that much cash to anyplace that I traveled, it would just make me extremely nervous to have that kind of cash on me. If you do carry a significant amount of cash, obviously you will want to carry it in several different places in case you lose your wallet or get pickpocketed or whatever other things can occur. I usually bring around $200US and I usually go home with $200US, just carry it for piece of mind.

USA
Level Contributor
6,981 posts
236 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: 2nd opinion on how much cash to bring to London

I have found no way to purchase pounds in the US for less than an ATM withdrawal would cost. I get my pounds from an ATM at Heathrow and take none with me from the US. I pay cash at pubs and a few other places. I would love for someone to find a bank or exchange bureau that charges less than 3% in the US. Price quotes I have received over the last year:

0% to 3% most credit cards for purchases (not cash from an ATM!)

0% to 3% most debit/ATM cards for international ATM’s + $0 to $5/transaction.

1% to 16.5% foreign exchange kiosks in foreign countries

5.5% Wells Fargo foreign currency or traveler’s checks + $8 delivery for most customers

7% AAA Visa TravelMoney Card (plus $4.97 activation, $2.00/international withdrawal,

other fees)

8% Travelex online for foreign currency or traveler’s checks (6% for AAA members), credit card purchases treated as cash advance; there may be other fees.

8.3% UK post office dollars to pounds

A cash advance foreign currency withdrawal with my credit card would cost 3% of the amount of the cash advance but not less than $10, plus 3% currency conversion, with interest at 22% APR.

Comparisons are against the interbank rate as posted on www.onada.com. A couple of great links for more info:

flyerguide.com/wiki/index.php/Credit/Debit/A…

www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/moneytip.htm

Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
21 posts
1 review
Save Reply
10. Re: 2nd opinion on how much cash to bring to London

Thank you all for your advice!

I am going wit 550 cash and the rest in the bank!

I will delve into all these useful links asap !