The Cost of a Trip to London, Now That Brexit Has Weakened the British Pound

Jul 13, 2016

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It’s official: the British pound has become 2016’s worst performer against the US dollar. As a result of Brexit — which sounds more like a weird name for a Hollywood couple breakup rather than a historic nationalist referendum with serious global ramifications — the world is still struggling to figure out what this means for the UK, EU and other major global economies. While the aftershocks will surely be felt for years, the initial blow had markets plummeting and the British pound tumbling to historic lows against the dollar. No one is enjoying watching this slow motion car crash — but opportunists with dollars in their pockets can take advantage of the best exchange rate in decades.

Facing a 31 year low against the dollar, Brits may have to start singing "God Save the Pound."
Facing a 31-year low against the US dollar, Brits may have to start singing, “God Save the Pound.” Currency chart courtesy of

Let’s look at some expenses you might have during a long weekend in London — a round-trip flight in economy on British Airways, a four-night stay at The Great Northern Hotel, round-trip Black Cab taxi fare between Heathrow Airport (LHR) and the hotel and a ticket to see The Book of Mormon in London’s West End (because, why not?). Below, we’ve compared what these four activities cost today with what they would have cost previously, by pricing them out based on the exchange rates from past years — note that The Book of Mormon didn’t technically debut in London until 2013, but we’re including what the price would have been back then for comparison’s sake.

Expense Jan 2008 Jan 2010 Jan 2012 Jan 2015 Jan 2016 July 2016
Round-trip Airfare JFK-LHR  $1,276  $1,039  $1,008  $1,003  $952  $834
4 Nights at The Great Northern Hotel  $1,677  $1,365  $1,324  $1,318  $1,250  $1,096
Black Cab Taxi Rides (Airport-Hotel)  $396  $323  $313  $312  $296  $259
1 Ticket to see The Book of Mormon  $248  $202  $196  $195  $185  $162
Total  $3,597  $2,929  $2,841  $2,828  $2,683  $2,351

As you can see, the expenses (measured here in US dollars) from this trip have dropped significantly, costing you 12% less that it would have at the beginning of this year, 17% less than in January of 2012 and 35% less than in January of 2008.

Of course, there are other ways to cut costs — you could use the AARP discount when booking a British Airways flight, book with the Citi Prestige to take advantage of its 4th night free benefit at the Great Northern Hotel, buy a seven-day Travelcard tube pass ($42 per adult, $21 per child) instead of using Black Cabs to get around town or sit up in the nosebleeds at The Book of Mormon. But our main point is this: travel to the UK is cheaper that it has been in a long, long time. So if you’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to visit our friends across the pond, that time is now.

H/T: Bloomberg

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.


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