Credit Cards & Cash at Hand -- How much is enough?

My sisters & I are going to the UK & Ireland for a couple weeks at the end of May & beginning of June. We're going to London 3 days, York 1.5 days, Edinburgh 4 days, Dublin 3 days, then back to London the day before we return home. While determining how much cash each of us will carry on our trip, my older sis asked why she couldn't just carry her credit card & charge everything. One of my concerns is that some places don't accept credit cards (plus, I'm pretty old fashined -- I prefer to pay cash as opposed to pulling out the plastic all of the time). So I was wondering, would 250 GBP and 100 euro with our credit cards be OK? My older sis & I were in London for 3 days a couple years ago and we each had about 300 GBP & left w/a lot left over even though we paid cash for everything (except the Eye). We are traveling on a budget & we're pretty thrifty -- the places we're staying include breakfast & we'll be doing picnic lunches, we'll be ordering London travel cards before we leave, & most museums have free admissions. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Posted by Sarah
Altoona, PA
57 posts

I should probably specify that that is 250GBP and 100 euro carried by each of us (there are 3 of us).

Posted by Jeff
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
206 posts

I won't comment on the amount of cash you should carry because everyone spends differently. In early march, my family were in many of the places you mention and never had a problem using a credit card. In the end, you'll usually get a better exchange rate with credit over cash--see the Capital One Card discussions elsewhere on this board.

Posted by Karen
Colorado Springs
328 posts

I think your total is fine - we usually take a couple hundred dollars (and almost always bring it back home). There really isn't any need to get GBP before you get there. Use your ATM when you get to the airport. If your ATM doesn't work for some reason, or you can't use a credit card, you can always change a bit at the bank to get by. We generally use cash - we stay in small B&Bs or pensions and buy food from street vendors, so cash works better. We use our credit cards (only Capital One - the others charge conversion fees) for bigger meals, hotels and train tickets.

Posted by Tom
Newport Beach, CA, USA
756 posts

Sarah - your plan sounds good- I also Like to have some local money of my destination. I Like to have 200-300$ worth of the local and a spare $100US or $100EU note in the money belt just incase. Then in a day or 2 when needed go to a big bank ATM. I try to use the Credit Card for larger pruchases like nice restaurant/hotel bills and save the cash for small stuff too. So your plan sounds fine! Enjoy your trip!

Posted by JS
Bay Area
2365 posts

How will you pay for transport betw cities? Train is very expensive, national bus express is economical but of course takes alot more time and planning.Factor in these by checking their websites. otherwise follow what other posters have said.hope this helps.

Posted by Sierra
36 posts


We are traveling to London this summer too. I have the same question. As the London Eye is expensive, especially when there is more than 1, from your post I gather that they take credit cards at the ticket booth.

Please verify. Thanks

Posted by Sarah
Altoona, PA
57 posts

JS - We did find it less expensive to take National Express than the train between cites. (We already booked those.) Thanks.

Sierra - Yes, they do accept credit cards when buying tickets for the Eye.