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Disappointment

It seems like I am doomed to failure. I have a flight scheduled to leave the US on November 28th, heading to London for 2 weeks. I had booked and paid the majority of my accommodation, with the agreement that the remaining 300 GBP would be paid on arrival. But yesterday I was fired from my job due to corporate restructuring, which had been in the works for the past month, ever since the company was taken over by a bigger one. Sufficed to say this has really put me in an awkward position. I have contacted the lady who owns the apartment I have booked to see if she can re-let the apartment for one or both of the two weeks, but she doesn't hold out much hope this close to my departure. She is willing to try though. A friend has offered me the use of her apartment while she herself is overseas, but she lives in Manchester, which is quite a hike from London and not easy for day trips. I worked out my finances and because of the employment situation over the past few months and having hours cut here and there I haven't had the chance to save much, what with paying the majority of my accommodation and my airfare. So anyway...I have one pay owing to me, which will give me enough to pay the balance of 300 GBP but it will only leave me 150.00 GBP to cover me for food for the two weeks. I already have an Oyster Card with 50.00 GBP on it to cover any train or bus trips and I am more than happy to just walk around and take in the sights, checking out anything that might have free admission, such as museums, galleries etc etc.
But what I am asking all you well seasoned travelers is...... is this do-able??? It's a self-catering apartment in Winchmore Hill, so I wouldn't be eating out...but I am not familiar with the cost of food at say Sainsbury's which I think is the nearest supermarket...so is it possible to live on 150.00 for food and any other expenses for 2 weeks???

Posted by
26374 posts

Within 2 miles of the Sainsburys you mention there are 3 Lidl stores. Smart shoppers can save loads of money there. Have a look at their website or use their app. Aldi is a similar store. Unfortunately there isn't near where you will be. Lidl is a place I go often. It is a discount food store from Germany which has really good food at great prices. You do have to look carefully but you can get warm pastry for £0.39, a bag of biscuits for nearly the same price, bread, crumpets, good well priced vegetables (look them over carefully), and cans of all sorts of things. They do decent meat at a good price, too. Unfortunately where you are staying is on a "red table" train line so the commuting costs will be higher than if you were on a "green table" line or the Underground. There are no green table train lines near where you will be. £50 won't cover it if you want to go into London each day for 2 weeks. Winchmore Hill is in Zone 4. Sights you will want to see will be in Zone 1. A Peak Time (Monday to Friday before 9:30 in, between 1630 and 1900 out) single journey will be £4.90. Off peak £3.70. Peak time price cap - unlimited trips all day in all zones 1-4 - £10.60, off peak cap £7.70. That means that that you can ride all buses and tubes in 1-4 all day for 30 pence. 1 day Travelcards are the same pices as the caps. A 7 day Travelcard good all day is £41.80 so that's a bargain if you will use it every day. ... more ...

Posted by
26374 posts

... con't ... If you could walk or take the bus over to Arnos Grove Underground the fares are cheaper. Zone 1 to 4 fares not on the train are £3.60 peak single, £2.60 off peak, £10.60 peak cap or Travelcard, £7.70 off peak, £41.80 the same price for the 7 day, same as on the train. So travel off peak, take the Tube instead of the train, or >> Get 7 Day Travelcard on your Oyster. You'll need a passport photo.

Posted by
1437 posts

I lost my job 3 days before leaving on vacation in the mid-90's. My boss decided that my two weeks vacation would conveniently serve as my "notice" time. Well, I cooked and froze, and left with a fair bit of prepared food, spread through our 3 suitcases. All I remember of that time was how creepy that boss was and how fun our vacation ended up being. The customs officer who saw the food was sympathetic when I told him why I was carrying food. At the end of the day, we would come back to our condo with a real meal to warm up. The stress I went through at the time is a very faded memory. I still pack some dry goods when we go for an extended stay. I always pack a small container of pesto and a couple of packs of seasoning mixes. I bring my own coffee, herb tea and sugar. To be clear: I only travel now with dry goods! A cooked chicken bought at the local grocery store (at destination) does go a long way ;-) I also pack ziplock bags - they are extremely useful! Sometimes for leftovers, nuts, fruits, etc.. Food bars (like Luna or Cliff bars) and dried fruit are also really handy. This really worked for me when I was in Russia last spring, where the food was expensive. One of the cheap foods I love in London is samosas, found almost everywhere in the smaller convenience shops. London is one of the cheapest places for sightseeing on the cheap, since the publicly-funded museums are free. Fortnum & Mason, like Harrod's, has some free nibbles tasting as well. Just don't get tempted to buy anything...

Posted by
1254 posts

Linzi That's a real shame! I's a difficult judgement to make without knowing what you are used to eating. I would find it fairly easy to do if you really are talking about food, toothpaste, etc but, if you are going to buy convenience foods, alcoholic drinks etc then it would be a problem. I was about to start listing some average prices at my local Saninsbury's but realised it was easier to let you look things up yourself! Sainsbury's have an online store and you can check the prices of what you think you will need http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/groceries/index.jsp?bmUID=1352304242684 I hope you can work something out. On the positive side we were once trapped in Athens for a week with next to nothing to live on. Walking around and taking in the city, rather than spending cash on sites and bars, started a love affair with the city that we continue twenty years later! Cheers Alan

Posted by
92 posts

Thanks Alan and I think along the same lines as yourself. I don't drink alcohol so basically it's just the essentials with regards to food. I'm hoping it all works out, but thanks for the information about Sainsbury's, which I will definitely check out in a few minutes. :) At least it will give me an idea of the prices I can expect.

Posted by
8293 posts

Linzi: It would mean you would have about US$17 per day for food so if you are exceedingly frugal you could probably just do it. Have porridge for breakfast, take a sandwich with you from the apartment for your lunch. Pasta for your supper or whatever is cheap at Sainsbury's each day. Make a big pot of vegetable soup for nourishment. It'll be pretty boring food but hopefully being in London may help you not notice that. By the way, bring what you can from home. Good luck.

Posted by
92 posts

Hi Norma,
Thanks for your suggestions. Those are good ideas and what I was thinking..lol. :) Bread and sandwich fillings aren't expensive so it would work out nicely. I think I will be too awed at being actually in London to think about food..lol :) But I will definitely take a few extras in my suitcase just in case I get a craving. :)

Posted by
1891 posts

Look on line and you can find many free things to do in London. Several museums are free and so are many churches. I think you can go to church service at St. Paul's and it is free but not sure. Also, check out Harrods, they have a food court and might have free samples, probably not enough for a meal but a nice treat. Agree with sandwiches, eggs should be cheap so good old egg salad, cans of tuna and there is always rice. Of course popcorn makes a nice snack. Wouldn't take much from home as you don't want to pay for a bag that is too heavy but if you can carry on some "food items", go for it. Sorry for loss of job but you seem to have positive attitude. Enjoy your trip, you can do it.

Posted by
92 posts

Thanks Gail and thank you everyone... I must admit I felt a little down for the first few hours, because I thought this meant I might have to cancel completely and end up losing everything I have paid so far, but I gave myself a good talking to and realized that this doesn't mean to say I can't go and have a good time. Just being there is reward enough ! :) Egg salad, yum :) There are lots of tasty things I can put together. :) I won't take too much because it would probably weigh too much, but just my favorite coffee so I can start the day right. :)
Am looking forward to this trip again :)

Posted by
964 posts

First of all- I'm so sorry your job is gone. But- don't give up the trip. I could (and do) live easily on less than £150 for food for 2 weeks. Most weeks I spend about £25, on the generous side. I cook everything from scratch.
And I live well! You can have some fun visiting different supermarkets- try Lidl and Aldi for lesser known products that are excellent quality. Sainsbury's, Tesco and Asda are the next 3 up, price-wise. There may be a local butcher, make him your friend and see what he has to offer. Stay out of Waitrose and Marks and Spencers- lovely food in those shops, but oh boy, you pay for it. Treat it as an adventure and a different sort of trip. Keep a diary- you never know, there might be a travel article in it that you can sell. Good luck!

Posted by
5757 posts

Your biggest cost is your travel time from Winchmore Hill into London. Loads to see and do for free in London. Go to St Paul's and Westminster Abbey's even songs so you don't have to pay admission. Each has a website to check times. Most of the museums are free, numerous galleries, all of their wonderful parks, market's such as Spitafield's, Camden Lock, the British Library, etc. Can easily walk to see the major sites. Save as much as you can by walking in central London so you don't have to top up the Oyster card often. Make some soups and stews which will last for days. There are also MANY inexpensive ethnic cafes and restaurants. Check out this link: http://www.timeout.com/london/feature/997/londons-best-cheap-eats
Plan accordingly. Keep your spirits up. Go and enjoy yourself!

Posted by
8293 posts

Linzi: I think that the Church of St. James Piccadilly still operates a café at noon time where you can get a bowl of soup and some bread for a cheap lunch if you are in the neighbourhood.

Posted by
92 posts

Thanks Claudia and Norma :) I am glad I love walking..lol and the best way to see the sights. Thanks for the tips and I will definitely check out the web sites for more tips and ideas. I'm still definitely looking forward to my trip and will worry about the job situation when I get back. I won't let that spoil my holiday ! Thanks to all the wonderful advice I've been getting I'm more confident now that with a bit of careful planning I can eat well and not break the bank..lol.

Posted by
11450 posts

First, sorry about your job, but I would take trip anyways, years from now it will still be a fond memory , and when we die most of us only regret the things we could have done and didn't... I would stock my suitcase with basics that I don't want to buy alot of ( like who wants a whole bag of sugar or salt just for a few weeks)so I would stuff my shoes with baggies with sugar, tea, salt. I would also bring a jar of peanut butter ( a jar of pb is a good emergency protien food, it will last the whole trip, and is filling and nutrious,, plus protien foods keep you full longer, and its yummy on hot toast!) A few pacakages of instant oatmeal and or dry soups( light and easy to pack) for snacks, and then you can just buy milk, bread, eggs, cheeses and a few treats... I bet you will manage fine. Also there are pacakages of instant rice (flavoured ones too)that can make a side dish to a peice of purchased meat or fish! As others have said, there are quite a few free museums , and some are HUGE so you can literally spend days doing some, I love the Victoria And Albert museum and would visit it twice, the Royal British Museum is massive, it could be a two day visit, and the Natural History Museum is a fun light day out. If you can sqeeze a few dollars together for a few paid sites I strongly suggest the Tower of London, its expensive , but if you are remotely into history its a must see( if not then well thats some money saved!) . Go and have fun, take as much food as you can, but of course buy some treats here and there,, you are on holiday no matter what!

Posted by
11450 posts

Also, important, pack some baggies so you can pack some lunches for days you are out all day, save money,, plus throw in some granola type bars into purse so less likely to pick up expensive street snacks cause you are starving!

Posted by
92 posts

Thanks Pat :) I must admit the customs people are going to be interested in seeing my suitcase full of little baggies of this and that..lol, but it's not a bad idea. So long as I don't over pack and get charged for excess baggage. I've been checking out Sainsbury's, which is the nearest supermarket to where I am staying and the prices aren't too bad. I mustn't have US prices in my head all the time..lol. You are so right...I want to be able to look back on this trip with happy memories and not have gone at all.
Thanks for the great advice :)

Posted by
356 posts

Poor you - bad timing! One tip for lunchtimes is that the supermarkets and Boots offer takeaway lunchtime meal deals for a set price. For example, in Boots you can get a sandwich or salad, a drink and a dessert (fruit, cakes, crisps) for £3.29.

Posted by
92 posts

Thanks Laura.... I'm so glad there are great people out there who have some great ideas and suggestions :)

Posted by
9363 posts

"the customs people are going to be interested in seeing my suitcase full of little baggies of this and that" Customs isn't going to care, nor will they probably even see it - it's usually just a walk through the "nothing to claim" door. Immigration (passport check) won't, either. There is nothing wrong with taking food in your checked bag. It's only when you want to take carryon only that you might run into some limitations. Peanut butter would have to be in a jar smaller than 3 oz., and would have to be in your 3-1-1 bag.

Posted by
267 posts

You can buy food cheaply at supermarkets just before closing time, particularly things which do not keep. I have not done this myself, but once when staying at a Youth Hostel in London, I met a man who said he regularly shopped at Waitrose just before closing time and was able to get bargains.

Posted by
1831 posts

I've given this thread a cursory glance and I don't see any mention of the 20% VAT on everything you buy. Linzi will be playing the economices of her trip pretty close to the chest and the VAT should be considered.

Posted by
1804 posts

While you are getting plenty of advice from UK & Canadian Helpliners about how to eat on the cheap, I was wondering if you looked into your situation with your local unemployment office about opening a claim & the weekly filing requirements, as well as how to decline your claim for the time you will be traveling overseas if you aren't able to conduct a valid work search while in London? In 1 part of your post, you mention you were fired, so maybe your former employer is contesting your ability to collect, but in another you mention it's due to corporate restructuring which sounds like they phased out your position and you got laid off. If it was me, I'd be checking with AZ Unemployment to find out if you can even access their website to file a weekly claim if you are not planning to bring your own laptop on this trip (hey, even Netflix blocks Americans from accessing their own accounts to watch a movie once they touch down in Europe) because you don't want the hassle of your claim being shut down while you are away, then having to fight to get them to open it back up when you return. As for the 75 GBP per week, it's a really tight budget. I'd skip the suggestion about cooking & packing meals in your suitcase because after 12+ hours in transit from AZ to your apartment outside of London, unless you are bringing a bunch of dry ice I would not trust that food to be edible. Stick to the pasta, peanut butter, tuna and granola bars. Buy fresh stuff at the local grocer. If you want to splurge & eat out at some point, buy lunch which is cheaper than dinner, get takeaway instead of sit down, & go ethnic so you can get big portions of something you can then split into 2 or 3 separate meals (Chinese/Thai, Indian, Greek, etc.). Ted is right, if you hit food halls just before close, they WILL discount stuff they are about to ditch because they can't sell it next day. Marks & Spencer being 1 example.

Posted by
4538 posts

There are laws in place to prevent bringing in certain types of food from outside of the EU, in particular no meat and dairy products or potatoes. The maximum weight on allowable products is 2kg plus certain fish products. If you do take any food, it may be advisable go through the red channel anyway - this way if you do have anything that is not allowable it is merely destroyed and you are not penalised further and not prevented from entering. The rules are at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/food-farm/food/personal-imports/rules/import-controls-faqs/ Don't think because there is no visible inspection that for example bags are not screened or checked by dogs behind the scenes selectively or en masse. As others have said, your budget will allow you to eat, maybe monotonously but healthily. The cash allowance to an unemployed single person in the UK per week is £71 btw.

Posted by
3901 posts

We went to Poundland when we stayed with my sis in Portsmouth - I couldn't get over the low cost of the food (compared to here in Nova Scotia, anyway)...I lost my job as well a few months before we were to go away, but nothing was going to stop me. Luckily, my husband has a good paying job, and I have been saving money 6 mos ahead to make sure my portion of the bills would be paid while we were gone...my husband and I eat on about $80 canadian dollars a week and we aren't starving...even 50GPB a week is about $80...unless you eat grand, you could prob spend maybe 30-40GPB a week for food (for one person) and still have 60-70GPB left for other expenses...just be frugal...you can do it! Good luck :)

Posted by
92 posts

Wow, there were so many responses when I woke up this morning..lol, so a big thank you to Nicole, Marco, Ralph, Keith, Ceidleh, Ted, Nancy, Diane and of course Nigel :) Firstly just a quick response to Ralph! I do understand the benefits of saving for a holiday, and without going into the full circumstances of my employment situation over the past 6 months, lets just say that this holiday was booked back in July and everything paid for by September, so all I had to do was get my spending money together which, if things had gone the right way, I would have had just over 1,000 GBP. But things didn't go that way! So I felt by your comment that it made it look like I waited until the last second to start saving.. which I didn't. Thanks Nigel for all your helpful knowledge of the Oyster Card, zones etc etc. I will definitely not be travelling during peak time ! :) To all you wonderful people who gave such awesome advice about supermarkets, which ones were best and eating out suggestions - thank you! I am pleased to say I'm not really a big eater, so taking snacks to nibble on as I walk is probably what I will end up doing and eating a larger meal when I get back to the apartment. I will enjoy shopping for food and seeing just how well I can do. :)
This will be a great trip and nothing is going to spoil it. :)

Posted by
2788 posts

Linzi, Sorry to hear of your situation. You have a great attitude to not let it get you down. Yes, it is possible to live on 150.00 for food and any other expenses for 2 weeks, but you will barely squeak by. I have been in the same situation, years ago, first trip to England. You have already gotten tons of great suggestions, so I would add, take a look at food stalls (Borough Market) and food carts/street venders for cheap sandwiches and crepes. Some stalls at Borough Market give free samples of cheese, bread, sausages; so just keep strolling around and eating samples for a free lunch.

Posted by
3580 posts

One of the best meals I ever had in London was a bowl of soup with a slice of bread in an Indian deli. It was a small, neighborhood shop with takeout and eat-in tables. Cost: 1.5 GBP. I could live for a couple of weeks on fresh bread, cheese, and fruit, and an occasional bowl of soup. Coffee can be a big expense in coffee shops. Make your own at your place. The instant coffee in England (bought in grocery store) is decent and drinkable. I just add milk and don't care if it's not the greatest coffee in the world. If your apartment is centrally located, go home for afternoon tea. You could even take your own tea bags from home. A package of digestive cookies doesn't cost much and will probably last a week or two. Some stores sell things like nuts and dried fruits in bulk. This can save money as a way to carry food for snacks. Take baggies with you from home. Sometimes the pasties sold fresh in pastie shops are inexpensive. One small pastie makes a full meal for me. There used to be a Chinese buffet in the Leicester Square area that charged 5 GBP for "all you can eat." If you are frugal most of the time, you should have money for a few "real" meals in a cafe or restaurant. "Any other expenses" could be anything. For me, that would mean a day-trip to Windsor by train and a visit to the castle. There are possible expenses involved with entrance to Westminster Abbey or St. Paul's. If you follow advice in the RS books, these places can be visited at no cost when visiting for worship services. There may be inexpensive bus fares to Windsor.

Posted by
11450 posts

Somebodies post just twigged an idea. If you like coffee or tea( both of which are super easy to bring from home) why not pack a small thermos( a good quality one can keep drinks hot all day) , you can fill it in the morning and use if for a hot drink break while you are out and about. My personal experience with London is its cold and damp, and a hot drink would be really nice with a sweet bun from a bakery in the middle of the day .

Posted by
80 posts

Linzi, Sorry about your change in circumstances but so glad you have a positive attitude and plan on enjoying your trip. I just came across a website of a man who was in similar circumstances and made traveling on the cheap and/or free into a blog as well as a lifestyle (packabagandgo.com.) Who knows maybe your situation will inspire a life change for you as well. Enjoy your trip. I hope to return to London in April of 2013, it's been since 2007 since I've been there and can't wait to return. Happy travels and memmories-Pam

Posted by
92 posts

Thanks Pat, I will definitely check out the web site you mentioned, because all ideas are gratefully received and who knows I might write my own blog about it when I get back..lol :) Thanks also to Pam for the thermos idea. Not a bad idea at all. I do love my tea and coffee and thanks to Poundland (which is rapidly becoming my new best friend...lol) I can get a box of tea bags for....you guessed it...a pound :) Plus I plan on bringing some of my favorite coffee. I exchanged my currency yesterday and am glad that I ended up with 480 GBP, 300 of which goes to pay the balance on my apartment rental, but at least I am left with 180 GBP instead of the 150 GBP I original thought, so I am 30 GBP better off. Thank you all for the best wishes. I'm going to turn the shopping into as much of an adventure as the holiday itself and I can go, happily knowing that I'm going to have a great time and not let the lack of funds spoil anything. It will only spoil my holiday if I let it. :) I'm going to go back to the Oyster Card web site just to refresh my memory, so that I have notes on exactly how much each trip is going to cost to and from London, peak times so that I can co-ordinate my outings to be during off peak rather than peak. I definitely have the time to make sure I look up everything I need to know before I go. :)
London here I come !!! :)

Posted by
11613 posts

Linzi, it sounds like you are making a success of a bad situation, good for you! On my first solo trip to Europe I flew standby and didn't realize that returning standby functioned differently - end of story I had about 10 GBP for three days in London, after paying for the B&B! Thank goodness for English breakfasts and free museums. I came back with about 10 pence leftover. It was a lesson, but your post brought back great memories of those three days.

Posted by
1891 posts

You can also check on the royal schedule if you are interested in seeing them. It will show you where they will be in London. We got lucky about five or more years ago as we exited the tube after Queen had opened Parliament that day and they drove by and saw her and the prince. They didn't invite us for tea but did wave at us. Was awesome just by chance to be in the right place at right time. So glad things are working out. Please let us know when you get back. Cheers.

Posted by
964 posts

I just wanted to add (and sorry if someone has already mentioned thses things) If you're shopping at Lidl, Aldi, or Marks and Spencers food hall, take a bag with you as they charge for bags. Other shops, they're free. Local libraries have a selection of daily newspapers to read for free, and also some magazines (but you can't take them away). If you're out and about and hungry, a chain called Greggs is on just about every high street, and they have tasty hot pasties for about £1. There's a newspaper called 'i' that sells for 20p, much cheaper than any of the other dailies.
Have a good time!

Posted by
4538 posts

Also in London there are free papers distributed both morning and evening, particularly around underground stations. Hard at times to beat off the people wanting to give you a copy ...

Posted by
92 posts

hanks to Zoe, Gail, Maggie and Marco :) I was going to ask about using bags at the supermarket, so thanks for letting me know that some places will charge. I'll make sure I have a bag or two in my suitcase just in case, or else go somewhere that doesn't charge and then use THAT bag if I end up going somewhere that does..lol. It makes me feel like a girl scout - always prepared..lol. Good to know about the papers. Do they do that all day or just during peak times? In order to save a few pounds I've decided to take Nigel's advice and travel 'off peak', which if I read correctly is after 9.30am and before 4.30pm. That is good for multiple reasons. One is I can avoid the larger crowds of people trying to get to work and two is I can get quite a lot done during those hours and then be heading back to the warmth and comfort of my apartment before it gets dark and avoiding all the tired workers heading home. Everyone will have had a busy day at work and they're undoubtedly tired, so the last thing they need is a tourist getting in the way..lol :)
I'm definitely going to check the royal schedule just in case. I saw the Queen once when she went to Australia and I was about 8 or so and I remember she and Prince Phillip driving past and waving at us. :) All great suggestions so thanks again to everyone who has offered such good advice :)

Posted by
26374 posts

Be careful about the off-peak and check locally when you arrive. The Underground and Oyster off-peaks are different than some train company off-peaks. For example, there isn't a fare penalty on the Underground in the afternoon but most train stations enforce an afternoon peak of 4:30pm to 7pm, after which in the evening you can travel again. Check, check, and re-check. If you have any string bags we find they take up very little space, can fit lots in, and don't tear like the plastic ones. Best of all they are almost weightless.

Posted by
26374 posts

Free papers: AM City goes on the stations before the morning rush starts and will be gone by 8am or so. It has pretty much only City and business news and isn't everywhere. Metro goes into the racks near stations of all sorts and is a very good national general newspaper. It goes out about 3:30 or 4:00am at virtually all stations and many bus stops. Completely free. All will be gone in most places by 8 am and the rest before 10. Evening Standard (the Standard) is a very excellent (but many hate it)completely free, very London oriented, afternoon paper, hitting central London stations around 3pm and gone by 7 or 8 pm depending on the day of the week. All are M-F only.

Posted by
3901 posts

BTW - let us know how this turns out for you! Good(fingers crossed) or bad. :) Some other budget travellers could really benefit from you experience and tips..

Posted by
696 posts

Linzi:
Unfortunate circumstances for certain, but like the others posts above; I agree you should definitely go for the trip. My wife and I travel on a very frugal budgetnot as frugal as yours but frugal nonetheless. We use local groceries/markets for breakfast and dinner (sandwich/soup/salad). We figured weren't in London to eat, but to see and experience the visit. The suggestion that you pack a lunch for some days is a fine ideaparticularly with some peanut butter included. A PB sandwich and a couple apples go a long way. One of the posts mentioned Camden Lock; the ethnic food available there is almost endless, not expensive and would be a real treat (http://www.camdenlock.net). You might even want to take a 6-pack or box of powder for Protein Drinks/Shakes in your luggage. Wouldn't be too heavy and would have about as much nutrition as anything oz.-for-oz. Cornish Pasties are available at most bakeries; low cost and yummy. The post concerning going to groceries (and bakeries) just before closing is a good idea. Doubt you'll find anything free at Harrods but it is worth a try. Another great freebie is the lunchtime music at St. Martin-in-the-Fields (http://www.smitf.org). Finally, whenever you do purchase food, ask the person where he'd/she'd suggest you go if they were in your circumstanceswho knows what the answer might be? Do a little research on what raw foods/canned (precooked) have the largest nutrition value. Take a can-opener.

Posted by
1891 posts

FYI, check travel partners on this site, saw someone recently who will be in London same time as you, never done that but maybe can meet for a cup of tea, just a thought.

Posted by
977 posts

I can't remember what the UK Quarantine guidelines are re food. When completing your immigration card on the plane before arriving in Australia one of the questions relates to Food and food products. They are extremely strict. Perhaps someone who has travelled to the UK in the last few weeks can advise you re the food situation.

Posted by
4538 posts

Judy - you probably missed my post earlier up in this long thread which gave advice on the law and practice food imports into the UK. Personally I wouldn't bother with doing it.

Posted by
964 posts

I'm having a chuckle here- I'd just like to mention that there are shops in london that sell - food! Peanut butter, protien shakes and granola bars, etc- they're all here. Trust me on this, lol!
Buy it here, eat it here, leave the empties behind. It's no more expensive than in the US. Otherwise you'll risk showing up with your knuckles dragging on the floor after lugging a whole suitcase of the stuff. And that's not a pretty look!

Posted by
92 posts

Thanks to Maggie for giving me a chuckle..lol. they sell food in the UK? Wow, go figure :D I too don't like the knuckle dragging look, so apart from my favorite coffee (which they don't sell in the UK) and maybe my Sweet N Low (which I'm not sure if they sell there), I'll be budget shopping at Poundland..lol, and not loading down my suitcase with food. I've read enough posts and travelled enough to know that there are strict customs restrictions as to what can be brought in. But thanks to everyone who has posted so far...I've gained some helpful knowledge and a few tips and tricks to make sure this holiday is not going to be a failure. :)

Posted by
1891 posts

I feel like one of your mothers here but you absolutely need to post your trip responses on this site when you get back, promise?

Posted by
92 posts

Thanks Gail :). Don't worry, I've decided to keep a daily journal of what I see and eat while I'm there. :). Then I will find some way to blog about it so that others can see it IS possible to visit London on a shoestring and see lots and eat well. :)
I will keep you posted :) Promise!!!

Posted by
1280 posts

Linzi - I haven't offered any advice but would love to read about your experience. Safe travels and have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
11450 posts

Yes I agree they sell food in Uk, but some of us might not want to buy a 100 bag box of teabags if we know we only need 10, which we can bring from home, same with 5 lb sacks of sugar, etc. For the worry warts, most packaged prepared foods are fine to bring in, just no meats, fresh veggies or fruits. Since no one is suggesting she pack weiners, potatoes and bananas, but rather a few dry staple type items, I think we can put the fear to rest. I should add there are some exceptions, you may bring in tinned fish( tuna etc) and you may bring in tinned cooked veggies, but , frankly who would be crazy enough to do that, they weigh a ton and only cost like 50 cents! Personally I only like Tetley Tea and have packed it all over the world, and when my kids were young I packed granola bars, and instant oatmeals too. Never had a problem. The RS tour I took a few years ago had a child on it with severe allergies to peanuts and other tree nuts.. Her mom literally packed an entire 20 inch bag with food for her daughter, cookies, granola bars, candy bars etc. They all were certified not only peanut free, but certified that they were made in peanut free facilities.
Her dd couldn't indulge in all the treats we take for granted ( no gelato from the gelato stands even, possible cross contaimination from the gelato scoop being in a nut ice cream etc) Same with cookies and cakes, so mom packed a bag full of stuff for daughter. We also had some a family with a Celiac mom, she packed rice cakes, and all sorts of gluten free food, yes , its available in Europe she just didn't want to waste time finding it and dealing with language issues). So bringing food is not as hard as you think as long as you avoid the definate no nos..

Posted by
227 posts

Linzi - sorry if it as been mentioned before but McDonald's has free WIFI and a girl I met on our trip the past 3 weeks told me you don't have to even buy something....also free restrooms!

Posted by
9363 posts

Colleen, that depends on where you are. Some McDonald's do require a purchase for internet and/or for restrooms. You sometimes need a code from your receipt.

Posted by
1891 posts

Nancy is correct, don't remember which country we were in but the McDonald's did not let you use bathroom free, needed a receipt. We here in US are used to having free restrooms, not so in many places in Europe.

Posted by
11450 posts

Since some of the best and biggest museums are free to get in, they are a good option for a free bathroom break!

Posted by
92 posts

Thanks to everyone for the continued great advice. The apartment that I am renting for the 2 weeks has free WiFi so that is one less thing for me to think about, but thanks for the suggestions about McDonalds. :) Always helpful to know where you can use the bathroom when you need to. :) Only 4 more days to go so I think I'm as ready as I'm going to be..lol.