Trip to Uk

Ok, I have my finances under control. Thank you ynab.

Now I am going to the UK in October/November 2019. The tickets are brought without using credit, and now I am building up my spending money funds. I have $400 in that category already. No hotels, I will be staying with relatives but I will need hostess gifts.

My question is....how do I use YNAB when I am in the UK. The money will be sterling not dollars, and I need to keep an eye on what I spend so I don't fall back into credit cards at the end of the holiday. And how do I divvy it up? I have absolutely no idea what I will be spending on eating v visiting castles and Abbeys for example.

Is it possible to use YNAB for this or am I better off with a notebook and pencil?

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    • bevocat
    • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
    • bevocat
    • 1 yr ago
    • 2
    • Reported - view

    Could you do a temporary budget based in cash with the currency set to pounds, and the inflow for the starting balance set to how much money you get after you exchange your dollars?

    Like 2
  • I was going to suggest the same. Create a new budget called UK Holiday, fund it with your holiday spends.

    youll want all the usual stuff, food in, food out, transport, then add tickets for museums etc, souvenirs, whatever.

    As to likely costs, there are a few UK posters on here, I’m sure we’ll happily suggest typical prices for meals, coffee, petrol, train tickets, whatever.

    Where are you going? How long for? Are there any must-do things on your list?

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  • That sounds like an amazing trip! When we were in Guatemala this summer with my family, I just kept a list in my phone during the day of what I spent (in Quetzales, their currency) and then at the end of the day did a rough currency conversion of the total and entered it into my budget as a lump sum in the vacation category in US dollars. 

     

    Once I was home, I used a file to import the actual transactions and reconcile, but it gave me a rough idea of what we were spending each day. 

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  • Hello!


    Awesome - not sure about budget specific ideas but if you give me an idea of where you are going and what you are doing, I can certainly advise on prices for things :)

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  • Thank you, I like the idea of a complete new Budget, in sterling. I can wam things around then if my plans change. I hadn’t thought of setting up a new budget completely.

    i thought I would bring hostess gifts from here as much as possible. I thought maybe an NZ bag with NZ themed stuff in, (pens ,coasters, kid stuff if appropriate) and then  add a box of chocolates and wine in the UK.

    I will be based in North Yorkshire (Thirsk) for most of the month, with travel out from there. London....I don’t know what to do. I can get a train  and stay there for 3 or 4 days (have to be a hostel or something, no relatives there) but I’m more a hills and wild beach person than a city person. However I’m also a history buff, and those museums, and St Paul’s etc etc! What to do? 

    York will be within easy reach, and there seems to be heaps there. Is Yorvik worth a visit? Plus Durham, Fountains Abbey. Any more? A lot of my time will be spent with family of course, and I will be in the UK for 3 weeks and 2 days. I don’t want it to be a mad rush around the country, I’d rather stay local and really enjoy the area. What about Hadrians wall? I also need to trawl around the Internet for prices to these places.

    also I have another set of cousins in Devon with a warm invitation to stay there. It’s a long way from Yorkshire, is it worth traveling down? It will have to be by public transport. They live near Barnstaple.

    I will have access to a car and driver some of the time...a cousin who works part time and is happy to chauffeur me around. Sometimes I will have two (active) aunts in tow too. I am in my late 50’s the aunts are early 70s. 

    I don’t think I can do Devon and London?

    How much is a coffee and a muffin to grab on the go? And how much for a cafe lunch? 

    such fun planning all this!

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    • Alia Gee
    • Let me explain... No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
    • Pink_Keyboard
    • 1 yr ago
    • 2
    • Reported - view

    My husband's family is in Leeds (about an hour south of York). I think York is a great day (or two) trip (especially if you like history, J/ Yorvik is so much fun!). We walked along the medieval wall and I fell in love with a 500 year old wooden door.

    London is hard to get to from there, honestly. It's a long day with at least one awkward train transfer that I still have nightmares about. (I had 5 suitcases, a carseat and a toddler, and the train almost left with the kid and 3 suitcases on one side of the door, and me on the other) 

    We had friends we could stay with, there, or else I couldn't have afforded to visit it with my family. We only had 4 days and I wished we had two weeks. 

    We usually keep 20 pounds cash for small things, but most places we want to spend money take debit cards. I haven't been to the UK since we started YNAB, but i've been saving up for our next trip.

    The pound is usually worth around 1.5 US dollars, so as I buy things I just do a lot of mental arithmetic. One thing that makes shopping easier is taxes are built into the listed price. If the shirt is labeled "90 pence" on the rack, it will register as 90 pence at the till. So refreshing. 

    One other thing- while London is hard to get to, you can get a sleeper ferry to Amsterdam or even Denmark. If you have contacts who could drive you to a port, you can retrace the viking route in the other direction! :D

    Like 2
  • if you like hills and the outdoors then why not make your 'cultural city trip' in the other direction and go up to Edinburgh for a visit - which means you could have a look at the highlands too while you were there.

    I had a job in Leeds for 3 months and walked the North York Moors a lot - amazing place.

     

    Rail travel in the UK is often good value if you buy tickets in advance (use www.trainline.com) and travel outside of rush hour, but VERY expensive if you buy your ticket on the day. If you want to travel even cheaper there are good coach services (National Express) as well.

    You could fly up and down the country (for Devon use either Bristol or Exeter airports but of course you are adding money and stress to a fairly short trip.

     

    Going for coffee and a cake or sandwich would cost you about £4-5 in many places (but I spend most of my UK time in the South which is more expensive so someone might correct me). You can get lunch for about a fiver most places. Or take sandwiches - anywhere you go that's touristy you will see Brits eating packed lunches so you won't stand out. :)

     

    Unless there is something in London you would kill to see don't include it from a Yorkshire-based holiday - as others have said you will spend too much time traveling, not just on the way but when you get there too. The alternative to that is there are night trains from Scotland.

     

    On hostess gifts - your Yorkshire people will love stuff from NZ, almost anything. You'll be able to get them wine from the supermarket from £5 (cheap but fine) up to £10 (nice) and of course, as you know, the sky is the limit. I'd usually spend about £8 a bottle for a decent one that was a gift, and £5 if it was just for me. Chocolates are weirdly expensive, I don't know why.

    I hear York Railway Museum is *amazing* but I've never been :)

    Like 1
  • I have a friend from Oz who always brings Oz-themed tea towels as gifts when she travels. They're perfect gifts. There are some surprisingly classy ones, they're light and they don't take up much space in your bag.

    I'm originally from the NE of England (near Durham) and would agree that you have some great places up there for outdoorsy stuff - either into the dales or the moors. York is a fabulous city and there's plenty to keep you busy. Lots and lots of history. I've somehow never been to Yorvik but can agree that the York Railway Museum is brilliant (although it's been a long time since I was there).

    I'm going to disagree that train travel is difficult if you do want to fit London in, particularly if you can get friends to drop you in York. It's only around a 2 hour train journey and is doable cost wise if you book in advance. The cheapest seats tend to be released on the Thursday 12 weeks before travel. You may not be able to book them from outside the UK so worth asking what your friends to check prices for you too. I think the bigger question is how long are you in the UK for and where do you want your focus to be.

    If you like history, wild beaches and outdoorsy stuff then there's plenty to keep you busy up North. Vindolanda (on Hadrian's Wall) is a couple of hours drive from Thirsk but you could combine it with a drive up the Northumbrian coast and the amazing castles up there. It's one of my favourite days out. Beautiful coastline and Viking history. If you're a Harry Potter fan, then Durham and Alnwick Castle both feature (I'm not but I think the Quidditch scenes were outside Alnwick Castle).

    Durham is worth a day trip for the castle and cathedral* or could be a stop on the way to Newcastle. A trip to Whitby over the North Yorkshire moors. Into Wensleydale for the falls and the cheese. You're making me homesick.

    (PS, my answers are coloured by the fact that I love London (live there now) and, whisper it, really don't like Edinburgh very much. I know I'm in the minority, I know most people love it but every time bar one that I've been, I've had a pretty meh time.)

    *best cathedral in the country and I'll brook no argument on that one ;-)

    Like 1
      • lindsay_g
      • Beige_Banjo.3
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      monkeyhanger Aah, but in recent years Edinburgh has gone Harry Potter crazy so it’s a much better place to send fans. (Although we don’t actually know if Steel Blue Boat has any interest in Hogwarts!)

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      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 1 yr ago
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      lindsay_g Yes, but Edinburgh, meh.

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  • I'm UK based just outside London. I travel a few times each year and continue using my primary YNAB file in my home currency.

    When I make an electronic  payment (eg credit card meal) I record the transaction in YNAB and use an app (eg XE Currency Exchange app) to convert the value to the approximate cost in my home currency. I categorise according to what I need (eg UK holidays or restaurant) and put the local transaction value in the memo field. When the statement comes in I reconcile by adjusting the transaction value in YNAB to the statement value. It is normally pennies (cents) out.

    If I use hard currency I transfer the amount to a new YNAB account in my home currency and follow the same method above. That is, if I converted US$500 to £ at a currency exchange I would debit the source (US bank account) in US$ and credit a new YNAB account (called 'UK Currency) again for US$500 using the memo field to record how many £ sterling it was worth. From thereon it's the same process as above. What you'll end up with is how your 

    The above process keeps all my spending and data in a single file and I can see from categorising things how much I am roughly spending.

    However you do it have a great time in the UK. If this is a once in a lifetime trip .... do London. It has so much history and culture. There is cheap accommodation if you look around. You will need at least 4 full days though minimum. I can provide some options if you need on where to visit and stay as well. Places like St Albans are historic and 30 minutes away from Central London via mainline train. PM me.

    Like 3
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Sea Green Drill that's basically what I do too. I actually have 2 foreign currency accounts. Once called foreign currency that is for whatever country I'm in at the time and another for Euros because I transit through Europe a lot so I always seem to have some of those. Sometimes if I'm doing lots of cash stuff, I actually just record my transactions in Evernote and when I get a minute in the evening go through and do the conversion. If I'm on a business trip, it gets a little more elaborate because I get flat rate reimbursement for my meals & incidentals so I have to track the difference between what I am allowed to expense and what I actually spend so that I can calculate profit.

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      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Sea Green Drill Agreed. If it's once in a lifetime, I'd definitely do London and have several days there. 

      I follow pretty much the same process as you for managing foreign currency transactions in YNAB but I just choose an exchange rate at the start of the trip and stick to that unless it's a particularly volatile currency. I also use a Revolut account to get a great exchange rate but that's not much use to the OP. If it's a short trip, then I don't bother with a separate currency cash account and just record it as spent when I take the cash out. I charge all vacation spending to the same category anyway so unless it's a long trip, I prefer to relax my budgeting/categories etc a tad and just make sure I'm staying on budget overall.

      Like 1
  • Oh by the way, if you are a Harry Potter fan then The Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour is 5 miles from St Albans; about 40 minutes from London.

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  • I'm probably a little bias as I live in London but the city is absolutely beautiful and full of history. So many amazing museums and galleries and St Pauls (again bias since I go there every weekend) is STUNNING!

    Like 1
  • Thank you everyone for so many wonderful ideas! I’m going to have to extend my visit to a year! If only I could.....

    i think I am going to have a separate budget for the uk, and fund it in one go from my savings. Then just log my spending in sterling. The exchange rate is easy at 2:1

    And as for where to visit! Phew.....so many ideas, although one in particular caught my attention.....Whitby. Captain Cook stuff. I’m going to have to take a look at that. It seems there is a Cook museum on the North York moors somewhere, so I will have to take a look at that. York is very easily done from Thirsk according to my cousin, as a train runs regularly and it’s less than half an hour by train, so I will take a look at that railway museum, as well as Yorvik and the minster.

    And as for the rest, I can see I am going to spend some very happy winter evenings on the internet working out what I can fit in and what to miss.

    london v Edinburgh being a particularly interesting thought. And whilst I am aware of Harry Potter, and have read the books as far as 5, after which I simply didn’t care enough about them to carry on, I’m not sure I want to go on  Potter hunt when there is so much else to do.

    And tea towels in the hostess bags, what a great idea, there are lots of both classy and fun NZ themed ones here, and they are useful rather than clutter. As it will be winter over there when I go I thought about All Blacks beanies for the kids, or maybe just NZ beanies.....they may be big Lions supporters! 😂

    thank you again for taking the time to reply.

    Like 1
      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Steel Blue Boat I'm a huge rugby fan and I would always have appreciated All Blacks stuff.

      There's a Captain Cook Museum at Great Ayton (last went 35-40 years ago so that's worth checking!). There's also something in the outskirts of Middlesbrough but Great Ayton is far prettier.

      Like 1
  • Hiya.

    I am one-week post vacation to London and Bruges, and had a similar issue of what to do about the budgeting.

    Here is what i did: I started with a general April UK Vacation savings category for the trip to sock money away. Similar to you, most of the actual transport costs were already covered. I guesstimated i would need 1500 bucks, i ended up only being able to have $1100 in time for the trip (i only started ynab in february, so savings were not that successful before).  I was also gifted some Pounds and Euros for my birthday in March. In the end i had about $1250.

    Closer to the actual date of departure, i transferred all the amounts into in Category group i called UK TRIP (pinned at the top for easy access) and within it three categories: souvenirs ($300), Fun ($300), Food ($500). *in retrospect i would have added a Transport category for tube, train, the odd cab etc.

    Once on the trip, i used my credit card for almost everything. The birthday cash was used for small stuff which i didnt track. At the end of most days, when at 'home' and on a secure WIFI network, i would simply enter all the CC transactions into the app (on my phone) using the Canadian $$ amount that my bank estimated it would be once it cleared. These transactions were posted to my bank account usually on the same day and cleared within 3 or 4. They were never off by more than 10 cents.

    Most things fit within those three categories and if i found i needed more in one category than another it was easy enough to shift it around. 

    When i got home, i reconciled and paid the credit card right away.

    The only thing i forgot to budget for was the travel data roaming for my phone which is charged by the day. I only needed it on 5 or the 14 days. So i will deal with a slightly higher phone bill next month.

    I ended up with about 26 bucks left over which i rolled into my general "September Germany trip"...
    i love to travel ;)

    Happy Travels!

    Like 1
  • Also I LOVE london, been several times. BUT i skip all the tourist traps...there is so many other great things to see that are a little different and in my opinion way more interesting than the old standbys.

    A big MEH to Edinburgh, again it just felt like one giant tourist trap...with a castle. SO. MANY. TOURISTS!

    Several years ago i spent some time in Glasgow and much preferred it over Edinburgh. Lots to see, very walkable, fewer tourists and felt like it was REAL not so much geared only to the tourist and their almighty $$$ (I found Bruges to be this, sadly).

    Jeepers i sound like a broken record about the tourists... 🤣

    Also the Scottish Highlands are GORGEOUS!

    :)

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