I bought a one way ticket to england for october and im not making any plans on how long to stay just going to be spontaneous. i was wondering how much money should i bring if my lodging and most of my food is already provided? also, can i use my atm card in europe from california? and if anybody has stories to tell id love to hear thanks!
Even with everything paid, I'd want at least £20 spending money a day in the UK and that is without treats or days out somewhere. Britain is quite expensive.
UK ATM machines accept visa, mastercard and all usual debit and credit cards. There may be fees charged by the bank and for using a foreign card so make a few big withdrawals rather than lots of small ones. Do be careful of your money as there are opportunistic criminals about.
You can always pop in a bank if there is any problem (open office hours Mon-Fri and Sat morning).
There are cheap flights and cheap holidays to sunny destinations from the UK if you get fed up with the lousy weather.
I like to use the Travelex Cash Passport when I travel for my monetary requirements. I'm not sure if it is available in the US but I am sure there are similar products around. Google It.
My only issue with using your normal bank account is what happens if you lose it? It would be a massive pain in the ass to get your card replaced and it could be a potentially trip threatening incident. I used the Travelex Cash Passport account and took my home bank card when I went to Europe for backup. I used my home bank card for online hostel bookings.
Also, make sure you tell your bank that you are going to Europe. This is vitally important as they may block the card if they see transactions being made in London.
I'd budget at £20 for general expenses in the UK. Around another £20 per night for accomodation in the most basic of establishments if you do end up staying somewhere. Things like the London Eye cost about £15, I think, so you can see how the budget easily goes out the window! London, however, has plenty of free attractions (e.g. museums various) as well.
As Cyberia says, there are cheap flights all over Europe from London. EasyJet operate out of London Gatwick which is around 40 minutes from the city from stations like London Victoria. RyanAir operate predominantly from London Stansted, which is a mission to get to and should really be called Cambridge Airport or something. If you're lucky you can get flights for about £25 to all sorts of places.
Train travel is pricey - bare that in mind. The prices are illogical as well. You can get really cheap tickets...sometimes...if you're lucky. Have a look on www.thetrainline.com for offers. National Express and MegaBus offer pretty cheap long distance coaches which are quite comfortable. National Express even have Wi Fi :-).
Enjoy your trip. Do bring waterproofs. It has rained the past two weeks!
london has a lot of things to do for free or for cheap. u can try to check out websites like these for some ideas:
also u can attend tv show recordings if u're into that sort of thing ... register your interest to get a ticket at: http://www.lostintv.com/ i attended a couple of sessions the last time i was in london, and had a great time.
about wifi/internet/mobile services... if u're gonna be in the uk for long, u should get a local prepaid sim card. i used O2, which was pretty good. good signal most places. u can get one free at any convenience store (like WH Smith, Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury etc) when you buy a reload card (minimum 10 pounds).
i used the 10 pounds a month plan. this gave me 300 free UK to UK text messages, 500mb of data, and the rest of the 10 pounds value stored in my card could be used for calls. u can also choose other types of plans, of course.
If you've got a laptop or iPad or anything like that, providing it has got WiFi/3G built in internet access won't be an issue, particularly in London but anywhere of significance. Coffee shop chains, e.g. Starbucks, have free internet access if you buy a drink.
Train travel is pricey - bare that in mind
London is a great place but don't stay too long as you'll miss a load of other great places. If you're under 25 you could probably do quite well out of a young person's rail card (head into a train station and ask) Cotsworlds are a nice place to visit if your into rural settings, Manchester, Liverpool and Edinburgh are great for parties