Saturday, May 21, 2016

Some economic thoughts on London

I'm in London right now.  I've been here for about a week leading a study-abroad trip.  It's been great overall, although unfortunately one student has been quite ill.  (She is getting better, thankfully.)

Some thoughts about London (and beyond London):

* Differences in the exchange rate makes a big difference to London's affordability.  The rate now is about 1.45 dollars/pound vs. 1.60 when I spent four months here in 2012.  But that means everything is about 10% cheaper.  Mentally it seems like London is much more affordable.

* London is expensive, but it only seems more expensive than central Pennsylvania for three reasons: housing is expensive, food at restaurants is expensive, and drinks at restaurants are expensive.  Entertainment, tours, clothing, etc. seem no more expensive than the states.

* West End theatre tickets are less expensive than Broadway.  And it isn't close.  For the cheapest ticket to Funny Girl - I paid 25 pounds.  That converts to about $36.  To compare - I bought a cheap ticket to a musical for June in New York called Waitress - that ticket was about $70.

* The tube is fantastic.  Public transportation only makes sense with a critical mass of people - but it is awesome when you have that.  It is just so convenient.  I recall hearing that the London transportation system (buses, tube, etc.) loses money.  But that's actually OK, as they would have spent some money on roads anyway without this system.

* Cambridge is a lovely city, and punting is fun!

Some pictures

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