A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Shanghai vs. London for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Shanghai or London?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Shanghai and London. We’ll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget. So, let's dig into it.

Shanghai

Shanghai is the largest and most modern city in China. With a population of over 23 million, it is the economic and financial hub of the country. It also continues to be one of the fastest growing cities in China with regular changes to the city's layout and skyline. It is not uncommon for buildings to be torn down, rebuilt and then torn down and rebuilt again. The city also has skyscrapers that rank among the tallest in the world. It has an ever changing downtown and street scape. In Shanghai, the general mantra remains "out with the old, in with the new".

London

The capital of the United Kingdom is a thriving multicultural metropolis. Steeped in iconic landmarks, world-class museums and royal parks, London is energetic, majestic, ambitious and one of the world's greatest cities. London is a cultural and fashion capital, a great place to go out, an amazing place to eat and one of those cities that is constantly changing with new and exciting things sprouting up almost every day. History and tradition greet you at every turn in the UK's capital. London is also a city with an edgy underbelly, delighting in neon pink dive bars, cheeky graffiti and mind-blowing street food. When you need a break from the action, pop into a pub or relax in one of the city's many parks. Blow through the city on a double-decker bus, and take a pinch-me-I'm-in-London walk through the West End. As one of the most visited cities in the world, London is busy, vibrant and very tourist friendly. The only problem with London is that it's very expensive; it can eat away at your budget if you aren't careful. Luckily, there are also tons of free or cheap things to do in London that can fill your time.

Which city is cheaper, London or Shanghai?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Shanghai is $103, while the average daily cost in London is $201. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Shanghai and London in more detail.



Accommodation

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $146 for a double occupancy room in Shanghai.

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $252 in London For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Shanghai $73
    London $126
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Shanghai $146
    London $252

Food

The average traveler spends about $19 per day in Shanghai for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.

Food in London costs travelers about $40 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Shanghai $19
    London $40
Typical Food prices in Shanghai

Some typical examples of dining costs in Shanghai are as follows:


  • Dumpling Breakfast
    $1.55
  • Desserts in Jinmao Building Observatory
    $23
  • Ajisen Lunch for Two
    $8.07
  • Cantelope
    $1.86
  • Dumplings and Soup
    $2.33
  • Duck Dinner
    $4.66
  • Pastries
    $3.26
  • Barbeque Dinner
    $9.93

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Shanghai

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Shanghai.

  • Online Chinese Cooking Class: $22
  • Chengdu Private Food Tour (With Visit to Kuanzhai Alley and Hotpot Experience): $32
  • Old Shanghai Breakfast Food Tour: $52
  • Cooking Class of Dumplings and Chinese Buns: $56
  • 3-Hour Shanghai Summer Night Local Dinner and Shopping Private Tour: $65
  • Private Chinese Cooking Class in Shanghai with Vegetarian Option: $69
  • Private Authentic Chinese Cooking Class in Shanghai with a Lovely Local: $70
  • 3-Hour Shanghai City Walking Tour with Dinner: $74
  • Shanghai yummy food tour: $75
  • Chinese Cooking Class in a Family Home: $75
  • Chengdu Jinsha Site Museum and Sanxingdui Museum Private Day Tour with Hotpot Dinner: $76
  • Dim Sum Cooking Class and Wet Market Visit in Shanghai: $78

Typical Food prices in London

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to London:


  • Lunch at Starbucks
    $18
  • Tea
    $8.30
  • Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason
    $54
  • Morning Tea
    $8.79
  • Pastry
    $6.92
  • Sushi Dinner for One
    $25

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in London

For London, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Traveling Spoon Nepalese Momos Private Online Cooking Class: $27
  • Moroccan Couscous Dinner in Shoreditch: $50
  • Modern British Dinner at Chef's Home in East London: $62
  • Dinner with Filmmakers & Filmmaking Experience in London: $74
  • 3-Hour Secret British Food Tour: $82
  • Private Cooking Class with a London Cookbook Author: $87
  • BYOB Pizza Workshop Supper Club: $91
  • 3-Hour Thames Jazz Dinner Cruise: $92
  • 4-Hour East End Food Tour: $98
  • Evening City & Food Tour (non-guided): $110
  • London Half-Day Food Tour: International Foods of Soho: $111
  • Soho International Food Tour: $113

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around Shanghai is $3.48 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.

London's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $28 per person, per day on transportation in London.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Shanghai $3.48
    London $28
Typical Local Transportation prices in Shanghai

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Shanghai:


  • Taxi Ride
    $4.03
  • Two Subway Tickets
    $0.93

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Shanghai

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Shanghai:

  • Private Day tour of Xi'an From Shanghai Including Transfer Service: $1,100
  • Private Mutianyu Great Wall Tour From Shanghai's Hotel Including Transfer: $1,100
  • Private Beijing One Day Tour From Shanghai 's Hotel Including Transfer Service: $1,036
  • Private Day Tour Of Beijing From Shanghai's Hotel Including Flight And Transfer: $1,000
  • Private Day Trip Of Xi'an From Your Shanghai's hotel Including Transfer Service: $1,000
  • 2-Day Huangshan Tour by Cable Car with Private Transfer and Lunch from Shanghai: $653
  • 3 Days Shanghai Suzhou Tour Package with Airport Transfer: $555
  • 1-way Transfer Between Shanghai Pudong Airport and Yiwu Per Vehicle Price: $388
  • Shanghai Luxury Airport Transfer: $332
  • Private City Transfers between Zhongshan and Hong Kong: $313
  • Private City Transfers between Foshan and Hong Kong: $296
  • Private City Transfers between Guangzhou and Hong Kong: $283

Typical Local Transportation prices in London

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in London:


  • Taxi Ride
    $20
  • Heathrow Express
    $25
  • Luggage Storage
    $11
  • London Map
    $1.79
  • Oyster Card
    $50
  • Train to Gatwick Airport (2)
    $30
  • Oyster Card
    $37

Hired Cars and Shuttles in London

Also for London, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Ultra - London Private Airport Transfer from City Centre to Heathrow Airport LHR: $8.71
  • Ultra - London Airport Transfer from City Centre to London Gatwick Airport LGW: $8.71
  • Gatwick Airport to Central London Bus Transfer: $11
  • London Airports: Shared Transfer to London Hotels: $16
  • Luton Airport to Central London Bus Transfer: $16
  • Shuttle transfer from your Hotel To Heathrow Airport - Super Saver: $18
  • Shared departure transfer from your London hotel to the Airport: $27
  • Private London Departure Transfer - Accommodation to St Pancras Eurostar Station: $28
  • Shared Transfer from London City Center to Heathrow: $28
  • Heathrow Airport to London City Center: Shared Transfer: $28
  • Shared City Center Transfer to London City Airport: $30
  • Shared Transfer from London City Airport to City Center: $30

Is it cheaper to fly into Shanghai or London?

Prices for flights to both London and Shanghai change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Entertainment

Shanghai's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $7.58 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in London can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $36 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Shanghai $7.58
    London $36
Typical Entertainment prices in Shanghai

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Shanghai are as follows:


  • 30 Minute River Cruise for Two
    $31
  • Zoo for Two
    $16

Tours and Activities in Shanghai

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Shanghai are as follows:

  • Lionsgate Entertainment World Ticket in Henqin Zhuhai : $31
  • 1 Day Bus Tour in Amazing Shanghai Highlights: $113
  • 1 Day Hangzhou Private Tour: $312
  • 1 Day Shanghai Airport Layover Private Tour for City Highlights: $202
  • 1 Day Shanghai Highlight Small Group Tour: $124
  • 1 Day of Shanghai Premiere Experience: $730
  • 1 day Nanjing tour from Shanghai by train: $400
  • 1 day Shanghai City Mini Group tour: $92
  • 1-Day Authentic Shanghai Tour by Walking & Metro: $193
  • 1-Day Private Shanghai City Tour to See Its Past, Present and Future: $204
  • 1-Day Private Shanghai to Wuzhen Tour to Admire the Classical Water Town: $271
  • 1-Day Private Tour to Hangzhou by car from Shanghai: $305

Typical Entertainment prices in London

For London, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Two Tickets to a Concert
    $115
  • London Symphony Orchestra
    $48
  • London Pass
    $65
  • Comedy Show
    $11

Tours and Activities in London

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for London.

  • Royal Canadian Regiment Museum: Historic Wolseley Barracks Tour: $5.64
  • Shakespeare's Italy Virtual Experience: $6.90
  • 59-Minutes British Museum Audio-guided Tour: $8.71
  • Banqueting House Entrance Ticket: $9.22
  • 59-Minutes National Gallery Audio-guided Tour: $9.95
  • The Clink Prison Museum Admission Tickets: $11
  • 12 Angry Guests: The Online Jury Experience: $11
  • British Museum Guided Tour: $12
  • Private 90-Minute London Kick-Start Tour with a Local: $13
  • Virtual Guided Tour of London's Off the Beaten Track Areas: $14
  • Guided Tour of Handel House: $14
  • London Old City Highlights Walking Tour in Spanish: $14

Alcohol

The average person spends about $6.61 on alcoholic beverages in Shanghai per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In London, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $17.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Shanghai $6.61
    London $17

Sample the Local Flavors in Shanghai

Also in Shanghai, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Shanghai Luxury Bar Crawl in 5-star Hotel or Boutique Hotel: $255
  • 3 Hour Local Craft Beer Crawl with Brewery Tour: $350

Sample the Local Flavors in London

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in London:

  • 5-Hour Shoreditch Pub Crawl: $14
  • Central London 4-Hour Pub Crawl: $14
  • Central Daily 5-Hour Pub Crawl: $14
  • The Shoreditch Pub Crawl: $14
  • Camden Pub Crawl: $14
  • The London Pub Crawl - Shoreditch: $14
  • Camden Pub Crawl: $20
  • 3-Hour Pub Tour: $21
  • The Original Shoreditch Pub Crawl: $28
  • 2-Hour Historic Pub Tour: $28
  • London Pub Crawl and Nightlife Tour: $28
  • Sipsmith Distillery Tour and Complimentary Tasting: $35


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Shanghai and London, we can see that London is more expensive. And not only is Shanghai much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. Since Shanghai is in Asia and London is in Europe, this is one of the main reasons why the costs are so different, as different regions of the world tend to have overall different travel costs. So, traveling to Shanghai would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Shanghai and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in London would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in London than you might in Shanghai.

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Shanghai vs. London Travel Comparison

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