A day in the life: cheapest UK cities for business trips revealed

11 December


Our research has revealed the cheapest cities in the UK for business expenses.

Looking at common expenses like fuel, food, transport and accommodation, we found there was a large disparity in day-to-day costs between London, Manchester and Birmingham, the most expensive cities, and the next 17 cities on the list.

For instance, a trip to London alone can cost your business up to 57% more than any other UK city, while 4th placed Edinburgh is just 25% more expensive than Brighton, the least expensive.


Using Numbeo cost of living data, average hotel costs from Booking.com and average fuel costs from our database, we developed a comprehensive view of the UK, including the top five and bottom five most expensive cities.

Five cheapest cities for business trips:

1. Bradford
2. Plymouth
3. Hull
4. Newcastle
5. Brighton

Five most expensive cities for business trips:

1. London
2. Manchester
3. Birmingham
4. Edinburgh
5. Sheffield

We found that major cities, with their large populations and employer bases, are where a day’s business expenses will cost more. London, perhaps expectedly, is the most expensive city in the UK for business expenses, while you’d save 28% on all expenses by doing business in Manchester instead.

Many businesses based in London are adapting to the costliness of operating there, some even choose to move their hub to other cities around the UK as a cost saving measure.

Based on these numbers alone, a business can benefit from increased revenue and profit margins by relocating their operations and reducing company expenditure.

To calculate the cost of fuel for one business trip we used our own databases to find the average cost per litre of a tank and then multiplied it by 55, the average size of a fuel tank. Using the theory that a medium sized car driving average mileage will fill up around once a fortnight, we divided this by 14 to get the fuel usage per day. 

Humberside hotels come out cheapest

At an average cost of £264.00 per night, a hotel in London is 69% more expensive than the average cost of a hotel in Hull. An overnight stay on Humberside will cost you £82.00, which is the third cheapest place for an overnight business stay.

Head to Coventry for a cheap and cheerful breakfast of champions

Business people need to fuel their day, whether that’s for internal or client meetings, networking or presentations. And when it came to breakfast at an inexpensive restaurant, the cheapest was found in Coventry at £9.00, while the most expensive is in London at £15.00.

The gap narrows slightly for a business lunch: a 3-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant will cost just £37.50 in Bradford compared to £55.00 in London, a difference of more than a third.

Regarding everyday items, the difference between the prices of a medium cappuccino and bottles of water are small across the country. However, in Bradford, you could purchase both these items for £2.64 and still have spare change, while a cappuccino alone will cost you £2.70 in Bristol.

Finally, fuel across the UK is largely standardised, with the average price of fuel between the most expensive city, London, and least expensive, Bradford, differing by just 9p.

4 ways to help trim your travel expenses

If you’re looking for ways to trim your business travel expenses, it can be tricky to know where to start. But by carefully managing your expenditure and planning in advance, the long-term cost of expenses can be reduced significantly.

“Taking control of your business expenses can be difficult at first, but by updating your company’s policies and effectively monitoring your expenditure, your business can quickly rein in those loose ends. Here are a few key pieces of advice from our team to help you and your business on its way” – Paul Baker, VP Customer Management

1. Making hotel reservations well in advance can save your business a lot of money, 4-5 weeks is typically the optimal time to book.
2. Budget hotel options aren’t the most glamourous but serve their purpose and can be far cheaper than other hotel chains.
3. Hotels where breakfast included in the price can work out cheaper than ones without.
4. Dining can be expensive, using restaurant discount loyalty cards can lower the costs.

Our travel and expense cards help to control and manage all your business expenses. Manage your travel, fuel and business expenditure all on one card. Find out more about the Allstar Plus Visa Card and take control now.

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