How to Travel the UK on a Budget

Belfast City Hall

Belfast City Hall

The United Kingdom is famous for being one of the more expensive places in the world to travel.  London in particular can be expensive, but the region in general will take a fair chunk out of your wallet if you’re not careful.  Basically, you can expect to pay about one and a half times the prices you’re used to if you’re coming from North America.  However, travelling the region doesn’t have to mean the demise of your wallet.  There is no reason that you can’t travel the UK on 45-55USD a day, but you’ll certainly have to work to do so.

Stay in the Dorms

I know, you’re probably a grown up thinking that you’re too old for this, but it’s worth the savings.  Besides, you don’t plan on spending your time in the UK in your room do you?  Putting up with the dorms will likely mean that you’ll save between 30 and 50 pounds a night.  That is money that could be best spent on other things… like a longer vacation.
George Square, Glasgow, at night

George Square, Glasgow, Scotland

Find a Hostel that has a Kitchen, or Free Meals

Cooking your own meals will save you a fortune.  You can cook a pasta dish at a hostel with a meat and some vegetables for around 3 or 4 pounds.  Chances are you could even cook meals for a little bit less.  If you eat out you’re going to probably pay around 10-15 pounds for a meal.  Some of the hostels will even offer a free or cheap meal on certain nights of the week which are a huge bonus.  If you do go out try to eat between 6-7pm when you can get an early bird special.

Find bus and Train Deals

It’s amazing how much cheaper you can get bus and train tickets by looking around online.  If you buy bus tickets online you usually get about 50% off of what you would pay if you just turned up.  If you’re using the train there are loads of sites that give away Eurostar voucher codes.  The general case is that the bus is cheaper than the train, but if you book a train pass it will likely end up being the same cost.

Go in the off Season

If you’re hoping to travel in June-August be prepared to pay about 30-40% more for everything.  You might want to avoid winter as well, which makes the fringe seasons the best to travel.  You’ll also be saved the pain of long lines and huge crowds by travelling in the spring or fall rather than the middle of summer and school holidays.

Pre-Drink

The pubs are expensive for the most part.  It wouldn’t be unheard of to hear of a pub that sells 5-6 pound pints of beer and cider; if you’re drinking mixed drinks and cocktails it’s going to be even more.  That can all add up quite quickly.  As such, go to the grocery store and buy some drink to “warm up” with at the hostel before going out.

Stick to National Museums

In the UK most of the national museums are free.  The private museums can charge you between 5 and 8 pounds.  Unless there is a private museum you “have” to see, you’ll get just as much out of the national museums and you’ll have more cash to spend on other things.


Author: Brendan van Son

Author: Brendan van Son is a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. He has visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than he has the desire to count. Check out his profile on . for a little bit more about him.

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