A holiday to the UK needn’t be expensive for those on a limited budget. You can still enjoy the many sights and attractions without breaking the bank. Here’s a handy guide on everything you need to know for a memorable, low-cost adventure.
The cheapest flights from the US to the UK are often found during off-peak periods. Stay flexible with your travel arrangements and always use flight comparison sites which collate airfares across hundreds of providers. It’s your best chance of finding the lowest price, especially if you book in advance.
Using your credit card reward scheme is another way to reduce travel expenses. Many offer airline miles or points every time you make a purchase. This frequent flyer account could see you pay next to nothing for your next flight.
The UK’s compact size makes it easy and affordable to visit all the major destinations in one trip. Travel by train and you can admire the sleepy British countryside as you hop from one city or village to the next. Individual tickets are surprisingly affordable or for those with a large itinerary a multi-stop pass can be booked with British Rail.
For even lower fares, why not take the longer option and travel by bus? Book far in advance and you could enjoy an unbelievable bargain. The bus and coach company Megabus offer fares for as little as £1. That’s less than $1.50!
Where to stay
Seek out hotels which promise guaranteed dollar rates. Found in all major cities in the UK, this can ensure the best exchange rate for visitors from overseas. Hostels are another great option with over 200 to choose from across Britain and Wales courtesy of the Youth Hostels Association. It’s no-frills accommodation but rooms are comfortable, clean and there are usually reasonably priced on-site restaurants.
Alternatively, if you’re travelling in a group, staying in a self-catering apartment can turn out to be more cost effective. You’re sure to find something that will suit the group, from beach houses to swanky city pads and thatched-roofed cottages. Sharing the rental cost between a larger group is often cheaper than the price of a hotel. You’ll also save money by using the kitchen facilities rather than eating out.
Low cost attractions
The UK is home to more than 250 National Museums. Admission into many of these is free, if not all of them. A lot of the museums can be found in London, including the British Museum, which is a must-see attraction for any visitor. Marvel at ancient artefacts such as the Rosetta Stone as well as Egyptian mummies and Parthenon sculptures.
The UK’s castles, gardens and stately homes are equally impressive and just as accessible for travelers who are watching the pennies. Purchase a Great British Heritage Pass for unlimited access to these historic attractions. With over 550 to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
No trip to the UK would be complete without sampling the pub food or afternoon tea. Fortunately, local favorites like fish and chips can be enjoyed with very little outlay. Aside from these options, there is a huge selection of eateries from fine-dining to village cafes, all catering to a variety of budgets.
With all the money you saved applying these cost-saving tips, why not treat yourself to an exquisite dining experience at a Michelin-starred restaurant? Fixed prices menus on 2 to 3 course meals are surprisingly affordable, considering the culinary feast that awaits you.
Whether you’re phoning home or accessing the Internet while you’re on the move, roaming charges abroad are still very expensive. Avoid incurring these charges by purchasing a SIM card from a UK operator when you arrive. You can even choose an Internet only SIM card, which still allows you to make calls using Skype, Whatsapp or FaceTime. Before you buy, scour the Internet for UK-based comparison sites which show the best mobile phone deals.
Although there is no fixed limit to how much currency you can bring into the UK, traveler’s checks are still the safest option. If they’re lost or stolen, you can easily get a refund, provided you have the receipt. Alternatively, use a credit card and you could earn cash back on a variety of travel expenses, including hotel stays.
For the frugal traveler, there has never been a better time to visit the UK. Follow this handy guide and you can explore the best this country has to offer. Better still, you’ll get the best out of your budget.