Scotland has long been heralded as one of Europe’s most beautiful tourist destinations. It can also prove to be much less expensive than you think – and no less rewarding. The transport infrastructure in Scotland is generally good, with many services operating across borders to make travel from the rest of the U.K., as well as the rest of the world, easy.
Scotland’s rails cover most of the country, especially in the Central Belt region. Main cities like Edinburgh are well connected; Scotland’s capital is only about four or five hours from London. Yet, as much as Scotland is a place we all can find somewhere we want to travel and to visit, the costs in Scotland are remarkably higher than other typical budget traveller destinations, especially Central Scotland.
Now, we all know there are must see’s all around Scotland, but it’s the cost it warrants to travel, live, eat, sleep and everything else that can become more difficult. We want to travel as long as possible, so with that in mind, we thought we’d come up with some Scotland hacks for you to keep your budget tight, but make the most out of your trip.
Here are a few practical ways of getting around Scotland, as well as tips on best travel hacks for making your way all around Scotland on a budget.
1. Free Tours with Locals
Free walking tours are a great way for you to learn the foundations of a place. You get the chance to do some sightseeing and make friends in the tour too. Plus, getting your bearings is always good with someone who knows where and when to go leading the charge. Also, any other free attractions such as visiting an cathedrals, a viewpoint or a beach are always possible to see without cost.
2. Limit Expensive Tours
That being said, tours in Scotland normally come at a price so if you don’t need to go with one, don’t. Travel is about exploring, and doing it yourself is one of the most liberating experiences. If you can take local transportation to a major attraction to save money rather than paying more on the tour, do it! In Scotland things can be expensive, and if you do it more often than not this week, you’ll travel longer. However, for sure, sprinkle in the odd group tour if you can stretch the budget if you don’t really want to do any planning or just want an easy way to meet and hang out with a large group, just understand what you will be sacrificing with that money though.
3. Don’t Visit Everything
Do your research before; you don’t have to visit every place you’ve read about, as then it only becomes a bucket list journey. Know what you like, what you’re keen on and what you’ve got budget for.
The Edinburgh Castle, Scott Monument; these are all monumental attractions that are on anyone’s travel bucket list, no matter what kind of traveller you are. Just bare in mind that some attractions sound better in a list rather than what they actually are, but if you want to see the main attractions then keep to that, this experience is for you.
4. Stay With Worldly Friends
In today’s day and age most travellers have a friend or two from destinations afar. Why? The world is more interconnected; people are moving abroad and travelling more. So if you’re in Edinburgh for the weekend and your international buddy whom you shared drinks with one time lives there, hit him up! You get to see things the local way, free of charge and have a friend to go with too!
5. Try Couchsurfing
If your pool of friends isn’t that vast yet, then Couchsurfing is a more official way of staying with locals for free. You get to meet someone new, and hopefully if they’re a good host they’ll take you to some of the budget friendly places you won’t have any idea they were there.
6. Download an App to Meet People
Travel apps nowadays are extremely helpful; they can save you money and time with your experiences whilst on the road. If you want to meet other like-minded travellers with a similar trip, Edinburgh Traveller Network puts you in touch with people near you. You can make contact with them and see what plans they have.
7. Eat Street Food or Cook For Yourself
Eating out in Scotland can be a bit pricey, especially if you’re on a tight daily budget. Haggis at street food sandwiches or baguettes for 4-5 Sterling will keep you going, but if you have time, you can cook for yourself at the hostel. Pasta is always the easiest dish, and keeps the costs way down too!
8. Pre-Drinks Always
If clubbing is on the agenda, which in a lot of the cases it is at some point during your travel in Scotland, it’s best to pre-drink before the main event. Scottish drinks prices in bars can be high depending where you go, so if you need to stick to a budget, finish off some cheap wine before you go out. You’ll save money doing this for sure.
9. Bus It Instead of ScotRail
Bus companies such, as National Express, are ideal for travelling Scotland. These services run regularly all day and night in most Scottish cities, and also offer a consistent hop on-hop-off service at cheap rates. Although the National Express has historically always been cemented as part of a travellers Scotland experience, being more practical has to be considered if you’re travelling on a budget.
10. Work In a Hostel For a Bit
If you fell in love of a country and want to see more of it, there is no better way to do it than working in that place so you can really explore its environs. Hostel working normally comes in exchange for accommodation and food, which covers some major costs. At the same time you’ll meet other travellers, locals and get to see the best pockets of the place you fell in the love with in the first place.