We are about to leave the UK, and I have some great ideas to share with you on affordable ways to enjoy your vacation.
We have been in and out of UK over the past year or so, and really love it there. So have gathered some good tips for travelers from abroad that might head to their ‘mother-land’, or just be visiting.
So what have we recently been up to?
We have finished a wonderful month prior to this in Scotland where we had a fabulous house sit. The lovely homeowner kindly drove us to Dundee where we caught the late afternoon train back to Newcastle again. We love Newcastle and have stayed there on two previous occasions. The first when we bought our car last year, and a month earlier when we came and sold the same car back to the car yard in Newcastle.
We found the UK can be expensive and a bit of a shock after our budget times in countries in Eastern Europe and North Africa, but there are bargains to be had, and ways to make it affordable.
Set yourself a budget before you arrive. And stick to it.
We use a daily amount and enter it into a phone budget application each time we spend money, so we know exactly where we are.
Consider things like accommodation style, eating and drinking habits, entertainment, souvenirs, and shopping.
Even the weather plays a part in what you will be seeing and doing.
Remember to pull cash out in a lump sum as there is usually a fee each time you access the ATM.
2. Pay in Great British Pounds with your debit card
When you are out trying to use your direct debit from your Travel Money Card.
Credit cards incur an international transaction fee, and debit cards don’t.
But if you are getting points, sometimes the credit card can be beneficial.
Also, any transactions can be disputed if there is ever an error.
3. Eat out for less
Pubs and hotels often have a two course or all you can eat deal or a Sunday Roast special, or meal and drink combo.
Consider eating out at lunchtimes at high-end restaurants if that is your taste.
A la carte can be expensive at dinner time.
4. Location, Location
Restaurants, Pubs and Cafe’s in prime locations and high tourist areas also are high end in what they charge.
Fancy Afternoon High Tea at the Ritz, or Harrods? Then it can cost you BIG BUCKS, but often the memory is worth it.
Often back street and local places have better food for the money.
Check where the locals dine and follow the trail.
5. Become a ‘Voucher Queen’ (or King)
Groupon and other online specials have great voucher deals.
Google the local area and save.
Also, the back of grocery store receipts often has a special local deal too.
Sometimes the tourist boards in the local area provide booklets with lots of voucher specials.
6. Drink and be Merry
Wine in the UK is charged by the size of the glass (which is odd to an Australian and a lot of others too).
If you order a larger glass you can often get double for a GBP or more, and save quite a lot.
Carafe wine vs bottled wine – great savings.
A larger pint of local brew will be far less expensive than a designer import in a small glass.
7. Great deals on where to stay
Check the internet sites for specials on great brands like Travelodge like we used in Newcastle both times.
You can book online, the parking is less than 5 GBP for 24 hours, and it is centrally located.
The rooms are spacious, clean and have all you need for a fraction of the price of a high-end property.
I really liked how friendly the staff was to us too.
When we left for the ‘chap’ on the reception desk remembered us from last time, and offered to get me a coffee whilst we waited for our early morning taxi to the airport – fabulous service!
Staying central as we did at the Travelodge in Newcastle, also means you walk if the weather is good, and save on taxi fares.
We even walked to the train station from here.
8. Use Public Transport
Public buses and trains are everywhere and part of the British culture.
They also are a fraction of the cost of a black cab or taxi, so enjoy the experience of traveling like a local.
9. Remember the “P’s”. Picnic in the Park with a Packed Lunch
With Aldi, Lidl, Tesco and a heap of other great supermarkets, it is a great idea to enjoy the current sunshine.
Buy a crusty cobbler loaf of bread; a nice chunk of English Tasty Cheese; some gourmet delights, and head to Hyde Park or the banks of the Thames or wherever you are for a fabulous time soaking up some rays.
At the same time, the GBP stays firmly in your wallet and you’ve saved a bundle.
10. Time to leave? Jump on the Web
Flights start at only 39 GBP each for some European or neighboring places to visit.
We bought an international 3-hour flight for less than the cost of a UK 3 hour train ticket.
Now that is money in your pocket and the end of our Ten Tips for Affordable UK Travel.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share?
Please leave them in the comments below.