Getting around the UK on a budget
As one of the most history-rich places in the world, the United Kingdom is a great place for travellers to visit and explore. However, travelling in the UK can be expensive if you’re unprepared. However, thanks to a strong public transport system that links the major cities, you can get around the UK on a budget.
One of the cheapest and most effective ways to get from place to place is to go via bus. As well as linking up towns, villages and cities, most bus operators also run services to popular tourist destinations. For example, Stagecoach bus services run from the historic city of Chester to the UK’s biggest zoo, which is located nearby. Day rider tickets can get you from city to city for as little as £2.00.
A popular option for discount city-hopping, coaches are pretty cheap if you can handle long journeys. The most popular services in the UK are provided by Megabus and National Express. However, while they may take longer, they’re often a lot cheaper than other modes of travel. Journeying from Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, down to England’s, London, takes around 10 hours but costs just £30.
Train travel in the UK is fast and dependable, but it can be very expensive if you don’t plan ahead. This is because trains are heavily discounted if you book early — in fact, an advance booking could save you up to 80%. Know when you’re going to be travelling to make the most of this saving.
The UK has great driving infrastructure and hiring a car when travelling could be a good idea. However, you’ll need to be comfortable with driving on the left hand side with steering on the right. Fuel is expensive in the UK thanks to VAT and fuel duty, so you’ll need to budget for that too.
Hiring a car is also expensive in the UK, with a study by insurer iCarhireinsurance.com showing that hiring a car in the UK from London Heathrow costs £725 on average compared to £294 from a car in Orlando, Florida. So, if you’re on a budget, it may be best to stick to public transport!
While there is much to see and do in the UK, it’s also a fairly small island. For those dedicated and fit enough, you can cycle or walk from city to city. Walking is supported by hostels and bed and breakfasts, but you’re best suited to using established foot trails like Hadrian’s Wall Path or the coast to coast. These options are cheap but are obviously limited by your range and time constraints. They’re only for the dedicated outdoor enthusiasts.