Are you planning a trip to Scotland this year? This beautiful country has so much to offer backpackers; from the sugarloaf peaks and stunning lochs to the hearty and delicious food and many whisky distilleries, there really is something to satisfy everyone!
With so many things to see and do, this can cause concern for those travelling on a budget, but visiting Scotland doesn’t need to be expensive! There are plenty of tips and tricks you can use when planning an affordable trip to Scotland.
We’ve rounded up the best budget travel advice from Scotland’s top travel bloggers- so read on and learn how you can save your pennies when planning a trip to Scotland!
Dine deliciously yet frugally with self-catering accommodation
”I find feeding a family can be expensive on the road, so the greatest tip is to secure self-catering accommodation. Dine deliciously yet frugally! I always pack snacks – cartons of juice, nuts, raisins etc. This can save a fortune. I even brings flasks of coffee along to save extra pennies.
Hire cars usually offer better value than public transport for a family, and I always research the admission prices of attractions before heading off.
Young children are often free, so don’t automatically purchase a Family Ticket. A pass with the National Trust for Scotland and/or Historic Scotland can save money, but again check the age range covered and figure out what’s the cheapest for your family. Lastly, Scotland offers fantastic free beaches, parks, gardens and playgrounds, so many of my favourite days out don’t cost a penny.”
Janice from Scots2Travel
Travel during the off season
Save money by booking public transport in advance
”There’s no such thing as ‘last minute deals’ on our public transport network, so the secret to plan in advance. I always set up alerts on Trainline for my desired route, and book as soon it goes on sale 12-weeks before travel. Sometimes there are even super-cheap advanced deals on First Class. If the tickets are already on sale, I check if the route is on Trainline’s Best Fare Finder to compare times and prices.
If you plan to travel by bus, and make multiple stops along the way, you can save money by purchasing a Scottish Citylink Explorer Pass which covers the whole route network. Remember to pre-book your seats as the popular routes are busy! I always book flights with Loganair to the Scottish Islands way in advance, and look out for discounts in the January sale. CalMac Ferry prices don’t fluctaute, so no worries there.”
Kay from The Chaotic Scot
Saving time is just as important as saving money
One of the biggest budget tips isn’t directly about saving money but about saving time and we all know that’s one thing money can’t buy you.
Hiring a car in the UK is not as cheap as renting a car in North America but it is recommended for those looking to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. The benefits of renting a car are plentiful. Firstly, our public sector is not very efficient the further north you travel.
Secondly, you can travel independently, no time restrictions like the ones you face with group tours. Finally, you can buy food cheaply at supermarkets and local grocers then make food at many of Hostels Scotland’s hostels! Don’t forget to check out this road trip packing list guide for more tips.
Make the most of Scotland’s free attractions
”One of the best things about visiting Scotland is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to see a bit of culture! Many of the museums and galleries throughout the country are free to enter. Some of the most popular in Edinburgh are the National Museum of Scotland, and the Scottish National Gallery, but there’s also the more unusual Writers Museum or Museum of Childhood.
Glasgow boasts the amazing Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, with everything from Ancient Egypt to art and animals and even a Spitfire hanging from the ceiling. But outside of the main centres there are some fantastic free places to visit too, like the newly opened V&A in Dundee, the first design museum in Scotland and a tribute to Scottish creativity. So if you’re travelling on a budget in Scotland then be sure to step inside at least one of the free museums and galleries…even if it is just to warm up!”
Sonja from Migrating Miss
Go on a free guided walking tour
Know where to book your flights and accommodation
Do you have any tips on planning a trip to Scotland on a budget? Comment below!