10 Tips for Backpacking in the UK on a Budget

The UK certainly isn’t renowned for being a budget destination, but there are ways that you can make backpacking through this corner of Europe slightly easier on your pocket.

Tip One: Never be afraid to ask about discounts or coupons from hotels or restaurants. Also, be sure to check online for discount vouchers.

Tip Two: Book hotels and flights as far in advance as possible, most airlines offer discounts for booking early. 

London Bus

Tip Three: Pick the right restaurants; small local pubs and restaurants are likely to offer better prices than some five-star, fine dining places, with food that is just as good, if not better.

Tip Four: Utilize public transportation. Most airports offer easy access to local Tubes, Trains and Buses and some even offer shuttles to the transport hubs. The Stansted airport parking is an easy distance from local bus stations and local airport hotels. If you’re travelling around London, make sure you purchase an Oyster card. It makes transport on London buses, the Underground system, and most overground trains far cheaper.

Tip Five: Don’t be afraid to stop at local markets and grocery stores for meals and skip the whole restaurant thing all together. There are plenty of hostels and hotels that will let you use their kitchen to fix a meal.

Tip Six: Hostels are the best and sometimes safest places to bunk down for a night or two while backpacking across the country and were specifically created for that purpose. Hostels are generally a great deal more affordable than a standard hotel or Bed & Breakfast would be. And you get the bonus of meeting some fellow backpackers to trade advice with.

Tip Seven: Avoid Tourist Traps. Nothing says dollar signs like the typical spots tourists are expected to go. Avoid those and you will save a fortune. But don't avoid touristy place all together. A Giant's Causeway tour for example can be a memory you will hold on to till a very old age.

Tip Eight: Don’t buy tourist keepsakes. If you want something unique to remember your visit by, wander through local villages and markets with your camera and a notebook so you can jot down all the quirky sights, smells and snippets of conversation that you come across. It’ll make for a higher quality and more affordable keepsake.

Tesco, Earl's Court

Tip Nine: BYOS (Bring Your Own Shampoo) - don’t get stuck buying toiletries at the airport that are way over-priced, plan your toiletries around the length of your trip instead. Or, if you’re worried about the weight of your luggage, buy them at shops rather than at the airport. Big supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda are the market leaders, and are great value.

Tip Ten: Map your routes in advance. The easiest way to save money is to make sure you know where you are going, how to get there and how to find local buses, etc.

Above all, talk to people. Communication and interaction with people has to be one of the greatest treasures of travelling. In just a few minutes you can learn helpful hints and tips about the area you’re visiting, and you may even be so lucky as to pick up a bit of local dialect too! But above all, conversation is an opportunity to share cultural wisdom and exchange a few moments of personal, cross-cultural understanding and appreciation. Happy travels.

Photos via Flickr Creative Commons (source 1, 2, 3)