Are you planning to go backpacking in the UK?
Considering that this form of travel is a low-cost and independent version, expect to face some serious challenges while planning your trip. Challenges with available solutions, of course.
One of the things you need to work out is how to travel on a backpacker budget. With some parts of the UK more expensive than others, you definitely have your work cut out for you. But that’s what makes the entire process fun and exciting.
To help ease the pain points, we have provided a checklist for an inexpensive and hassle-free backpacking trip in the UK.
- Know the best times to travel
- Avoid nasty surprises
- Stretch your backpacking budget
- Book ahead and in bulk
- Choose your tours wisely
- Take the bus
- Plan your meals
- Prepare for currency fluctuations
- Prepare for currency fluctuations
Backpacking in the UK on a Budget
Know the best times to travel
Like most places in the world, the best time to travel in the UK because of the weather may not be the most affordable. Backpacking in the UK in the summer or late summer is a beautiful time to visit but it can be stressful to your pocket. So think long and hard about the trade-off.
Are you willing to spend more to enjoy the UK outdoors more?
You should know, however, that it can rain 3 days in a row in the UK during summer. In autumn, prices of accommodation and tours are unlikely to drop either.
So it all comes down to the kind of weather you can handle when travelling while lugging your stuff around.
Avoid nasty surprises
Travelling to the UK without planning ahead is possible but not easy. This is especially true during the high season when budget accommodation is fully booked all throughout and cheap ones become expensive during the weekends.
Since the idea is to travel on a budget, you need to book your trips in advance rather than wing it. You could end up wasting your time schlepping from one hostel to another instead of checking out the sights.
There’s also a huge possibility that you could end up paying for one night what you could have paid for a 3-day pre-booked accommodation.
Pre-booking also means you will find plenty of options, including couchsurfing, an opportunity to sleep on someone else’s couch for a significantly low fee than staying in a hostel.
You should also plan your tours in a way that you see more but spend less.
Stretch your Backpacking in the UK budget
Book ahead and in bulk
As previously mentioned, booking way ahead of your scheduled trip will save you money. Give yourself enough time to research and you will find some serious discounts on everything you need travel-related.
If you choose to book with a travel agency, it is also recommended that you book your accommodation, transportation, and tours in one go to get budget packages.
Choose your tours wisely
London is more expensive than Scotland and other places in the north, so choose your destination wisely. But you can still enjoy the capital without burning a hole through your pocket, what with most of the sites you can enjoy for free.
Look for free sites anywhere else you go to save on entrance fees and the like. There are lots of museums you can explore without spending a penny.
Take the bus
Between the trains and buses, the latter is less expensive. Taking a bus is also the way to go when travelling in and around England and Scotland. Book in advance and you can save more. Booked 1 month in advance and your seat will only cost you around 1 GBP between cities.
Plan your meals
The cheapest option would be to cook your meals. If your accommodation has a kitchen that you can use, take advantage of it. It is a lot cheaper to buy food at the supermarket and prepare your meals yourself than dine in a restaurant.
If you wish to eat out, head out to pubs and order the daily specials that are often served as both lunch and dinner.
Don’t forget to try ethnic restaurants for a taste of the local cuisine at a lower cost.
Prepare for currency fluctuations
At some point, while backpacking in the UK, exchange rates could fluctuate to your advantage or disadvantage.
This is why it is important that you plan a budget trip so you don’t end up spending more in the event that the exchange rate shoots up. It would also help if you add in a cushion for when you go over your budget.
Be ready for the weather
It is best to think of UK as wet most of the time even if you travel during summer. This way, you will be ready for when it rains all of a sudden with your brolly, rain cover, and the like.
Remember that you’re likely to be waiting for public transport the entire time or for the most part of your trip, leaving you exposed to the elements and the whim of the UK weather.
Concluding thoughts on: Backpacking in the UK on a budget
Backpacking in the UK on a budget is more than possible if you know what to do to stretch your money as much as possible. Take note of the tips listed above and you will enjoy the breath-taking beauty of the UK without going home broke.