The UK is full of diversity, with four countries of different cultures, landscapes and people, all offering their own unique experience. It’s not surprising that so many people are desperate to explore it. It’s also not surprising that many people hesitate due to the expensive costs of travel. However, it is entirely possible; you just need the insider knowledge. Luckily, we have accumulated that local knowledge into the advice below – so read on to find out how to explore the UK for less!
Find cheap travel
Travel doesn’t come cheap in the UK, but there are ways to avoid the mainstream money pitfalls. The train is the fastest and most comfortable form of transport, but possibly the most expensive. You can, however, reduce costs by buying travel cards such as the Young Person’s Rail Card, which gives a third discount on all journeys.
Coach companies like National Express and Megabus are quickly becoming a popular alternative to train travel. In 2012, there were famously £1 Megabus tickets to Europe launched by the company. Although such extreme prices are limited, the fares are always low and worth the money if you don’t require the most luxurious travel services.
683 miles separate the north and south of the UK. Buses and trains are not always best, but luckily you can always explore the country by plane instead. London Stansted Airport usually offers the cheapest flights to major cities. At the right times, you can easily travel between England and Ireland for less than £50. Plan ahead, book in advance, and you can travel the whole of the UK for less.
Discover the hidden gems
Read articles like this one revealing the cheapest cities in the UK and travel to them, even if they’re not the most obvious choices. Forget London and other Southern cities – reserve them for your savings! Instead, head to Wales and Northern cities. Places like Cardiff offer a wonderful escape, with a buzzing nightlife, cultural centre, historic castle landmark and beautiful bay area. You get the experience of Welsh culture and the joy of cheaper prices. Look at Bristol, Nottingham, Glasgow, and Newcastle for other affordable options.
City breaks are nearly always more expensive than nature trips. If you really want to travel cheap, consider a hiking or camping holiday. You get the free beauty of nature, and the UK has some of the most beautiful nature in the world. Spending time outdoors is a fun and original way to explore a country. Take a tent or check out the YHA website, which specialises in more remote hostels.
Find cheap accommodation
Hostels are always a great option for student travellers. They are social, affordable and give a local insight to a new place. You get to meet many new people from all over the world, transforming your exploration of the UK into an international experience. They usually offer group pub-crawls, taking you around the local nightlife scene, and morning city tours, so you get the insider insight of landmarks.
However, plenty of other options compete for cheapest accommodation choices. As hostels continue to rise in price, things like Airbnb are becoming more and more popular. Perhaps not as social, they are usually much cheaper. Especially if you are travelling with a group of friends, splitting the cost of an apartment for the weekend is extremely affordable. Plus, you have your own space and freedom to stay up late without waking strangers.
Fancy paying a wee bit extra, in order to get some luxury accommodation? Hidden or secret hotels are four or five star hotels that sell off their extra rooms at cut-price rates. Find out more about how you can work the system and find out which secret/ (huh hum) not so secret high-end hotel you are paying for with this guide.
Visiting friends is a cheap way to explore the UK. If you know people scattered around the country, take the opportunity to spend some time with them! It is an especially great option if you are travelling solo. Not only do you have a free place to stay, but you also get the local experience – and the local experience is usually a lot cheaper than the tourist one.
They know the cheap bars, clubs, and pubs. They know when local landmarks offer cheaper tickets. They know when all the happy hours, discount prices and local deals are on. Plus, they know all the fun stuff to do without spending a penny. Nearby parks, free events, student shows; all the local experiences revealed by a local person.
Don’t forget: sites like Student Money Saver reduce travel costs even further with deals and discounts, like half price hotel rooms, cheap holiday packages, and competitions. So keep an eye out for bargains and explore the exciting, beautiful, cultural UK for as long as you possibly can!