If you're planning a vacation to Scotland, you've come to the right place. I've collected budget tips galore for my own upcoming trip, and they're just too good to keep to myself. Here are the six best tips I've found so far:
1) Consider discount airlines.
We are booked on Norwegian Air, which around here flies out of Stewart Airport near Newburgh, New York. Outside of the the New York Metropolitan Area, I assume Norwegian is able to save on gate fees, and that savings absolutely shows in their ticket prices. We are flying out on a Friday night, direct to Edinburgh. Tickets start at $109.
Yes, you read that right. That means you could fly ROUND TRIP to Scotland from New York for $218.
We ultimately opted for a slightly higher-priced ticket so we could enjoy pre-selected seats, a checked bag, and a meal on board, but even still, those luxuries are only costing an extra $70 per ticket. My husband and I will be flying to and from Scotland for about $700.
Norwegian is new to our area, but it is growing. I plan to come back and do a thorough review once we have actually taken our trip, but for now, I at least recommend you look into the airline.
If Norwegian doesn't fly from your home airport, I would recommend Aer Lingus if you're flying to Ireland, Scotland, or England. We accidentally ended up on an Aer Lingus flight on the way back from our honeymoon (United cancelled our flight, which led to a delightful 24-hour stay in the Dublin airport), and we were thrilled with their service. Their prices aren't bad, either.
2) Look into public transit.
We plan to travel around during our time in Scotland, but we've noticed that there are many fantastic travel options between cities. This could cut down on the number of days we need to rent a car, and since public transit tends to be cheaper than car rentals, we will save a bit of money. Our first five days or so will be split between Edinburgh and Glasgow, and since they're just about an hour apart, we won't need our own vehicle at all during that time.
3) Consider a historic stay.
I was THRILLED to learn that it is possible to spend the night at historic sites through Historic UK. These sites include castles, mansions, lighthouses, and cottages. If you plan to stay in one area for an extended period of time, this option might be perfect for you. Seven nights in a cottage in Inverness, for instance, was 409 GBP. Imagine spending that long in a hotel and what the cost would be! These properties are unique and exciting, and they can be truly budget-friendly depending on your travel plans. Check them out here.
4) Travel during the off-season.
I know you've heard if many times before, but it's true--traveling during the off-season can have a tremendous impact on pricing. Wintertime might seem a bit bleak, but you'll get to experience a more genuine Scottish experience without all the hustle and bustle of tourist high season. Not to mention the Scottish Christmas Markets! If the weather isn't great, I think that's all the more reason to go--Scotland is known for its mystique, which is made all the moodier when fog settles over the hills.
5) Pack light!
If you aren't travelling on an airline that provides free checked baggage, consider making your trip work with just a carry-on. I promise that it can be done. In some ways, it even makes things a bit easier. Want more advice on packing light with capsule wardrobes and carry-ons? Check it out here.
6) Skip the souvenirs.
Okay, so this isn't specific to Scotland, but I think this is important no matter where you go. Do you really need to drag t-shirts and barware and paintings with you from the moment you land in an exciting new place? I think you don't. I think you'll be happier spending your money at a great restaurant or splurging on a nice hotel. Take tons and tons of photographs and send some postcards home to yourself. They're a nice reminder of your trip, and collecting international postmarks is super cool. In any case, in Scotland, there are so many wonderful opportunities to walk and hike. Especially if you're touring the country and only have carry-ons, you won't want to have to store and lug souvenirs. Just my opinion, of course.
And there you have it! I'm extremely excited to continue planning my trip to Scotland, and I promise to come back frequently with my tips. After I get back, you're in for some definite Scottish praise-filled posts. I just know I'm going to love it!