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New UK budget travel guide published.
I’ve travelled in India on ten dollars a day; it’s not that easy, but it can be done. I’ve done the Loire on the cheap – staying in municipal campsites and making friends with local bakers and farmers to supply our picnics – and I’ve walked across Spain staying in pilgrim hostels and eating out of tins. But London strikes the fear of God into me as a budget traveller.
Even Americans think the UK is expensive. And that’s where the new ’101 Budget Britain Travel Tips’ guidebook comes in. It’s full of information on how to holiday in the UK without breaking the bank. From getting here in the first place (book a midweek flight and take the tube from Heathrow) to phoning home (via Skype) and free attractions in many towns (Bristol, Brighton, Edinburgh to name a few), it’s crammed with useful tips.
There are a few warnings. For instance, beware the dreaded bank holiday weekend! And don’t eat at the airport!
Cheaper transport options are covered as well, with recommendations for Megatrain.com and for National Express coaches (though I’d perhaps add detailed advice on getting cheaper train fares through booking ahead on Trainline or on how two singles can sometimes be cheaper than a return). Then there is the obvious recommendation which is unfortunately ignored by many, to get an Oyster card first thing.
And there are also some good tips on getting visitors’ passes from English Heritage (there’s a special Overseas Visitor Pass) or Cadw (the Explorer Pass) if you’re going to be visiting a lot of historic sites – or joining the National Trust to get free access to its houses and castles.
What about London suggestions? As a Londoner for nearly 20 years I didn’t expect to find much that I didn’t know – but hey, I never knew the Woolwich Ferry was free and you can walk back via the Woolwich foot tunnel if you like. It’s not the most enticing tourist attraction but it’s one of those things I shall have to do some time just to say I’ve done it!
The Tate-to-Tate boat ride is another good bargain I had missed.
Another great London suggestion is one I wholeheartedly agree with: “just walk to save some money.” But if you really don’t want to just take one of the Heritage bus routes (number 9 or 15) to get a relaxing and sight-filled tour at a budget price.
One missed trick though: under public toilets, findatoilet.co.uk is mentioned, but if you don’t have access to their app then most department stores are a good bet. Pubs are another option, as long as you’re happy to buy a drink which nowadays can be a coffee. Or read the excellent “best free London toilet guide” by our intrepid loo researcher friend Laura.
Although the book doesn’t hold many surprises for a cheapskate ex-Londoner like myself, I’d wholeheartedly recommend it to any traveller to the UK. You could probably run all the information to ground somewhere on the net – but it would take hours (if not days) and you’d have to know where to look. The book will save you a ton of time as well as money.
Moreover, this budget travel in Britain guidebook is engaging and fun to read – written by two people who have learned the hard way how not to spend a fortune. The writers also have a blog that publishes fresh budget travel tips at BudgetBritainGuide.com which is also worth checking out.
Finally, London visitors may also wish to amuse themselves by reading our list of top 10 things not to do. And anyone who wants to save money on their London hotel during this Olympic year may wish to consult our guest post listing 10 slightly sneaky ways to save money on London hotels.