UK on a Budget? Part 2: The Results

Well, London and Scotland are amazing. We had such a fantastic time.  We had nearly perfect weather the entire trip, which is pretty unbelievable considering this is Great Britain we are talking about.

Here’s how we did!

What we thought we knew


We spent 5 days in London: 3 nights at an AirBnb and 2 with my cousin. We then flew to Scotland, spending 2 nights in Inverness, an unexpected night in Perth followed by 3 nights in Edinburgh.

The 2 nights with my cousins saved us $345 on AirBnb. However, we ran into a little trouble in Scotland. I absentmindedly left our passports in Inverness and didn’t discover this until we were a 2.5 hour drive away. In the process of retrieving them, our car got 2 flat tyres in the middle of nowhere in the beautiful Scotland Highlands.

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We didn’t have enough time to get to Inverness and make our original reservation near Glasgow, so we ended up staying in Perth on our way to Edinburgh. Due to the last minute cancellation and reservation in Perth ($97), we had to pay for both reservations. Ugh.

Expected: $1407       Actual: $1159        

Car Rental

Apparently our payment for the car was not “IN FULL.” When we arrived, there were several extra charges and they didn’t have the GPS I reserved. Thanks Europcar! I was charged an additional $25.15 when I turned in the vehicle.

I’m still waiting to see what I’ll be charged for the 2 tyres.

Expected: $264.04        Actual: $289.17

What we didn’t know


I guessed high, but I guessed right. Even with our extra 3 hour drive across the highlands, we only used 1 tank of Petrol.

Estimate $100.    Actual: $95.74


The trip felt like a good mix of splurge and save. We maxed as much free and cheap as we could, but we also spent.

In London, we splurged to ride on the London Eye for £42 or $68. We should have booked our tickets online ahead of time, saving 14%. The website made it seem like buying the tickets online pigeon holes you into a specific time of the day. I think you can go whenever you want once you have the ticket. Oops.


We also splurged at the O2 Arena. On a whim, we spent £52 or $85 to climb and walk over the O2. It was a perfect day weather wise and standing on top of the O2 provided a beautiful view of London.

In Scotland, we splurged on a bus and boat trip around Loch Ness and the Urquhart Castle. It was £49 or $80. We also splurged to go into the Edinburgh Castle.  That was £32 or $52.

Other Activity expenses: Tower Bridge £15.30/ $25, Carnival Freakshow £12/$20, London Olympic Swimming Pool  (MICHAEL PHELPS!) £2/$3.50.

Estimate: $200       Actual: $333.50

Food & Alcohol:

Food was the biggest unknown on the trip, but we didn’t end up breaking the bank. I think I’m an excellent guesser, because we spent $611 on food and alcohol.

Breakfast was included everywhere we stayed. Several days we were able to do lunch for £10 and dinner was typically no more than £20. We caught a break twice on food. First, my cousin treated us to dinner the first night we stayed with her. The second “break” was during our disastrous day. The staff at the Glencoe Visitor’s Centre where we broke down felt bad for us and gave us sandwiches and snacks for dinner (this may have also been our lunch. I’m choosing not to recall this day). This break continued into the next morning where we were still frazzled enough that we forgot to eat breakfast and lunch. That saved a whole day of eating!

As non-foodies, I think we did really well.

Estimate: $600    Actual: $611

Public Transport:

London Tube: We spent $97 on our Oyster Cards. Unfortunately, there is still £5 on both cards. We were planning to turn in our Oyster Cards when we left, but due to a tight train schedule, we couldn’t. That too is worth £5 each. That means there is $32 unclaimed 😦

Thames Clipper: What a fun way to see London! $22 well spent!

Emirates Air line: We combined the Clipper with the Emirates Air Line and it was beautiful. I highly recommend this! $11.

Maximum $180   Actual: $130

Airport Transfers:  

We took the tube in from Heathrow, so I counted that charge above. It cost $30 to take the train to Gatwick. In and out of the Edinburgh Airport on the Tram cost $26.

Estimate $95         Actual: $56


Souvies: £4.40 for Harry Potter Buttons from Platform 9 3/4 for my seesters and 2 postcards.

Magazines: £9; Calls: £3.20; Bathrooms: £1.20; Foot Pads £1

Total: $32

Total Estimated Trip Cost: $2846

Total Actual Trip Cost: $2706

Holy Crap! That means we came in under budget. Wahoo!


6 thoughts on “UK on a Budget? Part 2: The Results

  1. Awesome! Next time I’m planning a trip, I’ll let you estimate the costs!

    Seems like you visited a lot of fun places in the UK and most of the best attractions in London! Did you also visit the natural history museum? It’s free and awesome.

    • We’ll see if I can continue my accurate predictions. I was very impressed with myself!

      We did not make it to the Natural History Museum. It was at the very top of the “When it rains” indoor activity list, but it didn’t rain! How weird is that. Next time, I keep promising myself, Next time.

  2. Pingback: 2014 Goals– September Update | Goodnight Debt.

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