The United Kingdom is made up of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The history of the area is prolific and the literary, political, and cultural influence of this country dates back centuries. The UK is a favorite travel destination for those interested in history or literature.
The area is diverse in that it has cosmopolitan cities, quaint villages, and beautiful countryside. Many people use London as a jumping off point for exploring all of Europe because the international flights into the city are some of the cheapest in the region.
Traveling around the country is fairly easy, although it can be quite expensive. Trains connect many parts of the country and tickets should be purchased well in advance if you’re hoping to get a decent deal. There are sometimes discounts available so do some research ahead of time to learn what package best suits your needs. Buses travel throughout the entire country and, although they are not as convenient as in Italy or Germany, they are still a reliable and slightly more affordable option.
If you’re really hoping to spend a good amount of time in the countryside, it really is best to rent a car. Prices can be high but the benefit is obvious as this allows you to see villages at your own pace and head into more rural areas that aren’t accessible by public transportation. As mentioned ahead, it is actually economically feasible (and a lot of fun) to hire a chauffeur service for at least one leg of your journey.
The area is well known as an expensive travel destination, even by European standards. In particular, you can expect the bulk of your money to go towards transportation, accommodation, and food. Transportation costs are generally unavoidable, but by slowing down your trip and visiting less cities and towns you’ll dramatically cut down on your overall trip cost.
If you’re willing to partake in serious cost-saving measures, hostels are available in most touristy areas but they remain quite expensive as well. Couchsurfing is a great option if you’re on a particularly tight budget. Food can be more affordable if you by it at a supermarket or head to the pub for fish and chips. While it’s almost impossible to visit this country cheaply, there are some things you can do to keep your budget a little more in check.
What You Need to Know
When it comes to tourism and travel, England is a favourite for many reasons. In fact, Britain is packed with prehistoric sites, majestic castles, world-renowned museums, legendary musical venues and more pubs than you can count!
There’s no shortage of things to do in London. After royal watching at Buckingham Palace, riding a double-decker bus, and seeing a show at the Lyceum, tourists welcome a little downtime by savouring a delicious pint at a local pub, before turning in at one of the city’s many choice hotels.
From knowing how transport works in the UK, to where you should go and what you should do, when is the best time to visit, why we love to hate the weather and what the deal is with Brexit, there are a number of things you need to know when planning a UK trip.
Corporate travellers typically have more money to spend on transportation, so if you’re travelling on a business expense you’ll want to consider the privacy, comfort and personal care associated with a chauffeur service. And if you’re in the UK on vacation rather than business, you might still schedule in at least one ride with a chauffeur service to get a taste of old British class. Fortunately for all travellers, in recent years of the pricing of chauffeur services has become quite competitive with standard taxi services, so the thought of such a ride should no longer be considered an expensive luxury.
The UK has its own currency known as “the pound“, “pound sterling” or “GBP” (Great British Pound). As a note, we locals simply refer to our money as “pounds”. In today’s money, notes come in denominations of £5, £10, £20 and £50, while coins include 1 penny, 2 pennies, 5 pennies, 10 pennies, 20 pennies, 50 pennies, £1 and £2.
Some countries will allow you access to the UK without a visa for stays of up to 6 months, for instance, if you’re travelling from most European countries, as well as the USA. In our opinion, the UK is magical to visit at any time of year. However, for the absolute best of the best, we’d recommend travelling during the shoulder seasons (e.g. spring and autumn).
There are far fewer crowds during this time, prices are cheaper and the seasonal colours are stunning to look at. However, these seasons also come with the most unpredictable British weather so be sure to prepare for all weathers. USA Today offers many other great UK travel tips.
The weather in the UK has always been a notorious subject. Locals love to complain about the weather — it’s a great ice breaker! But in all seriousness, the UK does have some contentious weather. It rains a lot, and has been known to be very unpredictable. “Micro climates” exist throughout the country, so don’t be surprised if it’s overcast when you leave the house, sunny twenty minutes down the road and pouring down with rain forty minutes from the house. Our best advice is to pack for all weathers, even in the summer!
There are several different bus companies available throughout the country. The buses are usually of high quality and they generally run on schedule. The more popular bus companies include National Express, Megabus, CityLink, and Dot2Dot. Some companies are focused on specific regions, while other serve the entire country. Some companies are also notoriously cheaper than others.
While perhaps not common or practical in many parts of the world, chauffeur services are still quite popular throughout the United Kingdom. If you shop around you’ll find that a chauffeur service can be found for only slightly more than the price of a traditional taxi ride.
There are many discount airlines that fly into and out of London and the United Kingdom. If you book tickets through one of these airlines, make sure that you understand all of the restrictions as well as what’s included in the price. Some flights fly into inconvenient airports as well, so confirm that there are transportation connections available to where you need to go.
London is notoriously expensive. It’s easily the cheapest city to fly into, but once you arrive you’ll find your money quickly disappears. If you’re hoping to keep costs down, spend more time in the other areas around the United Kingdom and less time in London. In the more rural communities you’ll find that your expenses are far less.
The countries that make up the United Kingdom each have their own set of bank holidays. Look at a calendar before you schedule your trip to make sure that your vacation does not overlap any of these bank holidays. If it does, you will find that prices are higher and attractions are more crowded.
If you’re traveling by train, there are usually discounts available for children or groups. Also, there are regional railcards available if you plan to take several different trips within the area. Research all of the restrictions on these cards prior to purchasing them. If you do decide to buy single tickets, it is best to buy them in advance when the prices are often lower. Great Britain is an area where you will benefit from having a set schedule and itinerary in advance of your trip.