Travel on a budget: Ireland and Scotland

I’m happy to announce I booked airplane tickets for Ireland and Scotland. I’m very excited that I will finally be able to see those green hills, beautiful coast lines and amazing landscapes I’ve always admired. About a month from now we have our first flight from Ljubljana, Slovenia. Since our budget is limited, it is about time I start planning this trip, so there will be no unpleasant surprises. I have to figure out the cheapest way for food, traveling around, visiting all attractions we would like to see, where we will sleep and what we will do.

First flight stop is in London, where we can grab a beer or two. Well, at least he can, I will probably go with water because of antidepressants and I know I wont be able to drink anything else, because I will be nauseous from all that flying. I’m terrified. The last time I was flying, I promised myself I will never ever do it again. I realized I’m too young to worry, so I eventually decided I will do what I want to do, no matter how big my fears are. Next flight is from London to Dublin. We will stay in Ireland for 4 days and since we don’t have much time I should choose our destinations wisely.

Accommodation 

Since we are traveling on a short budget we will stay in our car for most of the time. I also checked out Couchsurfing and guess what?! We will try it for the first time! Scotland is also free to camp so I think, we will take advantage of this and sleep in a tent. What more do you wish for, it’s a 5 billion star hotel.  Additional luggae is of course more expensive and now I’m looking for a place, where we can rent camping equipment. Any suggestions?  I was searching online for a couple of days now and still havent found anything reliable. I should definetly find an easy set up tent and a sleeping bags for -20 degrees. I mean, it’s Scotland in march, we will need it. I was thinking we could use fitness centers for showering in big cities like Glasgow or Edinburgh, but since we wont stay for long there, staying with locals will help with our hygiene needs when we will travel over the country side. We could also take the other option and stay in a camp for a couple of days so we could shower properly, but it’s still kind of cold in March, so most campsites are closed.

Food

We will also save money by eating in. Well, it’s actually out, since we will live in our car mostly. I checked for some grocerie stores online, like Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s, and Morrison’s, Aldi and Lidl. Since Aldi and Lidl are the cheapest, we will probably just stick with those. I know, lower price means lower quality, but we are really on a budget here.

Travel around

I couldn’t believe it when I read the terms and conditions on Sixt, Hertz and many other car rentals. Why? Because I found out there is a deposit needed or you have to pay an extra for full insurance. So it’s really tricky, because you think you will pay about 30-40€ in Irealnd and 50 – 60€ in Scotland and drive around for a really small amount of money. I can’t even imagine what we would do when we’d arrive, try to pick up a car and a nice lady with funny accent behind a glass would say: “Thank you for reservation, your price is 345€ for a 4 day period. You can also go with a smaller price if you pay excess fee and we will hold 1500€ until you bring car back”. I would freak out, my boyfriend would freak out even more and our trip would start with an awkward fight. Enough off topic, I just want you to be really careful with hiring cars. I was naive, I can imagine you could be too.

Things you also need to know about hiring: Driver must be over 25 years old, if not, he must have drivers lincense for at least 5 years, right side driving, you can not drive to Northern Ireland from Ireland, because that would be crossing a board, which is not allowed in most car rentals, when you pick up a car, some companies will charge you about extra 50€ (or more) for gas and they will give you money back if tank is full when you return it. 

Attractions and things to do

It’s hard to decide which attractions we want to check out. The more I search for great places, the more I see every single corner in Ireland and Scotland is just perfect. It has such a Lord of the Rings vibe, doesn’t it? So we arrive in Dublin and probably stay the night, look around the town a bit. Next day we will go and take a look at Moher hills and O’Brien’s Tower. The cliffs also appeared in Hary Potter and the Half blood Prince. If you’re not a Harry Potter fan, you can also see it in Maroon 5’s Runaway music video. If you’re not a fan of that either, I’m sure there is a noumerous other media where you can see it. The next stop is Limmerick, where we will stay the night in one of the locals house. We will continue down to Killarney. I read somewhere, that it’s one of Ireland’s leading tourist destinations because of the big lake and especially because of the awesome mountain scenery in National Park. I also booked a horseriding to enjoy this beautiful landscape. Excited! We will enjoy Killarney and it’s nature treasures and then return straight to Dublin, to catch a plane for Scotland. The only part I am dissapointed about is that we wont be able to see Star Wars Island, Skellings Island. Bookings are availible from April to October. You can book also some mini-cruise around the island, without landing, and this is also available from Mid-March.

Anyway,  when we will arive to Scotland I am sure that we will explore Skye island the most, they say it’s one of the most spectacular places you can possibly visit there. It also wouldn’t be fair if we skipped Fairy Pools for which I read, that are very pleasant and that the trail is well marked plus theres is also a parking lot at trail head. Up in north we will take a walk to the The Old Man Of Storr and as I could see at the pictures online, it’s really something.  We should also check out the famous 21-arched Glenfinnan Viaduct, which is a railway viaduct on the West Highland Line in Glenfinnan, with stunning views over Loch Shiel. If that doesn’t ring a bell, you might remember it from Harry Potter movies. We will also stop on a way to highlands and take a moment for amazing Doune castle. This castle was often the filming location for famous series like Game of Thrones and Outlander. Since my boyfriend is the biggest fan of both, I’m sure he will enjoy it. Maybe we will also stop to see Loch Ness. If I’m honest, I’m not really impressed when I look at it online and we are very limited with time, so I don’t want to waste it. Well waste is probably too harsh, I’m sure it’s not that bad, but when I compare it with other places it just doesn’t look exciting enough. It’s sad though, because we all know that famous legend about Nessy. Maybe we would be lucky and see this little monster. Just kidding. We will return to the Glasgow on fifth day and drive with MegaBus to London. We will stay the night and at the morning we have a flight home. What will we do in London? I didn’t figure it out yet.

As I mentioned, I was careful with money and I honestly think there is no way we could spend less. If I gather my long post all together, we will stay for 10 days, drive about 600km, stay with locals, sleep in a car and cook by ourselves outside. For easier planning you can help yourself with these sites: Via Michelin Route planner (you can see distance, gas prices, additional costs and fees for road), Couchsurfing – staying with locals (I suggest that you rather use your phone and download an app, because it’s more reliable and it’s easier to find what you need) and of course TripAdvisor with combination of Lonely planet. How much will we spend? Plane tickets 160€, mega bus ticket 7,70€, car 210€, gas 250€, food 200€, tickets and fees 100€, other (gifts, emergencies, some extra tickets or fees etc.) 250€, total 927,7€ for two people, so that’s 463,85€ per person.

We also have extra 1500€ for car deposit (for Ireland 1500€ and 1000€ for Scotland). They put money on hold and return it when you bring it back. 

Did you do it cheaper? Do you have any advice? Any good Irish pubs to chill? Let me know in comments or in a private message, I’ll be happy to hear it.

Till nex time,

Nikita

7 thoughts on “Travel on a budget: Ireland and Scotland

  1. Great post, you’ve really done your research! I’m from Scotland so I can assure you that you will love it. I actually wrote a blog post on Arran, one of the islands in Scotland called “The Perfect Getaway” if you would like to check that out. The photographs will give you an idea of how beautiful and peaceful the islands such as Skye are as they are quite similar. Anyway, great blog post!

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    • Thanks for your feedback! I checked out your post and I must agree with your title, it really looks like a perfect getaway and nothing less. I wish we would have more time to explore, especially now when I saw those photographs. As you said, I’m sure we are going to love it and definitely come back someday. Oh, by the way, can you tell me where in Scotland I can buy a kilt and how much it costs? So far google told me nothing, hahhah.

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      • Hahaha I’m not sure of any exact shops where you could buy a kilt however Edinburgh is probably your best bet. It’s filled with Scotland shops so you should be able to buy one there. Wherever you go just look out for a proper Scotland shop (trust me you’ll be able to tell when its a Scottish shop, we’re rather patriotic haha) and you should be able to get a kilt from there.

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