16 Days in the UK: How I Did It For Under SGD 2000 Including Flights

16 Days in the UK: How I Did It For Under SGD 2000 Including Flights

You don't have to worry about that hole in your pocket anymore! Here are 6 tips to help you make the most out of your trip to the Land of Hope and Glory.

That is $2000, including your air ticket – and yes, it is definitely possible! When I first landed in London in June 2014, I remember my buddy and I being asked by a skeptical immigration officer if we would be able to survive 16 days around the UK. Admittedly, I did feel a little apprehensive myself. I’ve heard many stories of the UK being a place that will do a number on your wallet, but to both our surprises, we came out with a little extra than expected. Here’s how to enjoy your time there without worrying too much about that hole in your pocket.

1. Overnight Travel – Sleep on the Go

uk budget travelImage credit: James Emery

I know buses take much longer than trains, but hear me out: not only do you get to save some bucks, you get the option of travelling overnight and saving the money you’d use for accommodation. Out of the 16 days we spent in the UK, we spent one night travelling from Manchester to Glasgow, and another night going from Edinburgh to London. Let me tell you, it was a huge relief on our pockets.

2. Share a Room – Make some friends while you’re at it

Image credit: YHA

On days when you’re not going to travel overnight, you’re probably going to be looking for reasonably-priced accommodation. You’re also probably going to fret after remembering how everyone says that the UK is pretty expensive.

Well, never fear! You’ve got a variety of places to choose from. If you want the cheapest option available, websites such as Hostelworld and Hostelbookers present you with different options ranging from hostels, hotels, guesthouses and the like. The cheapest options are usually hostels, where you would probably be sharing a room with a few other people. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though – you get to meet and make friends with people from all over the world!

Other options include Airbnb and Couchsurfing, the latter of which could save you a ton of dollars if you’re willing to do it. Plus sides for these options include personal interactions with the host (that is, if you chose to do so on Airbnb), who could give you advice or might even be kind enough to bring you around by themselves.

If you’re looking for something a little more homey, you could always consider bed-and-breakfasts (also known as B&Bs). These places are usually owned by nice couples or families, and you could save a significant amount of money as breakfast is always served for you. As a slight bonus, these people would probably be able to give you a tip or two about what to do and see!

Be careful, though: book early before all the cheap and good places run out!

3. Supermarket Food is Pretty Awesome in the UK

Image credit: Tesco PLC

If you’re looking for a good, cheap meal, look no further than the supermarket down the street. Most, if not all, supermarkets there sell a variety of ready-to-go food that are between £2-£4, ranging from sandwiches to pasta salads. They even have foods from different cuisines if you feel like you’re missing home or want to try something new!

If you prefer a more DIY approach to your meal, certain outlets have salad bars that present a variety of fillings such as quinoa, potato salads and chickpeas. You can squash as many things as you want into a plastic bowl in the size of your choice – the highest price anyone pays for these salad bowls is about £4, which is the price for the largest bowl there. Personally I think that the medium bowl, which goes for £2.75, is more than enough. My buddy was satisfied by a small bowl which goes for £1.49. Whatever you choose, you can be certain that you’ll get a good, filling meal for a small price.

You could also buy some groceries and make use of the cooking facilities in a hostel if you’re staying in one. Not only are groceries relatively cheap in the UK, you also get to meet the other people staying in the hostel since the kitchen is almost always a shared space in any hostel. It’s time to break out of that shell and make some friends!

Image credit: YHA

You might also come across outdoor markets like the one below on your leisurely stroll around the place. JUMP ON THAT CHANCE TO GET SOME THINGS! We came across this particular outdoor market in Bath on our first day there, and when we saw these, we knew we had to grab something. Not only are the food items they sell cheap, they are extremely fresh, succulent and comes in a reasonably-sized packaging. So if you ever come across markets like these during your time there, you know that you’ve been blessed.

4. The Best Way to Explore the City is to…

Walk. Yes, you heard me right – choose to walk as your mode of transportation. Sure, it might not be feasible to walk to every single place you want to see, but chances are, the places you want to see are mostly clustered within the same area. Our rule for choosing whether to walk is this: if Google Maps says it takes 30 minutes or below to reach there by walking, then walking it shall be. You may or may not want to follow this rule, but you might miss out on cool stuff that you won’t usually get to see along the way. The picture below shows me after getting lost in a random, yet quietly beautiful area in Bath.

You might be thinking: won’t it be tiring to walk around all the time? And won’t it be hot? Let me answer that: it might be tiring, but it won’t be as tiring as it would be in Singapore because of the weather! A summer’s day in the UK is warm, but not uncomfortably hot and humid as it is in Singapore all year round. The weather is lovely enough for you to meander down a random street, pick up a coffee or a pastry, and continue on your leisurely way. Take it from me, a then-unfit girl who abhors the humidity in Singapore. You’ll love this.

Of course, you might not be fully convinced by what I’ve said, and that’s cool. You still can take the bus or metro. Be sure to look out for travel day passes and the like that allows for unlimited travel on for a stated price! The Oyster Card can also help to save some cash if you are going to spend a significant amount of time in London. It always pays to keep an eye out for anything that can shave some dollars off your expenditure on your travel within a city.

5. Look Out for FREE Things

Image credit: Barney Moss

What saves your wallet more than subsidised things? Things that are free, of course! There are always things to do and places to see that are absolutely free of charge, and your wallet will be singing your blessings to you because of it.

This picture was taken after we jumped on a walking tour provided by our hostel in Edinburgh, and I probably spent half an hour huffing and puffing up a hill while my buddy and the other backpackers were leisurely strolling around me. The view we saw made it all worth it, though – look at the sights we were treated to! We also saw the Heart of Midlothian, which is located on the ground outside Saint Giles Cathedral at the High Street section of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically representing the old Tolbooth building where the people back then would spit on it to show their contempt towards the authority. Yeah, you read that right. People still do it now. You’d probably understand why I don’t have pictures of it.

Also read: 15 Steps to Travelling London On a Budget

Anyway, enough about my experience and more about what you can do. History and museum buffs would be happy to know that most of London’s top museums are free, as well as entries to parks and museums. If it’s summer, make sure to bring your swimsuits as the UK is home to some of the most beautiful beaches. If you’re considering hiking, there are places such as Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh waiting for you to step foot on.

There are always free walking tours in London that have different itineraries, so just sign up for one that best suits what you want to see and you can witness the magic of London without busting a penny. Get started by looking through Free Tours By Foot, Free Tours of London and Free London Walking Tours! Yes, pardon the numerous use of the word ‘free’ but doesn’t it just go to show just how many free things there are lying around? You just have to keep a sharp eye out for it!

6. Youth Deals are your Friend

Image credit: EDDIE

This is one for the youths! The world seems to love us, because there are deals and discounts everywhere just waiting for us to use them. Seriously, I can’t tell you how much youth deals had saved our pockets. I know how detrimental plane tickets can be on your budget, but with the International Student Identity Card (ISICS) card, you students out there won’t have to worry. For just $25, you can get one of their snazzy-looking cards with the STA, and you can enjoy up to 40% off air tickets. That would  probably take care of one of the bigger burdens on your budget.

With regards to travelling within the UK itself, don’t fret. My buddy and I travelled around using Megabus and National Express – Megabus tickets rarely go above £10 for domestic travels, and National Express has a Young Persons Coachcard that will get you 1/3 off standard fares, all for just £10. The buses are pretty comfortable too – there is at least one power socket per seat, the legroom is pretty reasonable, and the seats are quite cushy. You can travel around the UK without worrying about how that bus ticket is going to blow a hole in your budget.

Also read: 8 Places You Must Visit in United Kingdom

I’m sure that this list is non-exhaustive and others may have their own tips as well, so make sure to ask around! I do hope that this article has helped you potential UK-goers in some way.

About Author

Farzana Fattah
Farzana Fattah

Farzana is a student at Singapore Management University who’s currently wondering what on earth she’s doing with her life. When not nerding out over the latest superhero movie or scrolling through memes on Tumblr, she is almost definitely researching random places across the globe and daydreaming about the next holiday destination. She is inspired by the variety of cultures in the world and hopes to travel to at least fifty countries in her lifetime to experience most of them.


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