Fancy a trip to Britain but think it's too expensive? As long as you stay clear of travel agents, you would be surprised at just how affordable a visit to the UK is, and below, you will find a number of great tips to make your vacation dream a reality for around $1,500.
Be willing to have numerous lay-overs: Direct flights, or those that have only one lay-over, are always going to be considerably more expensive than those that have up to 4 stops. If, for example, you are flying from San Antonio, Texas (SAT), to Birmingham, UK (BHX), you have the option of one brief change-over in Newark. This will cost you a few hundred dollars more than if you were to make stops in Chicago, Amsterdam, and Dublin. Lay-overs are usually between 2 and 5 hours, giving you plenty of time to find your way to the next gate for your transfer. For the cheapest fares, fly in January through to April, June, late September, and October and November. You can find some very competitively priced flights, here.
Avoid London: With the exception of your flights which will be marginally cheaper if you opt to fly to one of the main airports in London, such as Heathrow, avoid staying in London if you want to be frugal. While London is a great place for tourists, it is also the most expensive city in the entire of the UK. Besides, if you really must see the capital, then you can always commute for a daytrip from anywhere in Britain by public transport. You can find timetables and fares for rail travel, here.
Stay inland: The closer you are to the sea, the more expensive accommodation will be. Avoid major cities, and look for lodgings in smaller towns. Public transport in the UK is very popular with Brits; buses, trains, and coaches all run regularly and are usually very affordable, (see link above), so regardless of where you stay, you won't be limited or stranded due to lack of transport. One hotel chain in particular has very competitive rates, and has locations all over Britain. Click here for Travelodge.
Self cater: Britain has a vast array of culinary delights on offer, and you don't need to pay a fortune to feed yourself during your visit there, nor do you need to eat unhealthily to save money. Eating out in the UK is expensive, so to save yourself a few pounds, stock up at a supermarket with necessities such as bread, sandwich fillings, fruit and vegetables. Avoid local convenience stores though, because they bump their prices up considerably compared to larger supermarket chains. Most hotel rooms these days have a small fridge and a microwave, so buy foods with this in mind. Prepare yourself a packed lunch for excursions, and you'll find that you'll have more cash left to spend on your evening meals.
Visit tourist information centres: Even the smallest towns and villages have them, and the tourist information centre is your best bet for finding out where to go and what to see in Britain. There are many parks and gardens, ruins and monuments, that are free to the general public, plus a countless supply of historic churches and other buildings that do not require entrance fees. Be careful when taking photographs in cathedrals, however, as some of them request that you obtain a photography permit, or make a donation upon entry.
Talk to the locals: Whenever possible, chat with the locals about their town, particularly if you're staying in, or visiting, a smaller village. This is the best way to get insight into lesser known places of interest, good food, and great scenery.
Here are some more links that will help you make the most of your trip to Britain. A week in the UK, inclusive of airfare, accommodation, and spending money of 500.00 GBP, is more than possible on a budget of less than $1500, (based upon a single traveler).
All public transport in the UK