Daily Travel Costs in the UK on a Shoestring Budget
US$60 | £50
The UK is well known as being as an expensive country to visit but our UK backpacking budget of £50/day is by no means unrealistic. The biggest expense is generally accommodation which is not cheap. Couchsurfing is a good idea here and you can get by on much less than £50 per day if you do a lot of it. Travelling around isn’t that expensive as it is a pretty small country and flying is recently necessary at any point unless you want to visit Northern Ireland, in which case there are a host of budget airlines that cater for that with flights from £20 or less plus £10-15 for your backpack.
Getting around in the UK can be very cheap too, but it really does help to book trains and buses in advance. This can all be done online via The Trainline, while Megabus offer some extremely cheap coach travel between the big cities. Eating and drinking out remains expensive though and you can easily blow £45 on a night out alone in most UK cities. If you’re looking to save a bit of cash, then start your night in Wetherspoons, which is a popular chain of pubs that has the best deals on drinks and can be found all over the country, with most cities having several.
As a general rule London and the Southeast is considerably more expensive than the rest of the country but you can still get stung badly in cities like Edinburgh, which receives plenty of visitors.
See where the UK ranks on our World Budget Travel Table.
More Comfortable UK Backpacker Budget
US$80 | £65
£65 per day is a lot of money to spend as a budget traveller but on this kind of budget, you can afford to stay in the best hostels and be a bit less rigid with your planning and just buy transport tickets on the day which is normally considerably more expensive than doing it in advance. One of the good things about the UK is that a lot of museums are free to visit, but many attractions can cost in the region of £20 for entry so you can afford to visit a few more of them on this kind of budget.
One other bit of good news for budget travellers in the UK is that since Britain voted to leave the EU in 2016, the Pound has taken several serious hits so visitors from around the world should now find it slightly more affordable.
Sample Prices in the UK
London to Birmingham by train – from £6 (booked in advance), £15 on the day
London to Manchester by train – from £20 (booked in advance), £80 on the day
Day Travelcard on London Underground – £12
Pint of Beer in a pub – £3-4 (£4+ in London)
Meal in an inexpensive restaurant or pub – £8+
Cheap dorm bed in a city – £12-15+ (often considerably more at busy times)
Stonehenge admission fee – £15.50 adults, £13.90 students
Currency – Great British Pound
€1 = £0.86
US$1 = £0.82
(All exchange rates are correct as of January 2017)
Apart from the odd retail store with dubious exchange rates, Euros are not accepted anywhere in the UK with the exception of a few parts of Northern Ireland which are close to the border to the Republic of Ireland, which uses the Euro. If you are considering hopping over the Irish Sea then read about the cost of travel in Ireland.
Stay at a proper British pub! The Exmouth Arms, conveniently located near Euston Station has 6 and 8 bed dorms above the bar.
street art in Bristol, England
(photo may be re-used with a link to this page)
Share your Travel Costs!
If you’ve travelled in the UK recently, please let everyone know your typical daily costs by commenting below 😉
This article was published in June 2016. Exchange rates were updated in January 2017.