Scotland is the land of magical castles, beautiful beaches, lush rolling hills, and majestic mountains. It is home to 790 islands and the Eas a’ Chula Aluinn waterfall, three times the height of Niagara falls. With beautiful sights and fascinating activities offered on a platter, it’s normal to want to visit Scotland. But what will a typical visit cost?
It will cost you an average of $1606 to go on a 7-day trip to Scotland. The average cost of a round-trip from North America to Scotland is $630, and the average daily expense is $139. This average daily expense covers $57 for accommodation, $30 for transportation, $31 for meals, and $21 for attractions and activities.
Although travel costs to Scotland usually fluctuate, it is still an affordable destination that can be covered on a budget. However, before you pack your bag for a Scotland trip, you’ll need to create a detailed budget. Here’s a detailed look into everything that should go into your budget.
How Much Money Should You Take On A Trip To Scotland
Scotland is generally an affordable location to stay in compared to the rest of the United Kingdom, and you don’t have to break the bank. You can travel to Scotland with a budget of $1606 and still enjoy all the beautiful things that Scotland offers tourists.
Flight tickets cost $630, which will significantly reduce if you travel during the shoulder season (spring). You will spend an average of $31 daily for meals or less if you consider cooking your meals.
With a few lifestyle changes, you can keep accommodation, feeding, and transportation at a reasonable price. Mid-range hotels cost $57 per night and are clean with all the necessary amenities. However, public transit is pricey, and a single ticket costs up to $20.
Scotland is a beautiful city, and tourists are mostly drawn to the fact that most sightseeing activities are mainly free. However, you can budget $21 for tickets to museums, day tours, and other popular activities.
There’s no limit to your budget if you are a luxury traveler that leans toward an expensive lifestyle. First-class flight tickets to Scotland can go as high as $2000, and eating out costs $150. The average 4 to 5-star hotel costs $290 per night, and you can rent an entire house for $400 per day.
Can You Travel To Scotland On A Tight Budget?
Yes, you can travel to Scotland on a budget. Scotland is already a relatively affordable location, so you just need a few tweaks here and there to pull down your travel costs.
Finding decent flight fares from North America to Scotland, especially to smaller airports, is possible. Scotland is also a popular camping destination, so you’ll find tons of cheaper accommodation alternatives spread around the city.
The average amount of money you can budget for a 7-day trip on a tight budget is $800-$900. Spring is shoulder season in Scotland, and average flight fares can get to as low as $300 round-trip. It would be best if you also considered flying to smaller airports with budget airlines rather than to major international airports.
With this budget, your average daily spend will come down to $89. You can consider wild camping for free or pay $8-$10 for one of the several campsites scattered around the country. The average cost of a hostel is $20-$40 per night or $40-$60 per night for a mid-range hotel.
Meals can be pricey, but cooking your meals will significantly reduce your food budget. You can get a large filling portion of fish and chips for $5 or spend $10 daily on groceries to make your meals.
Public transportation is costly in Scotland, and a single ticket rarely goes below $20. Car rental is the better alternative; it costs $30 per day, and $20 worth of fuel can last up to two days. You can explore the country on your own without paying for activities.
Basic Expenses On A Trip To Scotland
Scotland may not be the cheapest country to visit, but it is affordable compared to most other popular destinations in the UK. Here’s a detailed breakdown of each cost to help you plan your budget accurately.
1. Flight Tickets
Flight tickets take a significant part of your travel budget. The average flight from North America to Scotland is $630, depending on the season.
Costs can vary for travelers coming from other parts of the world. So we recommend contacting a local airline beforehand to know what your flight fare will cost you.
Spring is the shoulder season, and flight tickets are usually reasonable. In addition, several airlines also offer seasonal flights at affordable rates. Edinburgh is usually the destination airport, but Glasgow airport offers the best deals on flight tickets.
Like most destinations, accommodation will take the most significant chunk of your budget. However, Scotland offers a wide range of accommodation styles to fit every budget. You can either go for a hostel, Scottish B&Bs, Mid-range to luxury hotels, and Vacation rentals.
Larger cities, such as Edinburg, and Glasgow, have varieties of hotels, so there’s a better probability of finding a hotel that suits your budget. The average dorm bed in a hostel costs $20 per night.
Scottish B&Bs are a popular choice for most travelers and cost an average of $70-$100 per night. They are cozy and warm with friendly owners and scattered throughout the countryside.
The average Mid-range hotel in Scotland costs $57 per night. It is important to remember that this price also depends on the city you are visiting. Mid-range hotels can cost $125 in bigger cities or less in small towns.
A 4 to 5-star hotel costs an average of $180 per day. Or you can go for a unique experience at Scottish castle hotels starting from $250 per night.
Depending on your location, you can get a private room at $50-$70 per night. Remember that Scotland is not densely populated and finding Airbnb outside the city can be challenging.
Car rentals are a popular means of transportation in Scotland. At an average cost of $30 per day, it guarantees you the freedom to soak in the beautiful landscape at your pace. However, the roads are small and winding, especially with the crazy weather, so you may need a while to get used to them.
Additionally, you will have to factor in the cost of fuel and parking. $20 fuel can often last up to two days, although that can significantly depend on the distance you’ll cover. Finally, a manual transmission is often cheaper than an automatic and usually has weekly discounts.
Buses and trains are another great way of moving around. They are also relatively popular and cover most major Scotland cities. However, they can be expensive and do not allow for as much flexibility as rented cars. The average bus ticket is $20, and you will also have to walk around several locations in the city.
Scotrail connects major towns and cities; an average ticket costs $30. The train offers a great way to enjoy a scenic environment while traveling through Scotland and England. ScotRail has a tourist rail pass with unlimited travel, and the most popular is the 4-day pass for $149.
Ferries are also available to take you to any of the Islands. The cost depends on the location you are traveling to and if you are coming along with a vehicle. However, the average price of a ferry ride is $21.30.
4. Food & Drinks
Although not a food hotspot like Italy or France, dining in Scotland is still a delightful experience. The city’s food supply is mostly controlled by small restaurants and pubs, which makes the prices reasonable.
Breakfast is usually the cheapest meal and costs an average of $10-$15. However, most guesthouses, hotels, and B&Bs always include a standard breakfast in their service. Scottish breakfast is similar to English and includes eggs, salmon, toast, baked beans, tomatoes, and sausage.
Lunch and dinner usually cost between $10-$20 per meal, and a pint of beer is $4. However, you can grab a sandwich from the grocery store for lunch and make your dinner for less. A fine dining experience is usually more expensive at an average cost of $60-$120.
5. Attractions & Activities
The “right to roam” in Scotland is a free pass for visitors to access and explore the country’s beauty. Scotland is a natural beauty where you can explore everything independently. For example, you can go hiking, visit the beach, walk around quaint towns, and explore forgotten castles and ruins.
However, you can still enjoy paid activities and tours that cost between $10-$100. These activities include bike tours, kayaking, distillery tours, and cultural activities. The cost can go up if you want a tour guide and executive treatment in most of the locations.
6. Travel Insurance And Miscellaneous Purchases
It is always advisable to get travel insurance when visiting another country. This insurance protects you against financial mishaps such as missed flights, medical emergencies and stolen luggage. Check the different quotes of each agency and choose the one that covers everything.
Scotland is home to high-quality souvenirs you should include in your budget. Set aside about $100 to buy gifts such as cashmere blankets, scarves, tartan and plaid prints. You should also consider other miscellaneous spending, such as tips.
Tips On How To Save Money While Traveling To Scotland
Whether you are backpacking on a budget or traveling in luxury, a good deal is always appreciated. Learning how to cut costs can help you enjoy your Scotland vacation better. Below are several tips to save money while on your trip to Scotland.
1. Travel Off-Peak Season
All destinations have seasons in which flight fares and accommodation skyrocket. Scotland is a year-round destination; however, the summer months (June to August) are peak seasons, and airfares skyrocket during this time.
November to mid-December and January to March are shoulder seasons. During this period, the crowd reduces, and you will get better deals on flights and accommodation.
2. Take A Connector Train
Scotland is a part of the United Kingdom, just like England. It is usually cheaper to fly to London before going to Scotland. London is a major travel destination, and cheaper round rates and seat sales are readily available.
Consider flying to London and taking a shorter flight with a budget airline such as Ryanair. Or you can choose to use the train from London to Edinburgh.
3. Book In Advance
It is common knowledge that booking your flight and accommodation in advance saves you money. Some travelers found that booking even five weeks earlier significantly reduces the cost of these Items.
Many airlines offer early bird tickets with discounts resulting in cheaper flights and fees. Also booking your accommodation in advance allows you to choose the best rooms with decent deals.
Most importantly, booking your train tickets in advance saves you a great deal. Trains in Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom are expensive. You will seldom find a train ticket for less than $20 if you buy it on the same day.
4. Prepare Your Meals
The most budget-friendly food option is preparing your own meals. Most travelers have discovered that this option saves them a lot of money.
Scotland has budget supermarkets such as Lidl or Aldi, where groceries are affordable. Since most hostels, Airbnb, and vacation rentals have cooking facilities, you can always prepare your meals.
On some days, cooking might be the last thing on your mind. In that case, most high-end restaurants in Scotland usually offer discounted lunch specials. You can get 2-3 course meals at only $10-$15, compared to the same meal costing $25-$35 at dinner.
5. Travel In Groups
A significant benefit of traveling in groups is the money you get to save. Splitting the bills for accommodation, transportation, and food among yourselves saves a great deal.
Most times, large groups often receive discounts on attractions and tours. In addition, they also get priority service due to headcount.