Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Britain on a budget

The last time I was in London, I shelled out $88 for two Thanksgiving pies -- one pumpkin, one pecan. The experience convinced me that Britain may simply be too dear for mere mortals -- and that was before the dollar dropped even further.

But as I'm researching an upcoming trip to Manchester (in northern England), Scotland and Ireland, I'm finding prices that are affordable, though not cheap.

In Troon, in Scotland's golf country, I've booked a night in a B&B called Copper Beech for 35 pounds, about $70. (The cost would be double if I were traveling with someone else.)

In St. Andrews, I'm paying more because the less expensive options were already taken ... a hint that you need to book really early. (Finding singles is also more difficult.) The going rate at St. Andrews B&Bs runs 35-50 pounds ($70-$100) per person.

One bonus to the B&Bs is that they include a hearty breakfast, so you can pig out early and pass on lunch, or just grab a sandwich.

In Ireland, I've found things a bit cheaper: somewhere between 28 and 55 euros per person, double, or $40 - $70. Again, a big breakfast is included.

In cities like Dublin and Manchester -- even London! -- the prices are cheaper if you're traveling this fall, midweek, and you're willing to stay in a two or three-star hotel. Booking on Hotels.com, I've seen prices for just over $100 for a double room in all three places, depending on the date. (Added advantage: I lock in the price in U.S. dollars.) And rental cars have been surprisingly affordable.

The key: Booking early. Even delaying a few days seems to push the price up.

1 comment:

King said...

Hello Jane

it always upsets me to hear from people who say that their trip to London was expensive. I do know what you mean, as I am living here for the past 3 years, but it necessarily doesn't have to be. As said, in my 3 years of living here, I discovered a city that is full of things to do for free the Museums are free and food can cost as little as £3 for a sandwich and a drink.

I hope that you will give London a second chance, as it doesn't always open up to visitors as its first glance.