How Much Does a Trip to Scotland Cost?

by Gigi Griffis

Sunny attic room
Our sunny, little attic room.

So often I hear people say “I would travel, but I just don’t have the money,” which is just silliness.

Traveling doesn’t have to be any more expensive than staying put (and, in fact, when you are staying put and accumulating stuff, you’re probably spending more money than you would laying on the beach with a book). And inexpensive traveling doesn’t have to be dirty or uncomfortable.

To prove it to you, I’ve been keeping detailed track of my expenses while traveling, and I’m going to share them here.

Keep in mind that I tend to live simply, but I’m not, by any means, traveling in the cheapest way possible. So, consider this budget traveling for those of us who are too old and grumpy to sleep in noisy hostels or eat every meal off a food truck. And, keep in mind, I’m traveling with a dog (I’ve tried to split out her expenses for the most part, though there may be some treats mixed up in the grocery bills)…so, that ups my expenses a bit.

Everything is tracked in US dollars.

Without further ado…

my expenses from one month in Edinburgh, Scotland:

Rent for my sunny attic room*
(including all cleaning and utilities and laundry)    
Train from Manchester to Edinburgh $76.84
And the dog, in her carrier, was free!
(Love the UK)
Currency exchange fee $4.95
Pet passport $55.57
Dog food $25.32
Dog supplies (toy, brush) $13.39
Restaurants & pubs $158.00
Groceries (eating in + supplies) $239.97
Curling iron $15.23
Medicine (from getting sick a couple times – boo)    $41.12
Post cards/gifts $11.59
Day-to-day transportation $0 (Edinburgh is wonderfully walkable)
Phone (online number via Skype) $5 (+ $10 Google call credit)
Health insurance $62
Misc.$40 (I’m guessing a little on this, but there were a few receipts lost and I have an idea of the general amount)
Total $1,697.91

Before leaving the U.S., I found a friend to cover my car insurance (aka. lease my car real cheap), I temporarily shut off my cell phone (eliminating that bill), and I stored my things in a friend’s basement (eliminating storage costs). So the only cost I had back home during my month in Edinburgh was my car payment.

In cases of more short-term travel (where you can’t get rid of all your stuff), you can still put a temporary hold on your cell phone (which means no cell bills), sub-let your house/apartment/room, and lend your car to a friend in exchange for her covering insurance and maintenance. Because having expenses at home at the same time is one of the things that makes traveling feel so expensive. If your travel expenses are your only expenses, it can be just as affordable as hanging out at home.

* Edlets guesthouse rental: This was, by far, not the cheapest option I had. Last I checked, you could rent a private room via Airbnb for less than $400 for the month. For me, though, needing WIFI, privacy for work, and a dog-friendly place, the guesthouse it was!

** Plane tickets vary so greatly that I haven’t included my pricing here (as its usefulness is debatable). I’ll probably write a “finding cheap plane tickets” post at some point, so watch for that for tips!

*** I have also not included all of Luna’s airline fees and such, as those things depend very much on where you come in from and what the status of your animal is (is it a pet? An ESA? A service animal?).

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Roommate #1 July 6, 2012 - 8:12 am

Great post! Travel really can be affordable. We paid for most of our last international trip by quitting eating out and going to movies for several months and saving the money instead. We didn’t really miss either one. And wild kangaroos are more fun to watch than movies anyway. :)

gigigriffis July 6, 2012 - 11:39 am


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JMMK February 12, 2013 - 5:38 pm

We we travel with our kids every summer and I’m working out the budget, I always consider the spending we won’t be doing to be “found” money to apply to the trip. No summer camp for our younges? For our last trip here are the costs I considered to be eliminated and therefore free money: no transit or gas for commuting ($175/wk); no groceries ($175/wk); no summer camp required for youngest child ($200/wk). That’s $550/wk to apply toward the travel budget. In addition we fly free on points from our airline affiliated credit card. So traveling to Europe with the kids every summer really isn’t that expensive.

gigigriffis February 12, 2013 - 9:16 pm

Really excellent points. All of the expenses you avoid at home can go toward your trip. Another thing that’s pretty easy to do is put cell phones on hold, so you aren’t paying cell bills while you aren’t using the phone. That’s one of my personal favs.

Bilal August 18, 2015 - 7:00 am

can you tell me how i come scottland i want to come with my family for vist from pakistan to scottland??? can you tell me

gigigriffis August 18, 2015 - 8:58 am

I have no idea what your question is. If you’re asking about visas, I’d contact the embassy. If you’re asking about flights, try

Tula Tisa January 24, 2019 - 4:22 am

I would like to stay with a family in Scotland for three weeks to write and rest. I need a warm room and will share food. Can ypu assist in my indevers? Thank you ..Tula Ferguson Tisa

gigigriffis January 24, 2019 - 7:32 am

I’d reach out to the tourism organization and see if there are home stays available. Good luck!

Josh January 17, 2014 - 11:37 am

Great breakdown!
Where were you able to find the room rental?

gigigriffis January 17, 2014 - 11:49 am – I emailed them directly.

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