For the next six days I’ll have some information on the trips I’ve taken. I’m sure those I’ve taken recently will be a little more detailed, but in general the best planning tips are in my previous article, Planning Travel During Study Abroad.
Where I Went
Edinburgh was my first trip form London, purchased on a whim about 2 days before-hand. I went between 11 – 15 September which turned out to be one of my longer consecutive trips.
How I Got There
Booking my round-trip flight through EasyJet for about £100, there was also the matter of transport to and from the airports. Getting from Central London to Gatwick cost me about £20, but I didn’t book a return ticket – I bought them both separately and they were far different prices (£15 on the way there, but only £6 on the way back because we did group-save tickets and have zone 2 oyster cards). In Edinburgh, the Airlink return ticket is only £6. Flying out of Gatwick was pretty easy. We left super early to make sure we didn’t miss our flight (public transportation to the airport said it would take about an hour) and ended up having over an hour to spare after getting through security – which took probably half an hour.
Where I Stayed
Edinburgh’s Royal Mile Backpackers hostel was my first foray into staying in hostels, and was a pretty good experience honestly. It’s definitely not posh or anything but it gets the job done and is much less expensive. We booked through hostels.com, and I focus on three main criteria: low price, distance to city center, and rating. I’m not made of money, but I’m aiming to stay at places with an 80% or better rating and within a km to the center of city, if possible! At the very least, pull up a map and find out the location – if it’s too far out you’ll make up the saved money by paying for public transportation and giving up precious time to get anywhere.
This hostel was great because towel rental was 20 pence, lockers came free with your key deposit, and the free pub crawl was HUGE and a ton of fun! Not to mention everyone in our room was considerate, the bathrooms were pretty well maintained, and the common room/kitchen provided social opportunities. For 4 nights it cost me £65.
Edinburgh has public buses called Lothian with £3.5 a day tickets. These will take you around town or to the beach. :)
What I Did
Mostly we started out by eating a lot of food. Jake’s place has THE BEST sweet potato fries, which I’m not even a huge fan of normally! I think we got about 4 baskets of those guys. We had to try the recommended Mum’s Comfort Food and also even a bit of Haggis.
Site wise, I visited Holyrood Park, Calton Hill (but didn’t go up the Nelson Monument), saw St. Giles Cathedral from the outside, climbed up Arthur’s Seat, went into the Castle, and even made a short trip to a beach.
How Much I Spent
Staying in Edinburgh for 5 days made the trip very leisurely and relaxing. But, it also meant I was spending a lot more on accommodation and food. After that, touristy stuff, souvenirs, and travel fees, the entire trip cost me nearly £340 or $530.