(That’s R110 for my fellow pound deprived South Africans)
It’s easy to get carried away with spending a ton of money on tourist activities and expensive lunches in a city like Glasgow but if you’re a recent graduate on a budget like I am, you don’t have that luxury.
But all is not lost; find some free wifi (shout out to my gran for giving me her password), spend a few minutes doing research on your destination and you’ll be sorted.Earlier this year, I went on a Eurotrip and bussed across the continent with Topdeck.
Looking back, I think I spent most of my money in London. Firstly, because everything in the city is expensive in comparison to my hometown of Durban BUT it is also super jazzy so I wanted to experience it all (this included dropping hundreds of rands on the Harry Potter Studio Tour #noragrets). Secondly, because coming from South Africa, where our currency is incredibly weak – it was +- R24 to every £1 in January – everyday activities like having lunch or paying for a night in a hostel are going to be a lot more than they would be back home.
So I had to budget and bargain hunt hard. Venturing overseas again at the end of June – this time for much longer than a month – means that I have to be even more careful with my cash. The aim is to get as much out of travelling in a new city or country as possible without going broke in the process.
And so I give you: Glasgow for £5.50 *incredulous gasp*
TRANSPORT: All Day Bus Tickets are your new BFF
Situated along the River Clyde, Glasgow is Scotland’s biggest city and the third largest in the UK. If you’re staying in the city center you could reasonably walk from place to place (and get some fabulous calf and glute muscles at the same time) but if you’re staying in the suburbs you will need to catch a ride into town. Unlike South Africa, Scotland has an incredibly efficient public transport system. That means busses have become my new best friend.
Paying for single trips is sooo 2000 and late. Lol please pretend I never typed that. The best (and most frugal) thing to do if you’re sightseeing in the city is an all day bus pass which you can get from Glasgow’s SimpliCITY bus service for £4.50.
R100 and myself and my travel buddy Caitlin can bus all over the city zone until 1am #publictransportballers
There are also weekly bus passes available for £15.50 which is amazing value for money but weigh this up against everything you plan to do in the city because you might not be travelling to the city center every day.
Another trick is finding two for one weekend specials for bus tickets. All you need is a buddy and £2.25 each. Easy.
ACTIVITIES: Get cultured in museums and galleries
One of the best things to do in cities across the UK is to visit a gallery because majority of the national and city museums and galleries are FREE to enter *celebrates in British*
In Glasgow, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is spectacular. Once you’ve spent hours perusing the exhibits you can spend some time outside walking through the gardens or visit the University of Glasgow (aka Hogwarts) around the corner.
Spending some time making a bucket list and marking out free things to do is a must for travelers on a budget.
Three other excellent (and free) activities are: visiting the Glasgow Cathedral, walking through the Necropolis (a Victorian cemetery right next to the Cathedral) which offers some amazing views of the city… and the Tennent Caledonian Breweries, and visiting the Glasgow Green and the People’s Palace.
FOOD: Sainsbury’s crisps. No I’m not joking.
There are lunch specials for about £4.50/£5.50 at most restaurants in the city but because we weren’t feeling super hungry on that first day out in Glasgow, we simply popped into a Sainsbury’s on Argyll Street and bought some crisps and water. While it wasn’t the classiest lunch choice, or my first choice for a nutritious meal, it hit the spot at the time AND didn’t cost much.
Unfortunately, the classlessness was upped a notch because there were six pack bags of cheesy wotsits on sale for a pound. We threw aside any worries of being ladylike, bought the big bag and ate them on the bus. And then shoved the last two packets into our bags before touring Kelvingrove because we’re not /that/ common.
If scoffing cheesy wotsits on the bus isn’t your thing, find a lunch special, or better yet pack a lunch at home and then find a nice spot in a park to relax and snack. If its raining, which Is most probably will be, bring a brolly.
My cheap day in Glasgow came down to free activities, a £4.50 all day bus pass and £1 at Sainsbury’s. I’m hoping to repeat the pattern in the other cities I aim to visit over the next few months.
Hopefully with a little less cheesy wotsit bus snacking.