Top 10 budgeting tips for the UK

Heading over to where Harry Potter lives? Nice one. Not sure how much money to take? No worries. The majority of people will tell you that London is expensive and the North of the UK is not, this is pretty accurate. But let’s be real, you’re not going to spend your holiday in some dark, gloomy corner of the North. These tips will help you see every inch of the UK and still come back with some dollar in your pocket.

1. Grab any and all, travel discounts

In London you’ve got the Oyster card, which is this easiest way of getting. You just top it up with an amount and Bob’s your uncle, you get a discounted rate. For the rest of the UK you can get the 16-25 Railcard, which is for 16-25 year olds, believe it or not. You get about a third off rail fares with one of these, so it’s definitely worth shelling out £30 ($48) for, and it lasts a year. Getting an ISIC student card could get you some discounts too (which you can currently get for *free – boom!).
*To get your FREE ISIC card you need to open a Westpac Choice account^^ . Click here for further details. it takes less than 3 minutes!

2. Go on walking tours

Want to see as much of a city as possible, but you’re not sure where to begin? See if there are any free walking tours in the area. This way you get a pretty knowledgeable local showing you the sights, including the incredible architecture (the UK’s got great buildings, just sayin’) – and they might even point out a good pub or two for after!

3. Go crazy for discounts

Brits love a good discount. The ISIC card gets you discounts on clothes shops (like Topshop), attractions (like Harry Potter World!) and travel. Plus you’ve got Groupon and Voucher Cloud too – which you can download to your phone. You definitely won’t regret getting these three money saving machines – discounts on food, drinks, and experiences – what more do you want?

4. They have budget-friendly supermarkets

If you’re planning on saving some money by cooking some of your own meals while you’re there, then a trip to the supermarket doesn’t have to be expensive (unless you shop at Waitrose, you fancy backpacker). Shout out here to Aldi and Lidl, thanks guys, you’re the best.

5. Stay in hostels

They’re usually cheaper than hotels, and although you won’t get a great Full English Breakfast included in the price, you will probably get access to tons of discounts for use in the city (money off entry prices to attractions and the like). And you might get some jam and toast on the house! What’s more, with an ISIC card, you get a bit of discount on hostels rates or hotels if you prefer.

6. The Brits are great at free stuff

Be it hiking in the Lake District, visiting historical places like the Natural History Museum in London, Lincoln Castle (which was just declared a top visitor attraction by VisitEngland), or trying to find the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland, the Brits are pretty great at keeping themselves occupied for free. Throw in some wild camping in Wales, the Glenveagh National Park in Ireland and you’ve got yourself a pretty epic itinerary – and it’s all free!

7. Happy hour

They’re also great at getting alcohol at low prices, take happy hour for example. You can usually find at least ten on any given night, no joke. This is a great way of getting the most out of London nightlife on a budget, because you can get amazing cocktails from as low as $6 – and it’s even cheaper than the North!

8. Get a local SIM

Get rid of those pesky data roaming charges, and just swap out your home SIM for a UK one. Giffgaff do some pretty awesome deals, like £10 ($16) for 2GB UK data, 100 UK minutes and unlimited texts. A deal any Brit would be jealous of.

9. Poundland

Poundland is a blessing – and it’s pretty obvious why. Everything is a pound… literally everything. You want headphones, they got ‘em. You want a big bag of lollies, they’ve got it. You want plugs, chargers, and plant pots – they’ve got these too. If there’s anything you need, this is a good place to start. You could save yourself some serious dollar (unlike the above, where people just seem to have left their dollar on the ceiling of a pub in Mexico.)

10. Free tea (or maybe coffee)

Make friends with a British person and if they invite you round their place you WILL get tea. It’s like a law of the nation. No matter what, you will be offered a cuppa (and maybe some biscuits if you’re lucky). This could save you a few pennies as you travel along.

Want to find out a little more about Great Britain? Have a look at our travel guide for fast facts, travel inspiration, area guides and other fun stuff.

Things you should know
^^ Before making a decision about the Westpac Choice account, please read the terms and conditions located at and consider whether the product is appropriate for you.
Once you’ve opened a new Westpac Choice account online and Westpac has verified your ID you will receive instructions about how to receive your card. Your free ISIC card will be valid for one year only. If you already have an ISIC Student or Youth card, you will be eligible for a $30 STA Travel voucher instead which is also valid for one year.