A luxuriously thrifty Scotland getaway

My friends, who had previously lived a couple a minutes away from my place, moved to Scotland in July and promptly booked a holiday for us all to reconnect with them and check out their new digs. I spent a night with them in Glasgow then we took a wee road trip to the Trossachs where we’d rented out a cottage for a few days of rest, relaxation, hiking and tons of board games. This absolutely fabulous holiday was not only an amazing way to reconnect with amazing humans, but it cost me less than £200 for a 4 night stay.

A view of Loch Katrine

Loch Katrine a few minutes away from the cottage

Here’s the breakdown of the spending:

Flight + Coach (£35.19)

For years I revelled in the knowledge that I kept my carbon footprint lower than it could have been by not flying within the UK. That record was tossed out for this trip. When faced with a decision between remaining ethical and paying £137 for return train fares or flying and paying less than £40, I chose to fly. Unfortunately my flights got caught up in Ryanair’s pilot scandal, and my return leg was cancelled. I got a refund and booked a coach for that leg of my trip. Sadly I forgot I was supposed to be in London early and had to change my initial coach booking but I was only out-of-pocket £10 for the mistake.

Accommodation (£44.21)

My lovely friends were kind enough to host me for 1 night on the sofa at their digs in Glasgow. 6 of us then split the costs of a 2 bed cottage (+ sofa bed). We staggered the stays – with varying arrivals and departures – and so my portion of the bill came to a wee £44.21. I got to stay on a reasonably comfortable twin bed for the duration of my stay. This worked out cheaper than almost anywhere else I’ve paid for. There’s a lot to be said for going to the Trossachs in off-season. Oh em gee!

Food and drinks (£109.14)

Before we arrived, my friend created a Tesco shopping list and asked us to make suggestions / edit the list the day before it was to be delivered. We meal planned ahead for dinners. I made a rice one pot with crispy grilled chicken the first night. One of the others made an excellent lasagna for night two. There was a beautiful roast beef with all the trimmings (sans yorkshire pudding which we forgot) on night three. The fourth night, when I’d already left, the others enjoyed Haggis.

Breakfast options included porridge, cereal, and fry-ups – I had to have Lorne sausages which I adore. Lunches for the days we went hiking comprised mainly sandwiches which we made before we went out and took with us. We bought plenty of booze too – gin and tonics, Jack Daniels, lots of red wine (Malbec, Shiraz, Tempranillo, Chianti) and a couple of white wine bottles (including one that the hosts very kindly left for us), as well as tons of craft beer (Brewdog Dead Pony club I’m looking at you).

We went out a couple of days and had snacks or teas/coffees at tea rooms and the pier cafe. The Scottish have interesting names for some of their foods. That thing that looks like a pancake (top left image) is apparently a crumpet! On the final night in Glasgow, we splurged on a marvellous Cantonese dinner. I also picked up some water and crisps for the coach home. My share of the costs of all of these breaks down as:

  • Tesco shop including groceries and alcohol £36.75
  • Additional booze (extra Malbec) £5.50
  • Dining out £49.89

I shouldn’t forget the £17 meal I had at Stansted airport on Friday evening before I left London.

Entertainment (£0)

This was the most frugal aspect of this trip. It was a hiking/outdoorsy and board games trip so that’s mostly what we did. My mate wouldn’t hear of my paying towards petrol for the two scenic drives we took or the return journey from Glasgow. We entertained ourselves by:

  • Looking up our personality types via the Enneagram
  • Settlers of Catan – I got so mad after the second game that I will buy this and play it a lot to develop expertise – and at least 4 other board games I’d never tried and don’t remember the names of
  • Nomination Whist – my new favourite card game
  • Articulate – we even played this with just the cards in downtimes while a couple of people were cooking
  • Scenic drives
  • Walking round Loch Katrine, to the Devil’s pulpit , through Callander and Aberfoyle
  • Horse (a made up game where you shout every time you see a horse) in the car
  • A wee visit to one of the distilleries but we didn’t have enough time for a tour as we had to beat our Tesco delivery to the house

Aside from snacks and drinks purchased, entertainment cost us a big fat ZERO.

Wrap up

So there you have it. I went away for 5 nights, caught up with friends (and forged a tighter friendship with a couple of the people there), learnt a lot of new stuff, saw amazing vistas and just had an all round awesome holiday. I did this and came in under £200! We all decided this will be an annual jaunt and I cannae wait for next year’s installment.

One thought on “A luxuriously thrifty Scotland getaway

  1. Pingback: November spending review | A concession that I need to budget better | Diary of a reforming spendthrift

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