Budget tips: What did we spend traveling Scotland?

How expensive is a road trip through Scotland? In this blog, we will answer the question of how much money we spend on our ten days trip through Scotland!


How much money did we spend in Scotland?

First a disclaimer: Everyone travels in his own way and has different priorities. That is completely fine, but keep this in mind when you read through our expenses. It can always be more expensive or cheaper!

We made a ten-day trip through Scotland, of which we spent two days in Edinburgh and then we made a road trip through the Scottish Highlands. We travelled by campervan. Sometimes we camped campsites, other times we went free camping. During this trip, we kept costs low by cooking a lot ourselves, this way we stayed within budget. The biggest expenses were the campervan and gasoline.

During this trip, we had collaborations which resulted in discounts on activities or transportation. I didn’t include these discounts in the calculation below since I want to give a representative picture of the actual prices in Scotland.Scotland Isle of Skye


What were our total spendings in Scotland?

Number of days: 10

Total spend: £1255,74 /€1445,58 / $1624,52
Spendings per person: £627,87 /€722,79 / $812,26
Spendings per dag: £125,57 /€144,56 / $162,45

 Activities: £70,24 /€80,86 / $90,87
Camper van: £489,67 /575,34 / $633,47
Accommodation (9 nights): £171,28 /197,18 / $221,58

These expenses do not include airline tickets and are based on two people. I have calculated the prices and exchange rates Pound / Euro and Euro / Dollar at the time of this trip (April 2019). The currencies displayed are Pound (£), Euro (€) and USA Dollar ($).Scotland


Accommodations: 14% of the total budget of Scotland

Total spend: £171,28 /€197,18 / $221,58
Number of nights: 9
Average price for 2 people per night : £19,03 /€21,91 / $24,62

Accommodations are generally not cheap in Scotland. But since we were travelling with a campervan, we saved a lot of money on this. We paid for a camping spot between £ 16 and £ 20 (this may be more in high season, we generally had non-electrical spots). We went two nights free camping/ wild camping. These nights were therefore for free.

Wild camping (or actually free camping) is generally tolerated in Scotland and you can stay at the most beautiful places (read this article that explains what is and is not allowed during free camping). The only drawback (for us) is that you don’t have a hot shower or toilets in the area. During those cold April mornings, this was something we missed a lot.

In Edinburgh, we slept in this Airbnb. This apartment is a little outside the city centre, but it’s clean and very cheap, just € 45 per night!Scotland


Transportation: 21% of the total budget of Scotland

Total spend: £272,36 /€313,54 / $352,34
Bus tickets : £27,40 /€31,65 / $35,44
Ferry tickets: £16 /€18,48 / $20,69
Gasoline: £221,81 /€256,24 / $286,95

The biggest expenses in the category transportation are gasoline spendings. Because we drove over 1000 miles, we had to refuel a number of times. The price of tickets for the ferry from Isle of Skye to Mallaig was not that bad at all. It costs £3 per person, plus another £10 for our campervan.

Tip1: are you going by tram from Edinburgh Airport to the centre? Then consider buying a return ticket. This ticket has an open return date, you can decide yourself when you will use it again. A single ticket costs £6, while a return ticket costs only £8.50.

Tip2: Do you want to buy a bus ticket with cash? Then keep in mind that no change is given. This way, our bus tickets suddenly became very expensive.Scotland campervan Wester Ross


Campervan: 40% of the total budget of Scotland

Total spend: £489,67 /575,34 / $633,47
Insurance: £120 /€141 / $155,24
Number of days:  8
Average per day: £61,21 /€71,92 / $79,18

Should I put the costs of the campervan under accommodation or under transport costs? In the end I chose, to make a separate category, just as I did in the budget blog for New Zealand.

At £37 per day our campervan itself is not expensive (we travelled in low season, prices are higher in high season). On top of this, we took the full insurance and when we had a car breakdown we were very happy with this. We also opted for extra options such as bedding (£ 20), a table and chairs (£ 20) and the winter warmer packet (£ 25). The latter contained extra gas bottles and a heater, in retrospect, we did not use them at all so that was not necessary.

By traveling with a campervan, I think we have made our road trip considerably cheaper. We needed a car anyway and there is not much difference in price between a normal car or a Spaceships Campervan.

Tip: We rented the largest campervan, but looking back, we would have been fine in a smaller model as well. That had also slightly reduced the costs (both for gasoline and for the rent).Cairngorms National Park


Food: 19% of the total budget of Scotland

Total spend: £242,06 /€278,66 / $313,15
Spendings on coffees or restaurants: £88,39 /€101,76 / $114,35
Spendings on groceries: £153,67 /€176,90 / $198,79

Yoghurt with fresh fruit and granola in the morning, a baguette with hummus in the afternoon and a tasty couscous salad with a glass of wine in the evening. Yes we ate very well in Scotland! And that for relatively little money: we almost always cooked ourselves.

Once we had lunch in a restaurant, at the Kisorn Seafood bar and wow, I still dream of their crab legs and fat salmon! Furthermore, we sometimes bought a coffee, got something to eat at the airport or ate a piece of pie somewhere.Scotland


Activities: 6% of the total budget of Scotland

Total spend: £70,24 /€80,86 / $90,87
Whiskey tour: £20 /€23,1 / $25,87
Boat tour: £50 /€57,76 / $64,68

Castles, beautiful gardens and museums. We didn’t enter one of them during this trip. Mostly because we enjoyed the beautiful nature too much but also since these activities are often expensive. We did, however, make a very nice boat trip looking for dolphins at the Isle of Skye and we joined a whiskey tour (and even better, a tasting!).

Tip: are you planning to visit Scotland’s castles, gardens or historic buildings? Then consider becoming a member of National Trust for Scotland. With a membership that costs just £ 60 a year, you get access to thousands of castles, gardens and archaeological sites (and you can park for free in many places!).Tomatin Distillery


What do food and other things cost in Scotland?

What is the price level in Scotland? I answer that question below by displaying the prices of normal food and expenses during a trip.

  • 1 Kilo apples: £1,85 /€2,13 / $2,39
  • 150 ml olive oil: £1,30 /€1,49 / $1,68
  • 1 Bag of potato chips: £2 /€2,30 / $2,59
  • 1 Kilo bananas: £2,05 /€2,36 / $2,65
  • Bowl of Yogurt (1L): £1,90 /€2,18 / $2,46
  • 1 Bread: £1,10 /€1,26 / $1,42
  • 1 Avocado: £1,10 /€1,26 / $1,42
  • Bottle of milk (2.2L): £1,09 /€1,24 / $1,40
  • Bottle of coke (1L): £1,70 /€1,96 / $2,19

  • Bottle of water (2L): £0,45 /€0,52 / $0,58
  • Bottle of wine in the supermarket (750 ml): £6,50 /€7,48 / $8,41
  • Bottle of beer in the supermarket: £1 /€1,15 / $1,29
  • Shampoo: £2 /€2,30 / $2,59
  • Cappuccino: £3 /€3,45 / $3,88
  • Glass of wine in a restaurant : £4 /€4,60 / $5,17
  • Local beer in a restaurant: £3 /€3,45 / $3,88
  • Simpel lunch/dinner(1 pers):  £25 /€28,78 / $32,34
  • 1 Liter diesel: £1,36 /€1,57 / $1,76

Cairngorms National Park


Conclusion: is a road trip through Scotland expensive?

For a European destination, I thought a road trip through Scotland was not that expensive. We did really try to stick to our budget (which was set at €150 per day) which we succeed at. However, we were not so strict that we left things we really wanted to do because of the costs.

Groceries are priced about the same as those in the Netherlands, gasoline and diesel too. Overnight stays are not cheap but by camping, we kept the costs down. Keep in mind that the pound/euro exchange rate was very favourable for us at the time of our trip, perhaps this might be different in the future. We also travelled in low season (April), so prices of campsites and the campervan were low. What do you think? Did we spend a lot or is Scotland a budget-proof destination?


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