Solo travelling around the world is the dream of many, but only a few manage to accomplish it without going overboard with their expenses. Today, following-up with our Achiever’s theme, we bring you an inspirational solo travel story of Mayank Singhal. He embarked on a budget solo trip to London and Edinburgh Isle of Skye (Scotland) with a limit of INR 65,000 (including airfare). In this story, we will trace through the journey of Singhal, his experiences, and management of money on a 6-day trip to the foreign lands from India.
As a template of experience for other fellow travellers who do not want to exceed their budget for a foreign trip, Mayank shared some nifty tips too. If you also have a similar story or an experience that you think should be covered by Team Woovly, then drop us a message here. Now, without further ado, let us start with the ultimate travel Wishlist story of Mayank Singhal.
Day 1: Exploring Camden Town & Oxford Street
A little back story: London is assumed by many to be one of the most expensive cities to travel. Keeping that in mind, Mayank started his solo trip planning by conducting thorough research on the internet. Mayank booked his air tickets three months in advance, costing him INR 35,000 for a return trip (Woah, isn’t that cool?). He followed a similar strategy in booking his stays.
On reaching London, Mayank headed to Safestay Holland Park – a 4-star dorm hotel – costing him INR 1,500 per night (booked for two nights). After keeping down his luggage, Mayank left for exploring Camden town and Oxford street. One of the best things or tools discovered by Mayank in London was their extensive rail network accepting all the international credit cards. It didn’t require the purchase of any special card or ticket to go from place A to place B.
Although train tickets are not so cheap, one would end up spending around 10 pounds for 4-5 train journeys when using an international credit card. Still, after completing up to 5 trips, there are no additional charges levied on the card.
Coming to food, Mayank tried the street food at both the places, which included Hot Dogs, Cheese Nuts & Ice Cream. He also visited the nearby marketplaces and found them to be rather affordable for buying clothes. He loved both Camden town and Oxford street and would recommend every traveller not to let these two spots slide from the itinerary.
Day 2: Covering More of London
On his second day of the trip, Mayank started it with exploring Covent Garden and then heading to the uber touristy spot – London Bridge. The last stop on his list was Notting Hill.
Covent Garden came across the perfect place to buy some gifts, souvenirs and also to enjoy live street music. Notting Hill turned out to be the most Instagrammable town for Mayank as the place gets captured beautifully on camera with its colourful backgrounds. Amid all the vibrant beauty, Mayank revelled in the peacefulness of the place.
Day 3: Heading to Edinburgh
The Day 3 started on a travel mode as he had to catch his flight from London to Edinburgh, return flight for costing INR 6,000 for those who book three months in advance. He landed in Edinburgh at 11 am. The beauty of Edinburgh mesmerised him entirely and reaffirmed why it is placed among the top 3 most beautiful cities in the world.
In Edinburgh, Mayank stayed at an Airbnb costing him around INR 1,800 per night. It was a little away from the main city, which was not a concern as the place was beautiful and the bus ride to the city was cheap. The bus commute in Edinburgh is affordable and shall cost only 4.5 pounds for travelling the entire day on a single ticket. Mayank used the app ‘Moovit’ to know about the routes and availability in real-time.
Mayank visited Royal Mile, Princess Street, and Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh on his Day 3. He loved all the three places, but Arthur Seat took the cake. It is one of the highest peaks of Edin and is also an inactive volcano. The view from the top is surreal as one gets to see the entire city.
Day 4: Visiting Portree and Isle of Skye
Fourth day in Edinburgh began with Mayank visiting the Isle of Skye. There are many modes of transportation to choose from, for travelling to Isle of Skye, such as Train, Bus, Rented Car, Bus & Tour Packages. Mayank opted for the cheapest way, i.e. City Link Bus Pass costing him 60 pounds and allowed him to travel for up to 3 days on the single pass.
Mayank took a bus to Portree, which is a small town on the island. It took him seven hours to reach Portree. The bus journey covered some of the most beautiful routes; it felt like one is travelling in a wonderland. Mayank recommends every traveller to opt for a bus journey when heading to Isle of Skye.
Reaching Portree, Mayank was astounded by the beauty of the place. Since it is a small town, most of the outdoor shops close by 5 pm, except for eateries and cafés. In Portee, Mayank stayed at an Airbnb costing him INR 8,000 for two nights. Being a small town, there are lesser accommodations in Portree, and most of them remain booked throughout the year. Mayank suggests travellers to always book accommodations in advance for Portree. For further assistance, people can join a Facebook group called ‘Skye Rooms.’ One can post their requirement in the group, and someone will reply with information. In Portree, Mayank strongly recommends travellers to try Café Arriba for its ambience and food.
Day 5: Covering the Best of Places
Mayank’s fifth day of the trip started with the realisation that public transport is pretty limited in the Isle of Skye and there are lesser options to commute. Rented car is hard to find in Portree unless it from Edinburgh itself. Public transport does not connect many tourist points, which leaves tours & packages as the best option to pick as they take one through different spots and give ample time to explore the place with a group of travellers enabling socialising on the trip. Mayank paid 40 pounds for a tour with Sky Scenic Scotland. It starts at 9 am and takes one through the place.
The tour covered several places such as the Quairaing. Walking in Quiraing is like a loop; one returns to the same points after covering the distance of around 6.8 kilometres. The walk takes around 2 hours without any stops.
The next place was Fairy Pools, which left Mayank astounded by its beauty. The river goes on for miles and through mountains. The crystal clear water of the river and the sound of river flowing makes one feel dreamy.
Day 6: Heading Back to the Base
The last day of his budget solo trip was reserved for travelling back to Edinburgh, Mayank was supposed to board the bus from Portree at 3 pm. However, he also wanted to go to the famous trek point ‘The Old Man of Storr’ in Portree before heading back to Edinburgh. To complete his last travel, Mayank woke up at 7 am to go to The Old Man of Storr. He trekked for around an hour, and it paid off as he got to see the otherwise clouded mountain ranges from the trek point.
After coming back from his trek, Mayank boarded his bus at 3 pm and reached Edinburgh at 1 am. After reaching the bus stop, he headed to the London City Airport from Edinburgh to catch his flight back to India.
That was the conclusion of his budget solo trip to London and Edinburgh. Needless to say, Mayank had an experience of a lifetime as he explored a foreign land with utter excitement and zeal.
Solo Trip To London & Edinburgh Key Takeaways:
Overall trip cost: INR 65,000 (INR 35,000 for return flight from India)
Food: All type of food is available in London and Edinburgh. One can find grocery stores everywhere, but the Indian food would put extra weight on the pocket.
Car Rental: Renting a car would cost 30 pounds a day.