Mrs Scot and I are going for a trip to Scotland over the long weekend (this weekend coming). Our trip is well over 500 miles one-way, so being the Savvy Scot that I am, I checked the price of flights months ago in order to search for the best deal. £260 each…. WITHOUT LUGGAGE!When you factor in the cost of airport parking, fuel to the airport and paying for carry-on luggage, you wouldn’t get much change from £600 ($1000).
When planning trips (no matter the distance) you should always consider the different modes of transport available.
Different Modes of Transport
- Fly – I recommend to use a comparison site like Skyscanner. It is also worth checking the prices of airlines directly, as sometimes you see inflated prices.
- Train – You can nearly always get a fantastic deal on train tickets if you book in advance and are willing to travel at off-peak times. Remember to consider that two singles can often be cheaper than a return. Another point to note is that if you book far enough in advance, you can sometimes find first class tickets only marginally more expensive than standard class. If you are planning to use your laptop and would benefit from a power socket / free wifi, it is often a small price to pay on such a long journey. Furthermore (depending on the operator) this can often include complimentary tea and coffee.
- Car – If you drive at 50 mph you can get up to 30% better economy. This is something that Mrs Scot and I have started doing as of late (more on that later). Secondly, if you avoid motorway / highway filling stations, you can save a few pence per litre on fuel. If you travel with a partner you can share the driving and have the flexibility to choose your own stops. If flexibility isn’t so important, consider car sharing with friends.
- Cycle – this may only apply for shorter distances, but the benefits are huge! It is free and you get exercise at the same time. If your commute to work is reasonable, look out for government sponsored ‘cycle to work‘ schemes. In the UK you can get substantial tax relief against the cost of a bike as part of a health initiative – it is definitely worth inquiring with your employer.
- Bus – OK so long bus journeys are a pet hate of mine, but sometimes it is worth sucking it up and giving it a shot! In the UK you can often get an absolute bargain with Megabus if you book off-peak and in advance.
- Ferry – this is one that I always forget, but (especially around Europe) taking the Ferry can often be cheaper than you would thing. If you are a member of any reward programs (Tesco clubcard for example) you can redeem points against the fare.
Sometimes people get lost in trying to find the best deal with their preferred mode of transport, without considering that there are always alternatives! It would be too easy for me to to think that Easyjet’s price of £260 was a great deal in comparison to British Airway’s £340… when actually driving is substantially cheaper.
If all else fails… Drive
While driving is not the ideal choice (given that it will take 8 hours +) – this is what we have decided upon. Train tickets were unusually expensive (due to the bank holiday weekend) and bus travel would be too uncomfortable. We are going to take it in turns driving and have the privacy of our own car to talk, listen to music… and sing along (believe me this is not something that others would want to hear)! Finally, we will take full advantage of the increased luggage capacity to transport remaining wedding presents home too!
Have you had any experiences of outrageously cheap / expensive transport prices?