Edinburgh on a student budget

Edinburgh is the perfect destination if you are looking for somewhere to travel in the UK. I went at Christmas and it was magical, there was so much to do and we had such a lovely time. Read on to see what my top picks of things to do are!

Christmas Markets: these of course only run at Christmas so not really an option for if you go any other time of the year. If you do go at Christmas, however, the markets really are a must. They usually run from mid-November to early January but you’ll be able to check online for exact dates each year. We got some really pretty pictures and good food while we were there. Things are a bit more expensive so if you plan to go I’d put aside a bit extra but the crepes were amazing. I’d definitely recommend going in the week, we tried both, went in the week and at the weekend and it was a completely different experience. It was packed at the weekend but in the week it was quiet, we could move around easily and there wasn’t really much queuing.

Mary King’s Close: If you’re into history, this is a really interesting guided tour. You are able to explore the old streets of Edinburgh situated under the Royal Mile. It is enclosed as you are underground so do consider this if this is something you struggle with. A student ticket is just £15.95 and the tour lasts approximately an hour.

Edinburgh Castle: we went and had a look at the castle though didn’t go inside (we had other things we wanted to fit in while we were there). Though if you do wish to venture inside it will cost you £15.50. We were able to take some really nice photos outside and because its on elevated ground there were some lovely views of the rest of Edinburgh.

Camera Obscura: This was so much fun it was full of really fun optical illusions. Not only this but it the balcony made for a really good view of the castle below. Students pay only £13.05 for entry and it was definitely worth it for the laughs we had. Plus, it was inside which is great when you consider the weather in Edinburgh isn’t always great.

The Royal Mile: we actually stayed in a hostel just off the royal mile which put us in prime position for many things. I would recommend taking a walk down the Royal Mile as it features many shops and cafes, many of which are independent and is just really pretty to look at. We ate out a few times and it was so lovely to try out the different cafes.

Visiting Budapest on a budget

This is honestly one of my favourite cities, it has everything you need for a city break when you’re on a student budget. There is culture, history, a great night life, places to relax and was pretty cheap.

Bike Tour: On the first day we did a three-hour bike tour and though it was long and tiring towards the end it meant we got to see everything. From doing this we got to know our way around and knew what sights we wanted to go back to and explore further. It will cost you £20/£25 and I would definitely recommend booking in advance.

The Thermal Baths: This is the perfect place to relax. Not only can you try the baths but you can also enjoy the sauna. With baths both inside and out, of all temperatures, it is a great destination whatever the weather. If you feel like treating yourself there is also the option of booking a massage. Though there are multiple thermal baths across Budapest, we only tried the Szechenyi baths and it was definitely worth it. Different baths have different prices but to give you an idea of cost, Szechenyi charges 6800 HUF (about £17.79) for an all day ticket in the week and 7200 HUF (about £18.83) for the weekend.

House of Terror: If you’re into history like am (I’m literally doing a degree in it) you should find this extremely interesting. As it’s inside, it’s also perfect for if the weather isn’t so good, though if you go in the summer fingers crossed you’ll have amazing weather like we did. The museum itself contains exhibits that relate to the fascist and communist regimes in 20th century Hungary. It took a good few hours to get around the museum and I would recommend it if you want to add a bit of education to your holiday. Full price admission is only 3000 HUF (about 7.85).

Ruin Bars: If you want to make the most of the night life in Budapest you need to go to a ruin bar, in particular Szimpla Kert. The atmosphere in these bars are amazing and you should try some of Hungary’s famous herbal liquor Unicum. It’s also a relatively cheap night out and a great place to meet other travellers.

Street Food Karavan: For amazing food you should definitely try out Karavan. It’s great for food and drink. Not only this, it has a great atmosphere and looks amazing.

Margret Island: This is an amazing place if you love nature. We went the day after a night out and it was perfect because there was food and fresh air. I would say it would also be a great destination for a picnic as it really is beautiful.

These are my top picks of what to do in Budapest, so if you plan to go be sure to check them out.

My ultimate guide of what to take on holiday

Travelling can be so much fun but there are some aspects that aren’t so exciting. Knowing what to take and actually packing and fitting everything into your suitcase can be a chore.  As I’ve said in previous posts, I tend to take only a cabin bag to avoid having to pay for a bag in the hold as I usually travel on a budget. Having a small bag means you need be sensible with what you pack to fit it all in. 

Clothes: This is the big one, I always like to take my favourite pieces from my wardrobe with me because I love taking so many photos on holiday. The first step to deciding what to take is to look at what sort of weather you’ll be having.  I definitely prefer hot weather on holiday so that I can wear my summer dresses and crop top and shorts combos, but I will usually take a few pieces for if the weather isn’t as good on a few days. A good idea would be if you plan to take some layers, to wear them on the way to free up space in the suitcase.  Also, shoes, if you plan to take more than one pair, I’d wear the chunkier pair on the flight, though you may not need more than one. If you are going on a city break, make sure to wear comfortable shoes as you will be doing a lot of walking.  You’ll also need pyjamas and dependant on where you’re going maybe a bikini or swimsuit.  

Toiletries: Make sure you don’t forget your toothbrush! You may want to take things with you, but it might work out better to buy it once you get there.  You’ll want to remember shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face products, sun cream, toothpaste, deodorant and sanitary products. I also, like to take a bit of make-up, you won’t need your full collection (unless you have a collection of just the essentials). As with everything, work out what you will actually need and only take those things to save space. Don’t forget your hair, if you’re taking hair straighteners or a hair dryer maybe communicate with the others you are travelling with and only take one set of each to share. You’ll also want a hairbrush and maybe a few products but remember liquid restrictions on flights.

Electronics: You’ll most likely want to take your phone so don’t forget you’ll also need a charger. I forgot mine when I travelled last summer and it was such a pain. You may also want to take a camera, obviously not an essential especially as your phone will have one anyway. But if you do want to take your proper camera to get better quality pictures make sure to take all the bits you’ll need with that. 

Travel documents: This is the most important one and you should pack these so that you have them to hand at the airport. Your passport is of course the one thing you really can’t forget and make sure you have any Visas you might need to enter the country you are travelling to. Also, boarding passes for you flights and any documentation you need for hotels or other things you have booked for while you’re there. Check about the currency and whether it is recommended to exchange it at home or when you arrive in the country. You could also look into getting a debit/credit card that doesn’t charge you to be used abroad if you want that extra security. 

For when you’re out and about: Think about what you’ll need when you’re there. You’ll want a secure bag for when you’re exploring with a good amount of space for a drink and maybe a packed lunch. A reusable water bottle is also a good idea. You may even want a portable charger just in case so that you don’t get stuck with a dead battery in an unfamiliar country.