My Mistakes during UK-Ireland trip - eNidhi India Travel Blog

My Mistakes during UK-Ireland trip

Though I managed my UK/Ireland trip in extreme budget [Read this post for details], there're several mistakes I did that cost me a few pounds extra.

1. Not carrying change
Lost 2.5 Euros in Dublin because of a silly mistake. Bus fare was 2.5 Euro if I had the travel card-forgot to get one the previous night. Cash payment was 3.3 Euros but no change will be given. Lowest denomination I had was 5 Euros. No change will be given in Transport for Ireland buses.. I had Euro coins back in India but had forgotten to pack it. Had I been a bit more careful
Later got my card so subsequent bus journeys were convenient. Another thing to note- no shops in western countries can give you change just like that- their tills (billing machines) won't open the drawer unless there's a sale. Most people don't carry cash/change as well. So if you're not prepared, you will have to spend a lot more. Many bus systems around the world won't give change these days.

Missed savings/Extra Spend: 2.5 Euros
Lesson Learnt: Always carry some change/coins, plan and buy travel card where possible/required

2. Not booking tours online in Ireland
In UK both online and offline prices were same (for train tickets etc). In fact online booking costs a pound or so extra as booking charge on credit card payment.

In Ireland, booking online saves 10-20%. I didn't know that. Cliff of Moher tour that is listed at 48 Euro on the brochure/at Visit Ireland tour shop/information centre sells for 40.8 Euro online on Greyline tour's official website. Massive 20% savings. But booking online needs OTP which I can't get as I didn't have India SIM active. Still could have managed if I had known earlier. I got 10% discount for writing online review so lost only 10% extra compared to online price, but still it is a lost money.

Missed savings/Extra Spend: 3.7 Euros (Paid 73.5 Euro (after 10% discount on 48+33= 81 Euros) against online price of 40.8+29 = 69.8 Euros)
Lesson Learnt: Compare online prices before booking offline

For my Dublin-Belfast bus, booked online with the help of my host- costed me 10 Euros as against 18 Euros in Bus stand vending machine.

3. Buying in small stores at higher price
A pack of curd costed me 1.8 GBP in a small store. Similar quantity curd was available for 70-80 pence in large stores like Sainsbury Local (but different brand). Once I figured it out I became more cautious with my purchases but lost a few pounds before I could realize this. Also when it comes to plain Yogurt, small stores will have very limited options in terms of brands and quantity. We will be forced to buy whatever is available. Larger stores will have more options.

Missed savings/Extra Spend: Approx 3-4 GBP over multiple items bought during my visit
Lesson Learnt: Compare price in multiple shops, mainly large supermarkets for possible savings

4. Thames Flipper- London
Thames Flipper is a ferry service that stops at various stops across the Thames River in London. It is a quick and convenient way to get to a destination along the river bank. No traffic jams like roads. But unfortunately, Thames Flipper is very expensive. A bus ride costs max 1.5 GBP (you can have unlimited rides for 1 hour for 1.5 GBP) whereas the ride in Thames Flipper cost me 7 GBP for a ride from Battersea Power station to London Bridge Pier. I was hoping Oyster card tapping would cost me a bit less, but No. 7 Pounds gone for a short ride on the river- if I had taken a bus, it would have probably cost me 20 mins more but save me 5 pounds.
Missed savings/Extra Spend: Approx 5.5 GBP 
Lesson Learnt: Check cost of transport, look for alternate options.

5. Didn't pay attention to an unusual hostel rule.
My hostel in London had a pest cleaning activity on one of the days- I was told about this during my check-in and there was a poster on the wall to this effect- we were advised not to leave anything on the bed or floor on that day, else everything will be disposed during pesticide spraying activity.

On the day I forgot about this event. Had left a few items on the bed- toothbrush, paste etc. Evening when I came back, saw that everything is gone. When asked I was told about this activity which I had totally forgotten. Had to buy couple of new stuff spending a few pounds. Luckily didn't lose anything valuable. I understand and respect their rules, but may be a reminder during breakfast or a provision of storing items temporarily somewhere till evening would have helped.

Missed savings/Extra Spend: Approx 3.5 GBP (had to buy new brush, toothpaste)
Lesson Learnt: Pay attention to rules, set alarm

6. Thought 2 Pound Soup is cheap
During Giant Causeway tour from Belfast, I had bought a ready to drink soup for 2.2 GBP (add hot water n consume). During my flight to Edinburgh from Belfast, Flybe was selling Tomato Soup for 2 GBP on board. I felt the price is reasonable and bought a cup. But later in Edinburgh realized that 4 such cups of Tomato soup can be had for 1.59 GBP. Essentially I paid 1.6 Pounds extra for the in flight soup service!

 Above: Soup I had on flight
Below: Same soup from supermarket, pack of 4 for 1.59 Pounds. But I liked this soup- tasted great.
Missed savings/Extra Spend: 1.4 GBP
Lesson Learnt: In-flight food can never be cheap or equal price. Avoid if possible.

7. Bought wrong product in hurry
I had liked the Tomato Soup. Thought of buying another pack. But in a hurry, picked up a packet which looked similar but wasn't tasting same. I was probably blinded by the fact that the other pack was cheaper at 1.39 GBP. Realized the mistake only later.
Missed savings/Extra Spend: 1.39 EBP
Lesson Learnt: Do not assume. Check product name and description before purchase

8. Wrong bus passes
While going from Newport to Cardiff, I wanted to buy a day pass valid in both Cardiff and Newport. But by mistake bought a pass valid only for Newport, so had to buy another one in Cardiff. Also Cardiff Adult Day to Go ticket is not valid in Barry- we need to take Day to Go+ for that. Difficult for first time tourist to grasp all these combinations right away. But can't blame the transport company much as 99% of their customers are local people who know the rules. Of course transport company can make it more simpler for tourists, and we tourists can put some more effort to read and understand the system better.

Missed savings/Extra Spend: 3.5 GBP
Lesson Learnt: Spend more time researching bus systems and their fares/passes/zone systems. Buy right product.

9. Not booking Scottish Highlands day tour
Once I arrived in Edinburgh, my plan was to spend one day local and one day book a day trip to highlands/nearby places. But weather forecast for next few days showed heavy rains. Thus I decided against the day trip- didn't want to spend 48 GBP only to see rain and clouds. But next day got great sunshine after 9 AM- Could have really enjoyed the day trip. Not sure when I will ever visit Scotland again, so this is a missed opportunity.

One thing I learnt during UK trip- Don't cancel your plans looking at weather forecast.
केहते हैं अगर आप सच्ची दिल से घर से घूमने के लिए निकलते हे। ..
तो पूरी कयनाथ आपको थोड़ा sunshine दिलाने में लग जाती हे |
(If you step out to roam with good heart, whole world tries to get some sunshine for you)

10. Not booking open return ticket
Edinburgh airport bus counter had one way ticket for 4.5 GBP, return for 7.5. If I had bought an open return ticket, I could have saved 1.5 Pounds. One reason I didn't buy return ticket was that I was hoping to find an even cheaper way to return to Airport- like train etc- but that didn't work out.
Missed savings/Extra Spend: 1.5 GBP

Lesson Learnt: If returning to airport, look for Open return tickets and check if they are valid till your planned date of return.

11. Expensive SIM Card at Airport
Buying sim card at airport is usually a bad idea- They don't sell cheaper options and make people buy expensive options. When I arrived in Gatwick airport, below were my options. Min 20 GBP I had to spend. Of all the plans I felt Vodafone scheme is better as it had 20 GB data
If I had waited till I got into city, I could have got a free SIM at Vodafone store and cheaper bundles- like 10 GBP with 3 GB Data, which would have been adequate for my usage or 20 Pounds with 10 GB Data. I hardly spent about 6 GB that too with too generous usage during 3 weeks. Could have managed with 3 GB if required. Spent about 15 GB Extra because of Airport purchase, only gain being I could start using it right from there and didn't have to scramble for a Vodafone store later.

Missed savings/Extra Spend: 15 GBP
Lesson Learnt: Where possible, manage till you get into city, buy sim card in city instead of airport.

12. Not carrying enough pickle packets
I had carried 5 packets of Rs 10/70 gms pickle from India. Unfortunately they got exhausted within 2 weeks. Should have carried one or two more. Had to buy a bottle for 1.49 Pounds at Amma Spice in Edinburgh
Missed savings/Extra Spend: 1.3 GBP
Lesson Learnt: Carry one or two extra packets for buffer.

Total: 6.2 Euros + 37.1 GBP, approx INR 4000 total

13. Not booking train tickets in advance
UK Train tickets are lot cheaper if booked in advance. Only drawback being that would demand more precise planning and loss of money if we can't travel as planned. Because I bought ticket at the counter on the day of travel, I paid a bit higher fare while going to Salisbury (for Stonehenge), Bath etc. I won't call this a loss or mistake- rather a price to pay for better flexibility.

These are not major mistakes- This amount amounts to about 3-4% of my entire trip expense. It is not possible to be perfect-despite lots of research, planning we do some mistakes once a while. Still money is money. Idea of this post is to help future travelers plan their trip better and save a few pounds where they can.

Related: UK-Ireland trip expense report * Mistakes during US Trips

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