Rule Britannia...for Less

A new look at the Old Country with a seasonal, savings-guaranteed twist
Scotland's Innerleithen MTB circuit
SLICK!: Scotland's Innerleithen MTB circuit, just one reason why the IMBA rated Scotland its 2005 "Global Superstar." (courtesy, UK Forestry Commission)
UK Travel Tip #1
The United Kingdom is incredibly easy to reach via any number of U.S. cities, including NYC, Boston, Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, and more. For cheaper fares, consider transiting through another European hub like Reykjavik (Icelandair: ), Amsterdam (KLM/Northwest: ), or Dublin or Shannon (Aer Lingus: ). You'll get there for less, plus can avoid arriving in crowded London by opting for flights to Glasgow, Manchester, Bristol, and other smaller British cities.

A random fare search on any airline or travel website perfectly illustrates the logic of traveling to Britain in the shoulder season., for example, turns up fares from New York to London for two weeks in August starting at $750; change those dates to the first two weeks in October and you instantly save over 25 percent. Now factor in fall fare sales, which always start in September, and September or October clearly becomes the best cost-conscious time to travel across the pond—not to mention the slimmer crowds and better access to all the prime tourist attractions. The same goes for the pre-summer months from February through April.

Oh, you grouse in protest, the British weather is so lousy that summer is the only window worth pursuing. Wrong on two counts: the weather is apt to be lousy any time of the year, plus you never know what you're going to get and could be pleasantly rewarded, even in late October. So leave the prattling about weather patterns to the perennially obsessed experts—the Brits—pack some raingear, and go enjoy the British Isles without the white-sneaker-wearing American hordes who overrun the place all summer right up until Labor Day.

Better still, try a different slice of Old Britannia, figuring that you'll probably hit London, Cambridge, or the Cotswolds some other day, pocketing those extra savings and making your pound stretch that little bit further in the following off-the-grid locales.


Published: 29 Aug 2006 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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