D.C. to Edinburgh ($500) A Drink a Dance, and a Drawing

Flight: $375 (Norwegian Airline and Wow Airline) + $25 busfare

Hotel: 4 Nights, FREE! (Ms. Louise was kind enough to let me sleep on her couch)

Fun, Food, and Drinks: $100

 

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Sometimes I regret having signed up for 50+ different travel websites, airline apps, and giving my information to the neighborhood “know-a-guy-who-knows-a-guy.” However, it seems to have paid off this month. Skimming through the wave of travel offers that were definitely not too good to be true (because they weren’t that good) I saw that a combo flight (Norwegian airline out/ Wow airline in) could get me to London for just $375. This left me a little weak in the wallet when I factored in hotel and pocket money. Then it hit me… I have a friend in Scotland! For an extra $25, I caught a bus up to Edinburgh and found a pull out bed that would suit me just fine (thank you Louise). Now I had $100 to last me four days to explore and enjoy one of the greatest cities in Europe.

Ordinarily, $25 a day would be a challenge for just about anybody. After all, seeing the world implies being in it, not just looking at it through a window. So what could I do in the fine city of Edinburgh for just twenty-five dollars a day? Well… first I needed to convert my dollars to pounds, but then…

  1. Go to a Museum! With so much history, I had to visit the National Museum of Scotland. Both the exhibits and the interior architecture itself are incredible. I spent almost two hours wandering the corridors only to find that I had barely seen half of it. How much did it cost? If you guessed “free,” you’re on point. Truth is, most museums in Scotland are free! The Fruitmarket gallery, Stills photography gallery and Dovecot are just a few more to checkout. These alone will fill your artistic heart but only add to your addiction to see more.
  2. Take in the architecture! Starting at Edinburgh Castle you get one of the most incredible views of the city at large. From there you can walk downhill via the Royal Mile leading to Old Town. While it’s true this is one of the more tourist populated areas, I never avoid these spots entirely as there’s obviously a reason people continue to frequent the location. 2nd hand clothing shops, infamous drinking holes (like “The Last Drop“) free art exhibits and genuinely entertaining buskers all await. Edinburgh is a city that has quite literally built itself on top of itself over the centuries and is to be admired in its own right as a work of art. It’s your sacred responsibility as a world traveler to simply walk around, get lost, and look up.
  3. Have a drink and visit a GIN distillery?! While Scotch is of course the historical champion of whiskey and Scotland is the only place (by definition) that scotch can be made, take a look at Scottish Gin. For several years now, gin has become an exciting opportunity for distillers to create new and interesting variations on the complex and subtle libation. Aptly named, “Edinburgh Gin,” is a small batch distillery located west of Old Town and right next to the Scottish National Gallery.
  4. Go to a Show! Edinburgh is bleeding live music of every taste, just about any night of the week. From the bands you follow religiously to the ones you’ve never heard (but should); the DJs that stir your soul and the ones who want the chance, Edinburgh has something for everyone. I was lucky enough to see Augustines (big fan) and caught the end of the night Amanda Palmer performed at Liquid Rooms. It was a crazy couple of nights, but I honestly couldn’t have asked for more. And I owe it all to Edinburgh.

While I don’t want to delve into the politics of “Brexit,” there is one clear winner: the US tourist. Within the last year, the dollar has strengthened considerably against the British pound. It’s hard to say what the future will hold, so I strongly encourage you to take advantage of the moment and stretch your buck as far as it will go. Edinburgh (and really all of Scotland) is an incredible place. I barely scratched the surface and encourage you to do more. Whatever you do, don’t stay inside!

 

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