The Roundabout Glasgow Day Ticket

Written by Karen Bryan

The Roundabout Glasgow day ticket costs £7 for adults and £3.50 for children. You can buy the tickets at staffed Scotrail stations, or from the conductor on the train.

The ticket is valid for travel by Scotrail  between more than 100 stations within the Strathclyde area, from Croy in the north, Largs in the west , Neilston in the south to Holytown in the east. It is also valid all day on the Glasgow subway. You can use the tickets for travel after 9am, of anytime at weekends.

When planning a day out in Glasgow recently, I reckoned that the venues which I wanted to visit were a bit far apart to walk between. That made me decide to buy a Roundabout Glasgow day ticket, so that I could travel by Glasgow Subway between the venues.

An off-peak day return from Stirling to Glasgow costs me around £7, as I get a 20% discount with my Scotrail Club 50 membership if I purchase an off-peak ticket online. Therefore, a Roundabout Glasgow day ticket would cost around the same as an off-peak day return from Stirling to Glasgow. The big advantage of the Roundabout Glasgow day ticket is that there are no afternoon off-peak restrictions. With my day return between Stirling and Glasgow. I can’t catch a train home between 4.30 to 6.15pm.

The down side of using a Roundabout Glasgow day ticket is that it entails me driving from our home in Stirling to Croy.  I opted for Croy as I’d read that it had a large car park. Stirling railway station is around one mile from our home, which is walkable. But not ideal if it’s raining. The problem with driving to Stirling railway station, is that even if you are willing to part with £3.50 to park at the station, there are never any spaces left is you arrive around 9am to catch the first off-peak trains.

It took me around 25 minutes to drive to Croy station from home, the same time it takes me to walk from home to Stirling station. There were still quite a few spaces left when I arrived at Croy station around 8.45am, in order to catch the first train departing after 9am.

When I purchased the Roundabout Glasgow day ticket at Croy railway station, I was given one ticket. I assumed that I could use this ticket either at the barrier in a Scotrail or Subway station. However, I couldn’t get through the barrier at Buchanan Street Subway station. When I went to the ticket window, I was informed that I needed to show my Roundabout Glasgow ticket and I would then be given an all day Subway ticket. It would have been useful to have been informed of this by the Scotrail ticket clerk.

There are four trains per hour between Glasgow Queen Street and Croy which is really convenient.

On arrival back at Croy. I thought that I had found the best way to get to Glasgow from Stirling on a weekday. If the things which I wanted to do were mainly around the city centre. I would just buy an off-peak return from Croy, costing £4, with my the 20% discount offered by Scotrail Club 50. If the venues were further out, I’d buy the £7 Roundabout Glasgow day ticket. Purchasing a Roundabout Glasgow day ticket would also mean that I could catch a train back to Croy at anytime in the afternoon or early evening.

However on walking back through the car park to the car, I saw some signs saying that the upper car park would be closed for one month from resurfacing starting in mid January 2019. I reckoned this would mean that I wouldn’t be able to find a space in the car park arriving around 8.50am. Rather annoying as I am booked to attend some events outside the Glasgow city centre in January.

The best laid plans!

Travelodge Edinburgh Central Rose Street

Written by Karen Bryan

I paid £31.50 for a Thursday night stay in mid November 2018 at the Travelodge Edinburgh Central Rose Street. The room was originally priced at £37 on the non-refundable Saver rate. As I booked during a 15% off promotion, the price was discounted by £5.50.

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I’d Prefer Lower Fares for Everyone to Railcards

Written by Karen Bryan

There is a plethora of UK national railcards including:

  • Senior Railcard – for travellers aged over 60.
  • Family Railcard – the travellers must include one of the two named adults, plus one child aged over 5.
  • Tw0 Together Railcard – two named adults must travel together.

Most of the UK railcard offer discounts of one third on many fares. But you need to read the terms and conditions carefully prior to purchasing a railcard.

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Appliances Not Built to Last

Written by Karen Bryan

When we moved to Stirling last year, I purchased a Russell Hobbs kettle and a Sharp microwave. I didn’t go for the cheapest products.

I liked the shape of the Russell Hobbs kettle, plus you could boil as little as a cupful of water. Also, the silver finish matched for our toaster.

As we do a lot of cooking in our microwave versus just heating up food, we need a large, powerful microwave. I did a bit of research. The Sharp microwave fitted the bill and received good reviews.

Well around 18 months after purchase, both appliances broke. The microwave turntable stopped rotating. The kettle didn’t come on when the on button was pushed down.

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The True Cost of Car Hire

Written by Karen Bryan

Hiring a car should carry a danger to your wealth warning. There are so many possible trip wires which trigger extra payments e.g. insurance excess of hundreds of pounds, daily fees for an additional driver and being charged a refuelling fee if you don’t adhere to the fuel policy.

My husband was researched car hire for his trip to Greece. He was pickin up a rental car at Thessaloniki Airport.

He thought that he had found a reasonable quote for 8 days hire which included insurance excess cover, an additional driver and a fair fuel policy. However, as he arrives at Thessaloniki Airport at 22.00, he was going to be charged an out-of-hours fee of 26 Euro at the car hire office, as the opening hours of the Autounion car hire office are 07.30 to 21.00.

In my opinion, the airport offices of car rental firms should be open 24 hours a day. Lots of flights are scheduled for arrival after 21.00. There’s a fair chance of flights due in before 21.00 being late. Also, it can take more than one hour to disembark from the plane, pick up your luggage at the carousel and get through passport control.

Changes to Scotrail Club 50

Written by Karen Bryan

Scotrail like to trumpet their offer of a £17 flat return fare within Scotland to members of the Scotrail Club 50. This perk is now going to be available three times a year. It was twice a year until now.

Whilst it is a good offer, it’s pretty rare for me to make long trips by train within Scotland. Most of my rail usage is off peak day returns from Stirling to Glasgow, which cost around £7 (after the 20% Scotrail Club 50 discount).

But another Scotrail Club 50 perk of a free small bottle of water or a carton of orange juice and a sweet treat, has now been ditched. It has been replaced with a 50% discount on hot or cold drinks.

I doubt if I will renew my annual membership of Club 50 when it expires next March. As I will 60 years old in April next year, I will be able to buy a Senior Citizen’s Railcard which will give me a 33% discount on all rail fares. The Senior Citizen’s Railcard costs £30, double the price of the £15 charged for the Scotrail Club 50. But I reckon that I will more than the recoup that additional £15 bu the larger discount offered.

Review of Travelodge Ayr

Written by Karen Bryan

Over the years I have been a fan of Travelodge. They generally offer rooms of a reasonable standard at competitive prices.

Their room prices were lower in the past. Around ten years, I used to be able to regularly book rooms for £15 and even £9 during their sales. The cheapest room were always on the Saver non-refundable rate.

However, Travelodge prices have crept up over the years. It’s quite hard to find room priced under £30 a night, even if your stay is during low season and you book well in advance on the Saver rate.

I was keen to go down to Ayrshire to visit Dumfries House, the Burns Museum and a textile exhibition at the Maclaurin Gallery. It was too much to fit in one day, so I looked for a reasonably price hotel room. I thought that Sunday would be the cheapest night on which to stay.

I searched for a room one week before my proposed stay.

I found a room at Travelodge Ayr for £35 a night on the flexible rate, meaning that I could cancel free of charge until noon on my day of arrival.

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Renewing My Car Insurance With Direct Line

Written by Karen Bryan

Last year I took out our car insurance with Direct Line. They offered the lowest price of £234 which included no claims protection, a guaranteed hire car and a zero voluntary excess. I didn’t require breakdown cover as that is included as a benefit of my Nationwide Flex Plus current account.

This year, I received an automatic renewal letter from Direct Line informing me that the premium had gone up to £253.

I did a search on a couple of price comparison websites to see if I could beat that price. I did find a price of £237 for the same level of cover.

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Further Cut to Nationwide Flex Plus Account Benefits

Written by Karen Bryan

The cull of benefits for Nationwide Flex Plus current account holders continues.

The recent hike in the monthly fee from to £10 to £13 is to be followed by detrimental changes to the annual worldwide family travel insurance.

From 1 January 2019, the insurance will be only offered to customers aged under 70, versus the current benefit of coverage for customers aged under 75.

Holders of a Nationwide Flex Plus current account aged 70+ plus will then have to pay an additional £75 a year for annual travel insurance, versus the current £50 annual fees for those aged 75+.

Whilst this change does not affect me at present, I feel that older people are unfairly treated  by travel insurance products. These age limits don’t factor in an individual’s health. I know some 80 year olds who enjoy better health than 60 year olds.

In my opinion charging older people more for travel insurance, regardless of their personal health, may mean that older people are deterred from travelling.

5 Work From Home Jobs That Can Make A Lucrative Income

Written by Karen Bryan

Have you ever sat at your desk at your 9 to 5, staring longingly out of the window and wishing you didn’t have to be there? Have you ever trudged begrudgingly through the rain, feeling the droplets hit your umbrella as the wind blows it inside-out? Have you ever sat in a cramped, warm conference room, being lectured by your manager on your sales figures and desperately wanting to give them a piece of your mind?

If you answered “yes” to any or all of those questions, then working from home might be more to your tastes. When you work from home, you can watch the snow pile up outside your window and know you don’t have to make the arduous trek into your office. You can watch those engaged in the rat race as they scurry from train station to train station, sipping your coffee and knowing you don’t need to work for another hour or so if you don’t want to. There are plenty of reasons to work from home, but how do you achieve it? What jobs can you possibly do from the comfort of your own home and still make a tidy packet? Read on to find out…

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