By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: How can I stay in Scotland cheaply? We’re planning a summer trip and would like to explore some of the unconventional things? We’re tired third year university students.

A: Here are two things to consider. For a crash pad, hostels have always been popular for budget travelers and summer festivals are always a great way to meet up with likeminded souls. Many of the festivals are free too.

This year Edinburgh opened a new hostel that aims to please and promises to have the best amenities that are often associated with five-star living.

Picture ensuite facilities, high quality furniture, laundry, a bistro-style restaurant and Internet access. Called Smart City Hostel, this £10-million hostel might just be the ticket for you. Prices start from £16.50. For details call them at 0870 892 3000 or log onto

Besides being Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh is renowned for its festival scene boasting seven arts festivals this summer alone. Here’s a quick run-down: Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival (July 28-Aug. 6).

This music fest is purported as the longest running jazz festival in the UK and celebrates every kind of jazz from New Orleans to the avant-garde.

The Edinburgh Military Tattoo (Aug.4-26) This spectacular show is set against the backdrop of the Edinburgh Castle.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Aug.6-28). Celebrating its 60th anniversary, this arts bonanza includes theatre, music, dance and comedy from all over the world and is a not-to-be-missed event.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival (Aug.12-28). Here book lovers can get up close with great writers at Charlotte Square Gardens.

The Edinburgh International Festival (Aug. 13-Sept. 3). A festival encompassing opera, classical music, dance and theatre. The Edinburgh International Film Festival (Aug.14-27).

For film buffs, this festival showcases new talent and celebrates the best in cinema. The Edinburgh Mela (Sept.2-3). This two-day event melanges various cultures with music, dance, art, crafts, fashion and food.

For the complete low-down on the festival scene, hit For Scotland travel information log onto


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