As with many students going to university, I don’t take a car with me, mainly because I don’t have one! While my parents take me down at the beginning of the term with all the clutter I need to take up I always find my own way around the country from then on.
There are two main modes of transport you can use to get around the country, whether it be for traveling home for a weekend or holiday, visiting a friend at another university or a university friend while your at home!
Some people will be able to take planes to and from these places, especially if they live a very long distance from university, but for most of us the best and cheapest ways of travel is by Train or Coach.
Taking the Train
As a student one of the most important things you must take with you when travelling by train is a 16-25 Railcard. These cost £24 a year online, and entitle you to a 1/3 discount off your train travel. You may even find you save £24 on your first trip alone, the railcard is definitely a worthy investment for anyone spending more than £75 on train tickets a year. Remember that you will need to take your railcard with you on the train, if you forget your railcard you will be forced to buy a full price ticket as a penalty.
Remember to buy your tickets as early as you can! The earlier you buy your tickets the more money you can save, you can purchase tickets online from various train operators. I would always strongly recommend using National Rail Enquiries to help plan your journey and work out which route is the cheapest before buying!
Also check to see if it is cheaper to not just buy single or return tickets, but if you are traveling via a certain station, see if it is cheaper to get a return from station A to B and another return from station B to C. This may limit the times you travel but you could save significant amounts of money!
Finally peak trains will cost more than off peak. So make sure you travel at the cheapest time of the day. Remember off peak tickets require you arrive at your destination after 9.30 am, so bare this in mind if you decide to purchase an off-peak return instead of an anytime return.
Don’t forget to buy an Oyster Card if you are traveling a lot by public transport in London! It could save you an absolute fortune!
Taking the Coach
For many people taking a coach will be both cheaper, more convenient and more comfortable than taking the train and having to swap stations and sit on platforms! National Express offer coach journeys all around the country. As a student if you use National Express coaches the you may well want to purchase the Young Person’s Coachcard which entitles you to 30% of coach travel. The disadvantage of Coach travel is that it may well be a slower journey and fewer destinations are available for you to be taken to. National Express however are not just about about coaches you can do a mixture of coach and train travel!