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Whether you’re going on holiday, visiting your family or even just making your way to classes, you have you get there somehow, and travelling can cost money, which as a student you may have little enough of already.
The cheapest mode of transport of course is walking, but if you live far away from university, or want to visit family across the country, that’s just not practical. Cycling is also another form of cheap transport, though initial payments can be costly depending on the bike and accessories, and again, you’re not likely to cycle from London to Manchester just to visit a friend.
There are ways of making huge savings when travelling, but hunting down those cheap tickets and discount travel offers can be a minefield.
Get yourself a student card. National Express has the Young Person’s Coachcard, where the yearly £10 fee saves you one third of the fare every time you travel. National Rail has the 16-25 Railcard, where for £30 a year (£70 for three years) you can save 30% off tickets.
Both these cards can help you make big savings, especially if you travel long distances to visit friends and family.
As mentioned before, the 16-25 Railcard will give you the biggest discount on rail travel, but booking in advance is another way to make significant savings. Train journeys are scheduled 12 weeks in advance, but advance tickets are limited in number, so booking early is recommended.
Search the different rail companies. Depending on where you are travelling, multiple train operators could be working the same line, resulting in better promotions and cheaper fares.
Split your tickets and your journeys. Buying tickets to mid-way stations and purchasing tickets for the rest of your journey can make huge savings, and travelling at off-peak times will also save you a significant amount.
If you don’t mind travelling by coach, then you can pick up advance fares for as little as £1 with companies like MegaBus.
Look out for promotions. Companies like National Express also have offer two-for-one tickets to top attractions if you book your journey through them.
Students in London should apply for a Student Oyster card. This saves you 30% on fares for buses, London Underground and London Overground services. You can apply online, and your university may have application forms available when you enrol.
Finding flights to holiday destinations or flights to your home country can be daunting, and sometimes fares can be misleading (excluding tax, card fees, booking fees, extra fees for hold luggage, etc). Sites like STA will help you hunt for the cheapest fares around and include a price guarantee (terms apply).
It goes without saying – always look for promotions! Travel companies want your custom, so they periodically have special offers for travelling at certain times, and fitting your trips around those could save you a lot of money.
If the date you wish to travel on costs £150, compared to £80 if travelling three hours later, think carefully and ask yourself ‘can I push back when I want to travel?’. Being flexible with your travel times and days can bring significant savings.