7 ways to reduce your travel costs at University
Just because you’re on a student budget doesn’t mean you can’t travel! Wherever you’re going, there’s a way to save on the journey. Before you take your next trip, or when you’re looking for ways to make your transport more affordable, consider these 7 top tips to get you on your way for less.
- Have a clear budget
If you have a clear idea of what you have to spend per day (or per week), this will go a long way towards keeping you within a student budget. This also means booking ahead – not waiting for prices to rise on your next train or plane journey. Factor in insurance to your budget as well: if you do get hit with unexpected extras due to accidents, theft or transport cancellations, at least you will be able to recuperate the cash! Plan ahead, book wisely, and give yourself the best chance to stick to your budget.
- Choose trains over planes
In Europe, train travel often comes a lot cheaper than plane travel, making it a good option if you’re considering some time abroad. This is also true within the UK, where the 16-25 Railcard is particularly handy – take a look and make sure you’re benefitting from these amazing savings. Costs can often be up to a third off. Compare train travel options here. Remember, if you know ahead of time that you’re travelling, try to book at least 12 weeks in advance to get the best fares.
- Consider getting an International Student Identity Card
If you’re heading abroad and want to make sure you can get extra discounts, sometimes your home student card won’t be accepted. Consider signing up for an ISIC. This will help prove your student status wherever you go in the world, and will not only entitle you to discounted museum and gallery entry, but also provide you with discounted transport and other items along the way (depending on what country you are in). The ISIC site has more information should you wish to sign up and get more for your student status!
- Never book flights on a Friday and fly off peak where possible
Friday is considered the worst day to book flights, the best being a Saturday or Sunday. Avoid any flight searches on a Friday and wait a few extra hours, as flights are often 13% more expensive on this day.
If you have the choice to head out to your destination mid-week, or are willing to take a super early flight, it might be worth it! Unusual departure hours can also mean that flights are not so quick to book out, leaving more of the cheap seats if you’re looking for a last minute deal.
- Use an Oyster Card
If you’re regularly visiting London, you must get an Oyster card. It requires a £5 deposit, but you will quickly make that money back. Oyster cards cap out your expenditure, and will generally be cheaper than any single-fare ticket, and better value overall than other travel card options available.
- Public transport over taxis
Apps like Citymapper and Google Maps are great tools for helping you coordinate your way around, no matter where the night takes you – or how late your adventures continue! Whilst it might take a bit longer, public transport is always better than resorting to taxis. Of course, Uber is often the best deal you can get if the more affordable public transport isn’t available. Take advantage of signing up your friends for added Uber deals.
- Walk or use a bike where possible!
Don’t forget: walking is always free! And bikes are very economical – whilst they require outlay upfront, you can use your bike as much as you want. It’s worth learning the basics of your bike’s upkeep, and make sure you protect yourself with suitable clothing.
Use a combination of these tips to ensure you save on your transportation costs. Budget successfully and improve your odds of getting cheaper travel by using one or a few of these at a time – depending on where you’re heading. Happy travels!