Travel for cheaper in the UK
Even at the best of times, the UK can be an expensive place to travel.
Whether you’re paying inflated train fares during rush hour or extortionate prices for parking, travel costs are the last thing you want to be worrying about when planning that next trip away – but fear not, there are ways to cut the cost of your travel expenses!
Save on UK travel
How can I save on travel expenses? It’s a question we all ask ourselves once in a while.
Everybody has seen those stories about travellers making a round-trip to sunny European cities for less than it costs for a train to London or Manchester – but you’ll be glad to know that there are ways that you can cut your travel costs without hopping on a cramped short-haul flight to Menorca!
Along with these travel secrets and tips, all it’ll take is a little bit of forward thinking to save on transportation costs.
Cheapest ways to travel – How to travel cheaply in the UK
So, you’re looking to travel within the UK – but where do you start?
First of all, consider the length of your journey and whether you’d be happy to compromise a little on comfort. It might be cheaper to get a coach from Cardiff to Edinburgh than it is by train, but you’ll be travelling for a whopping 14 hours – almost double that of an estimated train journey.
If you’re only travelling a short distance, then it might be cheaper to drive. You can get an estimated cost on fuel by using a petrol money calculator – but consider the availability of parking at your destination, and how much you’ll be paying for it when you get there.
What are your choices?
Car travel gives you a little more freedom than public transport does. You can leave the house whenever you please and don’t have to fight it out for a comfortable seat, however, this convenience often comes at a cost. Owning your own car means that you’ll have to pay for car insurance as well, while added mileage will see the potential future value of your car decrease.
Add on the costs of fuel for your trip and the parking charges when you eventually get there, you can see why more and more people are opting for public transport. However, if you have a family with young children, the extra expense might be worth your while – after all, we’ve all experienced crying kids on the train and it isn’t fun for anybody!
Not to be confused with a coach, a bus is a good option for local travel – particularly in smaller cities. Whether you’re nosing around your home town or experiencing a new city for the first time, you often can’t go wrong with a bus – just don’t always expect them to be on time!
Coaches are known for being slow and uncomfortable with terrible, terrible toilets – but they really aren’t that bad, and come at a good price if you book in advance!
Usually a cheaper alternative to train travel, there are coaches which travel the length of the country at fairer-than-fair prices.
Okay, train travel in the UK is far from perfect. It can work out quite expensive and on popular routes you might struggle to get yourself a seat, but with a little bit of planning, train travel can be a breeze!
Book in advance to get yourself the best deals and avoid travelling during peak times to make sure you aren’t left standing – you could even reserve yourself a seat, if you’re feeling fancy.
Unless you’re a superstar athlete or multi-millionaire, you’ve probably never even considered using a plane to get from A to B in the UK. It can be done, but it will come at a premium and – unless you’re crossing the Irish Sea to or from Belfast – it won’t give you any kind of value for money.
While Elon Musk’s pipe dream of using rockets to get from one city to another may seem a long while away yet, there are certainly some other alternatives you should consider.
Driving in the UK
As we mentioned earlier, your car can feel like a saving grace when travelling as a family. Ignore the regular groans of “are we there yet?” and “I need a wee!” and travelling by car might just be your best option, however this depends on your destination.
London, for example, has congestion charge zones where you’ll be billed for just driving through, and sometimes the stress of big-city driving just is not worth the money that you’ll save!
You’ll want to make sure that you have an adequate level of breakdown cover before heading off on a long journey. If you’re going to break down, you can guarantee it’ll be while you’re miles from home!
For more ways to save money when driving, why not take a look at our Guide to Cutting Driving Costs?
“Can I park here?” – Parking in the UK
If you’ve decided to go ahead and drive, you’ll want to make sure that you leave your car somewhere that is safe and legal. Parking fines can be expensive and the risk of your car being clamped or even worse - towed away - is an added stress you won’t want to have on your mind.
By making use of websites like Just Park, you’ll be able to check – and reserve – cheap, nearby parking before you even begin your journey.
Some city-livers will rent out their driveways as many of them do not have the need for a car, while you can also get good deals on parking with larger parking firms if you look hard enough.
If you’re staying in a hotel, be sure to enquire about parking. If they don’t have any on-site, they will usually give you a discount for a car park not too far away.
Budget UK rail travel
There aren’t many better feelings than bagging yourself a seat on a busy train – however, there aren’t many worse than having to stay standing!
You can get yourself some fairly cheap train tickets by booking in advance – ideally, at least a month before you travel – and outside of peak times, but if you’re prepared to plan in advance, it will be worth it in the end.
If you find yourself using the train even semi-regularly, consider purchasing a railcard. They are available for a range of people (16-25s and seniors, for example) and can help to save a fair whack on your train fares.
Remember, though, that you still need to make your way to the train station if you want to catch a train! Parking in a dedicated car park can be expensive, so if you can, arrange to get a lift, share a ride or even jump on a bus to avoid coughing up for hefty car parking charges.
UK by coach
Coach trips are popular in the UK – and not just the ones broadcast on Channel 4!
Getting a good deal on coach travel will often require you to make some compromises, but with prices for lengthy journeys sometimes as low as £1, you may be willing to put up with the lack of on-board comfort and an early wake-up call.
£1 journeys may not be too frequent, but you can still get some incredible deals on coach travel in the UK. Some companies will get you from South Wales to London for as little as a fiver!
How to get cheap coach tickets:
- Book in advance
- Be willing to travel throughout the night
- Be prepared for a coach with little-to-no amenities
- Expect a long, slow journey
After all, once you arrive at your destination, all will be forgotten – until you have to get the coach home, that is!
London on a budget – surviving the capital on a shoestring
London is renowned for having one of the finest inner-city public transport lines on the planet, so make use of a tube fair calculator to make sure you’re getting the most out of it!
Take in some of London’s most iconic landmarks like Big Ben, The National History Museum and Buckingham Palace free of charge, using one of the city’s thousands of free Wi-Fi spots to upload your snaps to Instagram!
And while you’re in London, why not push your budget a little further? It’s known for being an expensive city – don’t get us wrong, it is – but London also offers some of the cheapest travel money deals.
So, if you’re jetting off from London on your holidays, pick up your Euros locally and make sure you’ve got travel insurance while you’re at it!