As your semester in London begins, we wanted to do a quick round up of some top travel tips that should come in handy as you navigate your way around London, the UK and beyond!
Before you head off anywhere, make sure you download CityMapper. This handy app will help you plan any journey and will compare all your different transport options.
Either apply online or visit a self service ticket machine at any London underground station. The Oyster Card is a contactless payment card which can be used on tubes, buses, some trains and even boats around London. If you are making regular daily journeys on the tube, then you will want to buy yourself a monthly Zone 1-2 travelcard which will give you unlimited travel, within these zones.
The tube is the name for London’s underground rail network and once you get your head around it after using it a couple of times, it is really easy to navigate. The different tube lines are all colour coded on the tube map, making it easy to see where different lines travel to and connect. There are 9 different zones in London, but you will probably find most of the places you will want to go are located in zones 1-2.
The Night Tube was introduced last year and some of the lines now run a 24hr service over the weekend. But be warned during the week though and across all other lines at the weekend, the last tube is usually around midnight.
Top Tip - when using the escalators at tube stations, make sure you stand on the right and walk on the left to avoid passive aggressive tutting from fellow commuters.
Taking the bus is also a great way to travel across London, while also getting to know your way around. Often when taking the tube you won’t realise how close two tube stations actually are (walking between two stations rather than taking the tube can often be quicker and easier. Holborn to Covent Garden is a great example of this).
Another great thing about the bus, it’s only £1.50 no matter how far you travel.
And, with the new Hopper Fare, if you get on two buses within an hour you will only be charged for the first.
There is a great train network operating throughout the UK and from London you can take direct trains all across the country, as far as Scotland.
If you are planning to use the trains while you are here, it is worth getting yourself a Young Persons Railcard. Although you have to pay to get this, you will quickly make your money back as you will get 30% off all train journeys (and a discount on tube travel if you link it with your oyster card.) You can get the best deals by planning your journey in advance and booking with The Trainline.
Top Tip: The Caledonian Sleeper is a night train which will take you from London into the wilder reaches of Scotland. It’s one of the very few long distance services left in the UK and if you book in advance, can be very cheap.
London is a great gateway to Europe and with budget airlines like Easyjet and Ryanair you can get some really cheap flights over to mainland Europe. Just keep in mind where all those “London” airports are, make sure you have taken the time of your flight into consideration and have planned how you are going to get to there.
For something different, why not hop on the Eurostar to travel through the Channel Tunnel and across to Paris, Brussels or Bruges! Keep a lookout for their sales, which they run fairly regularly and will offer heavily discounted seats.
Finally, don’t rule out coaches! If you are looking for real budget travel and think you can handle traveling on a coach overnight, then Eurolines can get you to Europe for as little as £15 each way.
Top Tip: Before you leave the country, don’t forget to pack your Student Letter which you will need to be able to provide at customs to get back in!
If you have any questions or are looking for more travel tips, come and see us in the student life office. Wishing you lots of happy and safe travels this semester!