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The best ways to save money on student travel

10th October 2016 Print

Moving to a new city when you start university is a great experience. You’ll meet new friends, experience new sights and enjoy many a night in the various bars and clubs of your adopted home. However, getting your bearings and learning how to get around the city is a task in itself – never mind the cost!

With each and every penny of your student loan precious, it’s important to get the best savings you can. Luckily, travelling around doesn’t have to be too expensive – and we don’t mean you’ll have to walk everywhere, either. Here are some great ways to save money.

Buy a used bicycle

Most university cities are fairly small, especially in first year when you’ll most likely be in halls close to campus. To cut down travel time and increase your general fitness, why not invest in a used bicycle? Most are generally in good condition and are far cheaper than buying a new bike. Use websites like Gumtree, Freecycle and the notice board of your student union, as many final year students might be looking to sell theirs. 

Consider car sharing

Bringing your car to university might seem like a practical step, but it’s often completely unnecessary thanks to city centre traffic, parking costs and general motoring expenses. It’s usually always better to either sell your car or leave it at home.

However, if you’re frequently heading back home for weekend visits or trips outside the city, you might need your wheels. Consider offering a car-sharing service to fellow students who might be going your way, which will split the cost of fuel. Alternatively, if you leave the car at home but know students who are driving the same way you’d like to go that weekend, ask if you can jump in. 

Savings on cross-country travels

Train travel is essential for students who have to travel across the country, or go to university a few hours away from their home town. Fortunately, you can cut down the cost of fares by purchasing a 16-25 railcard – which you can buy for a discounted rate with an NUS card. If you’re going to be doing ANY rail travel, it’s generally worth getting your hands on a card first.  

You can also hop on the Mega Bus or National Express bus services, which travel similar distances to trains albeit at a slower rate. The advantage? Some can be booked for as little as £1 if you buy in advance. 

Invest in a student bus pass

Bus travel is pretty much the best way to get around a larger city when the distance you need to travel is too far to walk and the weather is poor. Unfortunately, travelling by bus can be fairly expensive if you don’t plan ahead. For most students, there are a few journeys a week that could be taken on the bus – and with any repeat journeys there’s the opportunity to save by purchasing a bus pass. For example, the unirider tickets from Stagecoach offer unlimited bus travel for students. By paying once, you can travel all term for as little as 72p per journey. 

By taking time to assess where you’ll need to travel and how often you’ll use each style of transport, you can dig out discounts and deals and ultimately cut down on the cost of your daily journeys.