Whether you are heading for the library, visiting your friends around the UK, or popping home to visit your family, there are a number of ways to get from A to B without breaking the bank. You can also do your bit to help the environment, while when it comes to public transport - particularly at night - it's important to stay safe.
Not only is cycling the cheapest way to get around your university town, it's a super-efficient way to burn calories, plus you'll be travelling in an environmentally friendly way. Universities are bike-friendly places and most have allocated bike parks, so you won't have to stress about finding a parking space.
The joy of websites such as eBay is that prices for a half-decent bike start from an affordable £50. Other than that, you'll need a helmet, some reflective strips to keep you illuminated in the dark, a puncture-repair kit, a lock and a pump.
If the exertion of cycling doesn't appeal, taking the bus is the second cheapest option (although walking everywhere beats both alternatives of course, though it might get a bit tiring). Most institutions have bus services running conveniently from halls to your campus and town. To help you get an even cheaper ride, check out your institution's website to find out what type of saver schemes you're entitled to.
Having a car at university or college might seem like a bright idea, giving you the freedom to get where you want, whatever the weather. However, cars pump out large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere and petrol and parking bills can quickly add up. All in all, as a student, having a car is a bit of an unnecessary expense when there are so many cheaper and greener options out there.
If you're all danced out and can't face late-night public transport, or you're weighed down with multi-buys in a budgeted shopping spree, there is always the taxi option. There are two types of taxis - ones that you can hail on the street that operate on a meter, and minicabs that you pre-order by phone. If you are going to take a taxi, always check it has a licence disc on the front or rear of the vehicle. It's a good idea to keep a few licensed cab numbers on your mobile phone so you never get stranded.
Taxi fares depend on the time of day and the distance you are travelling, but it is always cheaper to travel in a group and split the costs. Female students should try to avoid getting taxis alone but if you do have to get a taxi by yourself, particularly at night, always sit in the back and keep your mobile phone close to hand.
Trains and coaches
If you are looking to travel further afield, coaches and trains are the best way to get out and about. You can get hold of a young person's railcard for £20 a year, which offers a third off rail travel. A young person's coachcard costs £10 a year, and offers 30 per cent off coach travel.
Of the two, coaches are the cheaper option and www.megabus.com offers trips from just £1. That said, coaches take longer and seating is often cramped. However, if you've got time on your hands you'll be able to enjoy the cash you've saved at your destination!
Trains on the other hand, are quicker and you can even opt for a seat with a table in the quiet zone if you want to work on an essay while you travel. If you are worried about the economics of train travel, booking online and in advance - especially avoiding peak travelling hours (before 10am and between 3pm and 7pm) - will cut your costs radically.
If you are planning a late-night session in the library or a night on the tiles, always plan ahead and find out what time your last bus is so you don't get caught out.
If you are travelling on a train at night, try to find a carriage with other people in; if you feel unsafe, move carriages when the train stops at a station.
When you order a minicab, always agree on a price before you get in to avoid quibbling once you reach your destination.
If your bike has a quick-release saddle and wheels, make sure you lock all of them up securely. Using a length of cable lock in addition to a D-lock is a good way of doing this.
If you do have a car and regularly drive your mates onto campus, ask them to chip in for the petrol to help ease your weekly bills.
National Rail and National Express
Sign up to start saving with a young person's railcard and/or coachcard
National cycle network
Plan your cycling route
VisitBritain journey planner
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