Cheap UK travel

Going on holiday in Blighty? You won't want to spend all your money crossing your own island then. The Mix tells you how to save cash when getting away from it all, UK stylee.

guy on train

Where can I go for £1?

Budget bus and coach travel

Don’t dismiss the humble coach, they’ve come a long way in recent years. Even the notorious Megabus has shunned the rickety double deckers on their last legs in favour of plush seats, leg room, and even, gasp, working toilets. They’re pretty darn cheap as well, and also reasonably sympathetic on the environment.

National Express offer fun fares to over 50 destinations within the UK. These are cheaper tickets that are exclusively available online and the earlier you book, the less they cost. If you are aged between 16 and 25 or a full-time student you are also eligible for a Young Person’s Coach Card, which allows you up to 30% off all coach travel, except those cheeky fun fares. It costs just £10 a year, or £25 for three years.

Megabus is also a good option, especially for last-minute travel, allowing you to book online and have your ticket number texted to your mobile. The earlier you book, the cheaper, with tickets starting at £1 each way plus a 50p booking fee.

Budget train travel

Buy a ticket on the day of travel and you’ll get hit with a whopper fare, but if you book in advance you can be on the same train for a fraction of the cost. These restrict your flexibility of travel – you must travel at the times you have booked or you will have to buy another ticket – but they’re much cheaper and can be bought as late as the day before.

You can get a 16-25 Railcard from any manned station for £24 a year, while some student bank accounts offer them for free. It allows you a third off the price of all rail travel, so spend £60 and you’ve already made your cash back. Martin Lewis’ Money Saving Expert also has heaps of tips and tricks for getting cheap rail tickets and beating the system.

Budget flights

These days you can fly to all sorts of places within the UK, like Edinburgh or Bristol, and this option is quite often faster and sometimes cheaper than a train or car journey might be; cheaper on your wallet anyway.

Don’t forget though, just because you can get from Dublin to Cardiff in under an hour, doesn’t mean you won’t have to check in ages beforehand and wait for bags to be checked in/unloaded just like you were going abroad. Fun, fun, fun. Really, though, if you don’t need to fly, you could try being nice to the planet and finding an alternative way.

Liftsharing

Chances are, if you’re heading somewhere big or popular, other people will be going too; whether it’s a festival, London, Blackpool or Newquay. Why not do your bit for the environment and get a lift door-to-door with the fabulously simple concept of lift-sharing? If you’re going on holiday with your mates this is a no brainer, but if it’s just one or two of you heading off, visit the following websites to register your journey and cross your fingers:

Consider your safety when car sharing, always tell someone else your plans and use reputable sites. Remember, car sharing isn’t just for holidays. Think about it for work, college and parties anytime, any place.

Hitchhiking

Ah the open road, the pouring rain, the hours being ignored, the stinky lorry drivers. Often not the safest, quickest or most reliable method of travelling around, hitchhiking still has its adventurous charms, and will only cost you the ink it takes to write ‘Skegness’, or whatever delightful destination you’ve chosen: “Anywhere but here!” perhaps? Luckily for you, we’ve devoted a whole factsheet on the subject of Hitchhiking, covering everything from what to wear to keeping your wits about you.

Photo of man on train by Flickr

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By Susie Wild

Updated on 29-Sep-2015

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