Travelling to United Kingdom can contribute to large portion of your travelling budget since there are no low-cost carriers offering no-frill flights from Asia. Apart from air travel, there are other costs to factor into, such as transportation cost that moves you between cities as well as to aid you to explore different parts of a city.
In UK, public transportation system is the most common and easy way of commuting as public transports are well-established, extensive and convenient. Taxis will cost you an arm and a leg, causing you to burst your budget especially if you have a tight one to keep within.
Having said that, here are some public transportation hacks to help you move around UK more cheaply.
1) Railway train travel
In United Kingdom, there are a number of train companies operating different routes at different track and timings and National Rail is the official website to book train tickets within UK. By entering the origin and destination as well as the date and time (optional), the website will do a quick and thorough search on all the possible train networks together with their types, prices, timing as well as duration for your selection.
Train tickets are open for sale 3 months in advance with different types of tickets such as Advance, Anytime, Off-peak, Season and Rover & Ranger.
Advance tickets prices are cheapest tickets available however they offer no flexibility nor refundable/ exchangeable. You are only allowed to take the specific train at the specific date and time with allocated seat. If you miss the train, you are expected to purchase a new ticket which means additional cost. There are usually a limited amount of seats release for advanced tickets thus if you are 80% certain, go ahead and book the tickets as the price will increase as the date gets nearer to departure.
There are also Anytime tickets which are available at a flat rate through out the day as trains run the track at recent intervals hence it gives you enough flexibility not to book ahead of time and you can almost be assure a ticket as you purchase them before the next train arrives.
Off-peak tickets are also available for some route however they will usually operate during less busy time on a specific date, time and route which is available for immediate purchase
Rover & rangers tickets offers unlimited travel within a confine area and there may restriction in terms of timing and Season tickets allow unlimited travel between two stations however these are less relevant to travellers who is on the move all the time.
Now, which type of tickets should you purchase? Do a little research by checking the tickets available for the exact day you intend to travel to understand the ticket types and to determine do you really need to get your tickets in advance.
Travel from London King Cross station to York would cost £13.60 for an advance ticket if booked 3 months in advance and for an impromptu trip the following day, the tickets would cost between £20.80 to £49.50 for an advance ticket.
There are regular trains running from Guildford to London Waterloo with Anytime ticket which can be purchase at £12.70 throughout the day, whether you book it online or over the counter hence it offers tad bit of flexibility in your travel planning.
2) Coach v.s Train
Apart from train services, there are a few other coach services that run at different route and intervals among different cities in UK.
Generally buses tend to be a cheaper option as compared to railway trains however trains tend to get you to your destination faster. Weigh your pros and cons, money over time or vice versa. In some instants, buses only take a little more time but could save you more money.
Check the location of the bus and train stations to determine which one is a more preferred choice.
A train from Manchester Piccadilly to Liverpool Lime Street can cost you £7 for a close to one hour ride whereas the bus from Manchester, Shudehill Interchange to Liverpool One Bus Station only cost you £5 and it takes only between 6 to 16 minutes more and could be more convenient to your hotel/ hostel.
Be sure to and play around and find your best option.
3) When in London, tube train or walk
London has famous red tube trains that run across the underground of London bringing commuters to their destinations. After all, you cannot deny its convenience. However when in Central London, it is one of the best place to discover on your feet with plenty to sightsee. Walk along River Thame, passing by London Eye, Tate Modern London, Shakespeare’s Globe, have a lunch break at Borough Market then cross Tower Bridge to Tower of London. Taking the tube may be an easier and faster option but you will miss out on all the actions, famous landmarks and beautiful sceneries on the ground furthermore, one station to the next is not that far away.
It is kind of romantic to be strolling through such a beautiful city and walking is a form of exercise to keep fit too!
Make use of these tips on your next visit to United Kingdom and have fun trying out the different methods mention above to save some money to indulge in your guilty pleasures.