Being able to explore the city is one of the many things students love about London – having the freedom to travel wherever you desire is a feeling like nothing else! Plus, with so many transport services available, getting around is a piece of cake.
However, travelling comes at a price, and if you aren’t aware of certain transport costs, you’ll get a nasty surprise when you next check your bank balance. To avoid accumulating a hefty bill, here are some London travel tips that you won’t want to live without…
Get an Oyster Card
Oyster cards are the most effective option for tube travel, which is London’s main transport network. Although initially you must make a small payment up front, once you have your card you can travel within your chosen zones as often as you like until you next top up. Luckily, student oyster cards are available, so you will be able to acquire one at a slightly discounted rate. You can also use your oyster card on the bus network, so investing in one is definitely worthwhile.
When it comes to student accommodation, London has a huge range encompassing both central and less-central travel zones. If you’re staying in halls of residence or flat shares, you will probably need a zone 1-2 travel card at most, whereas homestays may require travelling out to zones 3 and 4, which will cost a little extra
Get a Railcard
If you’re living in student accommodation, London can be a great base for escaping to the country once in a while and getting to know some of the rest of the UK. Whatever reason you have for travelling further afield, a railcard is a great way to save money on train transport. A 16-25 railcard gives you a third off your ticket price, which is a massive saving in the long run. A three year railcard is just £70, but if you are only in London for a short time, £30 will cover one year of rail fares.
Be Wary of Taxis
There are two types of taxi service in London: Black Cabs and Mini Cabs. Black Cabs are located all over London and can be hailed without any need to book in advance. Although this may seem slightly more convenient, these cabs can often surprise you with high charges. The meters in Black Cabs charge per portion of a mile and per minute stopped, which, if you end up stuck in traffic, can massively increase your bill.
For students, it’s best to travel in Mini Cabs. These must be booked in advance, but charge for the entire journey regardless of traffic. This means you’ll always know how much you need to pay. Another tip is to book with the service closest to your location, as this will work out cheaper still.
The city of London is bursting with opportunities and places to explore, so make sure you’re prepared to find the most economical options before you head out on your adventure. Wherever you happen to be situated in your student accommodation, London has so much in store for you.
Sophie Smith works an independent consultant, specialising in offering advice on London student accommodation. London offers an unbeatable experience for international students, and Sophie has many suggestions to make sure that their time in the city is positive, safe and enjoyable.