Travelling around the UK does not mean that you have to go into your overdraft and only eat noodles and oven chips for weeks afterwards. I’m writing this article as someone who is used to getting around the country on a budget. Even before being a student, if I wanted to go to places and see things, I had to think things through. In this article, I’ve included some of the suggestions and tips I’ve picked up over the years in the hope that it helps you to plan your next much-needed break from a busy term!
My first tip is coach travel. The numb bum you get twenty minutes into your Megabus journey will be worth it – believe me. I have braved many a 7-hour coach trip from London to Durham and it can be exhausting. However, with friends, the journey can be the thing you look back on the most in terms of making a joke out of the uncomfortable and monotonous situation.
Moral being: the journey is sometimes better than the destination
One of my favourite coach travel memories was a woman intermittently punching the back of my friend’s seat for a whole journey. After all, if a woman wants to left-hook an occupied seat for 3 hours straight for absolutely no reason, who am I to stop her? Safe to say, the trip to Swindon was a bit anticlimactic after that. So, the moral is: the journey is sometimes better than the destination.
If you have a bit of extra cash to splash, why not venture deeper into the assortment of UK coach companies and opt for National Express instead? With the comfier seats and the majority of USB sockets actually working, it will be worth the extra few quid, especially if you have a long journey ahead.
Buying a discount coach card may seem pointless due to coach travel being relatively cheap anyway, but I would recommend it if you travel by coach a lot to visit home and if you plan on travelling far by coach, as this is when the tickets can start to go up in price. Yes, the original £20-£30 for travel cards may sting at first, but they normally last a year and so it’s a good investment if you’re keen on seeing more of the UK whilst at Warwick.
Saying that, if you have a national railcard, I highly recommend taking advantage of rail connections from Coventry. From cities nearby like Birmingham, London, and Oxford, to places further a-field such as Bournemouth, Manchester, and Glasgow, they all make a great weekend away from campus.
After all, if it’s a good enough trip, you will only be in your accommodation whilst you’re asleep and for getting ready anyway
Even with a railcard, do book in advance and always compare with coach prices. Trainline is a good website for this as it compares the price of coach travel for the same journey. Yet, this is only for National Express, so it’s worth checking separately to see if Megabus works out cheaper still.
Also, during this time of year, a lot of your favourite bands and artists will be releasing new albums and potentially tickets for UK tours. Why not tour the country this way? It gives you something to travel for and so the rest of your trip can be quite relaxed. My best friend and I visited Glasgow for a few days and stayed in an Easyhotel before seeing The XX at the SWG3 on our last night. For four nights, we spent around £150 each and that included splitting the money for the hotel, coach travel, all of our food along with the ticket for the gig. And it cost us even less to visit Leicester when going to see Ricky Gervais’ Humanity stand-up tour.
This brings me on to address where you stay when you go to a city. Classic price comparison websites such as Booking.com and Trivago are useful for deciding where to stay, but it’s also worth checking out websites such as Hostel World. After all, if it’s a good enough trip, you will only be in your accommodation whilst you’re asleep and for getting ready anyway. For instance, in Brighton, a hotel room will cost you a minimum of £60 per night whilst a bed in a hostel dorm will cost you £17 (October prices). It’s all about weighing up what you want and going from there in terms of what you want to save money on.
Breaking the Warwick Bubble needn’t involve a long weekend trip to Paris or Rome
For my last tip, I don’t want to sound like I’m killing the buzz when it comes to being spontaneous. Yet, if you plan on going to clubs or bars each night, why not research which bars are cheaper? The same goes for restaurants. However, if you’re the type of person who wants to completely go with the flow and just decide what to do when you get there, chances are you’ll find what you want when walking around the city anyhow.
So, now you’ve read a few of my tips, what have you got to lose? Breaking the Warwick Bubble needn’t involve a long weekend trip to Paris or Rome. You can have just as much fun travelling up to Newcastle or Leeds. Plus, if my suggestions for visiting the UK haven’t twisted your arm enough, you can be comforted by the fact that such a break is better for the environment too. Happy travelling!