Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Globetrotting for Less; Whether It's Visiting Friends at Other Universities, Catching Up with Family or Backpacking across Australia, There Are Plenty of Discounts and Offers Available to the Discerning Student

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Globetrotting for Less; Whether It's Visiting Friends at Other Universities, Catching Up with Family or Backpacking across Australia, There Are Plenty of Discounts and Offers Available to the Discerning Student

Article excerpt

Byline: KATE CROCKETT

WITH your friends dispersed at universities across the country, at some point you are going to want to visit them to compare your student experience with life in their university town. The budget may be tight, but there are deals to be had if you get organised, book ahead and are prepared to be flexible.

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Planes

WITH the likes of Ryanair (www.ryanair.com), easyJet (www.easyjet.com) and flybe (www.flybe.com) battling it out to offer cheaper and cheaper fares, domestic flights are an increasingly viable option for the impoverished student. Ryanair has offers such as London Stansted to Glasgow for [pounds sterling]10.69, for example, but as there is a limited number of cheap seats, you will need to book well in advance.

As well as bringing down the price of flying, the proliferation of lowcost airlines has also brought them closer to you - with more operators in the smaller airports. One of the newer airlines, Air Southwest (www.airsouthwest.com), for example, operates out of Plymouth, Newquay and Bristol, with frequent flights to London and Manchester.

Trains

NOT everyone's favourite way to travel due to spiralling ticket costs, but sometimes there is just no other option. You can dull the pain by paying less for your seat with a Young Persons Railcard (www.youngpersons-railcard.co.uk) - a worthwhile investment.

Students in fulltime education can get a third off most UK rail fares with the railcard, which costs [pounds sterling]20 a year. It usually pays for itself within one or two trips. For example, a super advance return fare between London King's Cross and Edinburgh costs [pounds sterling]42.90 with a railcard. You can also save money on some bus and ship links, including rail/sea journeys to the Isle of Wight, Eire and Northern Ireland. In London, the Student Photocard, which gives savings of up to 30 per cent on travel in and around the city, is available to fulltime students at participating universities and colleges (see www.tfl.gov.uk for details).

Automobiles

LONG-DISTANCE bus travel is perfect for students who are strapped for cash but who have plenty of time on their hands. The UK's largest operator, National Express (www.nationalexpress.com), offers a [pounds sterling]1 funfare on certain journeys between London and 20 other UK cities, although it is not always easy to book. If you haven't the time or the inclination to search out those rock-bottom prices, you can save money with a Student Coachcard (for 16-25 year olds), which costs [pounds sterling]10 and provides discounts of up to 30 per cent on National Express services in England and Wales. There is also the Megabus (www.megabus.com), which operates between London and 11 other cities, between Liverpool Manchester and Leeds, and Dundee, Perth, Glasgow, Edinburgh and St Andrews. Fares start at [pounds sterling]1 (plus a 50p booking fee) and vary according to demand, so book early.

Accommodation

ARMED with that essential piece of student kit, the sleeping bag, you probably plan to kip on the floor of your friend's room in halls. But if that is not an option, the local Youth Hostel Association (YHA) may be.

The YHA offers cheap no-frills rooms in 230 hostels around the UK, and 4,500 worldwide in more than 60 countries. Membership costs [pounds sterling]14 and also entitles you to discounts with a number of other companies, including National Express and Eurolines. …

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