Best viewed with CSS (Style Sheets) enabled!

Transport and Travelling

Trains

The rail network provides a fairly fast way of travelling around the country.  You can find out information about train times and ticket prices from National Rail Enquiries (Tel: 08457 484950 • Web: www.nationalrail.co.uk) or from a train station or travel agent.  You can buy train tickets from any train station.  Ideas for cheap train travel:

Young Person's Railcard: If you are 26 years old or younger or a full time student, you can buy a Young Person's Railcard. This will gives you a 1/3 discount every time you buy a train ticket, so it is worth getting one if you intend to travel a lot in the UK.  You can buy one at most stations in the UK.

Train Ticket

Buy a return ticket: Return tickets are usually cheaper than two single tickets.  If you are travelling to and from your destination in one day, you might be able to buy a ‘cheap day return’, which is even cheaper.

Buy your ticket in advance: If you plan to make a long journey, it is often worth buying your ticket a few days, or even weeks before your journey – this will save you money and should ensure you get a seat on the train.  The tickets you can buy in advance include Saver, Super Saver and Apex tickets.  For some of these tickets, you will need to book the time of train you will travel on – your ticket will not be valid if you travel on a different train.

Network Card: In the South East of England, a ‘Network Card’ works out cheaper (at the time of writing) than other discount cards, such as the Young Person’s Railcard.

Travelcards/season tickets: If you are intending to travel around in London or any of the major cities, it will probably be cheaper to purchase a travelcard.  A one-day travelcard allows you unlimited travel for one day, and normally works out to be the price of three journeys! In London, you can buy an offpeak travelcard for Mondays-Fridays after 9.30am, or weekends.  You can also buy a travelcard for weekdays before 9.30am, but these are much more expensive.  You can also buy travelcards/season tickets for longer periods, e.g.  a week, a month, a year, for travel in lots of towns/cities in the UK.

Ask for help: Ask at the train station which would be the best ticket for you – do compare the costs of the different types of tickets available.

Train stations in London

Many cities around the UK have one main railway station.  However there are eight main stations in London – you can catch trains to/from a different part of the UK from each station: Charing Cross serves south east England; Euston serves the Midlands, and north west England; Kings Cross serves north east England and Scotland.  Normally it is quicker to travel to Scotland from Kings Cross as trains are faster than on the west coast route (from Euston); Liverpool Street serves East Anglia (you can catch a train to Stansted Airport from Liverpool Street); Paddington serves west and south west England and Wales (you can catch a train to Heathrow Airport from Paddington); St Pancras serves the East Midlands; Victoria serves the south coast (you can catch a train to Gatwick Airport from Victoria); Waterloo serves south and south west England.  You can catch a train to destinations in continental Europe (e.g.  Paris and Brussels) from Waterloo.

Local buses

You can get information on the routes and times of buses in your area from Traveline (Tel: 0870 608 2 608 • Web: www.traveline.org.uk). You can often find a leaflet with local bus routes and times from a public library.

Many buses in large towns and cities operate an ‘exact fare’ policy – which means that the driver will not give you change if you do not have the right amount of money in coins.  Make sure that you have a selection of coins ready before you board the bus. You may be able to buy a travelcard or season ticket to save money if you use the local buses regularly.

To catch a bus, find a bus stop for the right bus route.  When your bus approaches, show the bus driver that you want to use the bus by stepping to the edge of the pavement and stretching your arm towards the road.  You usually need to pay the driver, or show any travelcard/season ticket as you get on the bus.  When you want to get off the bus, you usually need to press a button that tells the driver to stop at the next bus stop.  Ask the driver for help if you don’t know where you need to get off the bus – the bus driver will then tell you when you reach your destination.

Long-distance coaches

National Express, a chain of national coach operators, operates a comprehensive network of coach services across the UK and this can often work out much cheaper than other forms of travel.  However, travel by coach takes longer, may not be as comfortable, and often has fewer services.  If you are 26 years old or younger or a full time student, you can buy a Discount Coachcard.  This will save you 30% on many National Express journeys.  It is wise to book your ticket in advance as seating is limited.  For more details, visit your local coach station or contact National Express (Tel: 08705 808080 • Web: www.nationalexpress.com)

An alternative company, Megabus also offers very cheap coach travel across the UK.

You can also travel by coach to many destinations in continental Europe – these services are run by Eurolines. These coaches always start and finish at London Victoria coach station.

Underground trains

Several cities in the UK have an underground or metro system (in London, this is called the Underground Stationtube’). The underground has the advantage that trains are not held up by traffic.  However, be prepared for a squeeze, especially at peak travelling times! It is easy to plan your journey if you are not familiar with where you are going.  Stations are clearly marked on maps and by signs in the street.  You need to buy your underground ticket before you get on the train – either from a machine or a ticket seller.  Beware of 'ticket touts'.  These are people who sell tickets unofficially, usually at a higher price than the official price.

Taxis

Sometimes you need to travel in areas where there are no buses or trains.  In this case, taxis are useful.  Look for names of taxi companies in local telephone directories.  All taxi firms have to be registered by the local council so for short journeys, different taxi companies will charge you similar fares.  However, always get a quote before taking a journey of more than 8 miles: prices can vary a lot between different firms.  Taxis are often thought to be expensive, but if a group of people use a taxi together, and divide the cost, the price will work out quite favourably.  For your own safety, you should only travel in a registered taxi.  Do not enter a car if you cannot see a taxi sign, even if the driver offers you a cheaper fare.

Cars

If you plan to be in the UK for some time, you may consider buying a car. Car Remember that you can purchase a second hand or used car more cheaply than a new one! It is a good idea to take a British friend along with you to help you check it out.  You could also arrange for someone from the AA (the Automobile Assocation, a British organisation that provides services for car drivers) to check a second hand car, for a fee. Having a car can work out to be quite expensive, as you will need petrol, insurance, motor tax as well as paying for repairs.  If you have a driving licence from your home country, you may be allowed to drive in the UK - or you may need to apply for a UK driving licence. Contact the Driving and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) to ask about this.

Hitch-hiking (getting a lift)

Asking lifts from strangers in passing cars is known as hitch hiking.  Hitch hiking is not considered safe these days, especially for women.

Accommodation around the UK

You may need to stay somewhere overnight if you are travelling around the UK.  Here are a few of the types of accommodation you could use:

Youth Hostels: The Youth Hostel Association (YHA) organisation provide dormitory accommodation (where you share a bedroom with 1 or more others) at cheap rates in many locations around the UK.
In return for a cheap bed, you will be expected to do a variety of ‘chores’ such as cleaning.  You do not need to be a ‘youth’ (young person) to use a youth hostel.  Visit YHA's websites to find out more about youth hostels in England and Wales or Scotland or Northern Ireland.

YMCA & YWCA: You may also find YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association), the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) and other hostels near where you are staying. They provide cheap and convenient accommodation.  You do not need to be a young person or Christian to use one of these hostels.

Camp Sites: If you intend taking a long break, camping can be both fun and cheap.  It might be worth buying a cheap tent, and then selling it at the end of your stay.  Or you may be able to either hire or borrow a tent.  Your local library may have a list of sites.  You should always camp on a campsite, not on the roadside.

Bed & Breakfast: This is often called B&B, and is one of the cheapest forms of accommodation.  You will normally have your own room (sometimes in a residential house) and will be provided with breakfast the following day.  Call in to your local tourist office for a list of available B&B accommodation.

Hotels: Hotels will usually cost several times the B&B rate, but are more luxurious.

Images: www.freeimages.co.uk

friends-international@surrey.ac.ukChristians welcoming international students
in Guildford