While you’re in the UK, you’ll frequently be on the move. Whether you are going to class or to a local store, taking a weekend trip, or traveling to other parts of Europe, you’ll need transportation. The UK has a very good public transport system, with an extensive network of buses, planes, and trains which simplify traveling. Cars can also be rented at affordable costs.
With the huge growth in low cost airlines over the last five years, it is now easier than ever to travel the UK and throughout most of Europe.
Popular low-cost airlines in the UK include:
Underground / Trams
If you are in a major metropolitan area such as London or Manchester, the cheapest and most cost effective means of transport is the underground or tram system. In London, the underground (known as the "Tube") offers a network of lines traveling to all parts of the city. Underground trains generally run between 5am and midnight, Monday to Saturday, with reduced operating hours on Sunday. For smaller cities such as Manchester or Nottingham, tram systems offer service to major parts of the city. Trams and underground offer discounted longer-term passes, like the Oyster Card for the Tube , which can help save money in your daily commuting.
The train is an efficient and comfortable way to travel around England and other parts of Europe, especially if you are going to or from London. Learn more about the National Rail Network.
The UK is also a great stepping stone to traveling more countries in Europe, and with the Channel Tunnel, you can now travel direct to Paris, Brussels, and other major destinations easily. Find out more about Eurostar.
As a student, buses will be another popular form of transport if you want to travel locally and throughout the country. Most cities and towns have some form of bus service – the larger the city, the more extensive the service. To travel throughout the UK, the National Express bus service runs convenient service to all parts of the UK.
Traveling by car can be very expensive and may not be an option for many international students. There is also the added complication of licenses and registrations. If you decide to purchase a new car, the dealer from whom you purchase does take care of all registration documents.
If you have a valid driving license from your own country, you can drive in the UK for up to 12 months. More information can be obtained from the DVLA in the UK.
If you do drive in the UK, observe these rules:
- You must drive on the left-hand side of the road and overtake on the right
- If you are riding a motorcycle or a moped, you must wear a crash-helmet
- The driver and front seat passengers must wear seat belts. Rear seat passengers must wear seat belts where they are fitted
- You must not drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- You must observe speed limits
- You must observe the minimum age requirements: The minimum age for driving a car or riding a motorcycle up to 25kW is 17 years of age The minimum age for driving a medium-sized vehicle is 18 years of age
Along with the classic taxi, rideshare in the UK is nearly as prevalent as it is in the US for local rides. Uber might be the most popular option worldwide, but some savvy startups have given UK riders more options including but not limited to:
- Addison Lee
Rideshare is generally the most economic option of traveling by vehicle, and certainly is the safe alternative to driving under the influence. Be sure to partake responsibly!