Hi! What a great experience that’s going to be! I just got back from studying abroad in England for the year, you’re gonna love it over there :)
Taking the bus is definitely the cheapest option. You can expect to pay anywhere from 5-20 pounds for a ticket. If possible, try and book as far in advance as possible as this is how you’ll get the cheapest rate. Megabus is famous for offering fares such as London to Edinburgh for 1 pound, but you’d have to been pretty far in advance and be willing to travel on a certain day of the week to find a fare that cheap.
There are two main bus companies I’d recommend using Megabus and National Express:
About the hitchhiking, I don’t think that’s a very good idea! I’ve done it in rural Ireland, but outside that I really wouldn’t recommend it.
If you have any questions please, please ask – I love England and I’ve done extensive traveling around the UK and Ireland. I love helping people plan trips – have an amazing time!!
I will reiterate what Sarah has said. It’s going to be an absolutely great experience.
I too would strongly advise against trying to hitchhike in this country.
Hitching is something I have done many a time back home in Australia but in this country you are either highly likely to be ignored and have to walk all the way, OR you will end up yet another crime statistic.
This is a lovely country but it’s a little strange…
Definitely think that buses are the cheapest way to travel, that said however, check out Virgin Trains. They are doing some absolutely GREAT ticket prices for things like London to Edinburgh as well. Sometimes for like £20 which is really unusual for this country where trains are prohibitively expensive.
In fact this morning I am taking a train to London, it’ll cost me £15 to get there if the price hasn’t gone up. It would cost me £5 in diesel to drive!!!
Enjoy your trip. If I can offer a bit of advice. Get yourself 3 or 4 memory cards for your camera… take a week of pics on one. Stop at an internet cafe and upload the lot to somewhere! Then use the next memory card. Don’t rely on one exclusively! I nearly lost a lot of pics when I went back home to Australia by doing that…
Always have spare camera batteries, they’ll always go flat when you want it most.
And carry your mobile phone at all times, even if you aren’t going to use it.. because it will ALWAYS be able to contact 112, the international emergency number for mobile phone networks (112 is active in ALL countries with GSM – it is equivalent of 999, 911, 000, etc).
Travel light. Take two changes of outer clothes and 4 changes of underwear etc. You will find a laundromat in almost EVERY town. You can also buy other clothes if you need them. Buy a cheap compact and fast drying travel towel (Check out AZTEC Anti-Bacterial travel towels on eBay or similar) and always keep that with you, you never know when you’ll need a towel). Keep some sweets in your backpack just in case you can’t find food shops.
Remember that this is a country where they roll up the footpaths and hang out the town closed sign at 5pm. And don’t plan on walking through the high street of any town after 10pm on a weekend night!!
Keep your wits about you and take your personal safety as your NUMBER 1 priority. Learn a little about martial arts or something. And get yourself a piece of hard plastic the same size/shape as about a half a pen or a little longer.. If someone comes at you to attack you then run that down their ribs or use it to push HARD in to the middle of their sternum, it’ll repel them so hard and fast it’s not funny.
That said, don’t worry too much, it’s just a few tips, you aren’t likely to need any of them, but hey, it’s something from an experienced traveller.
Good luck and enjoy yourself.. you should have a wonderful time. :-)
to add to the advice already given.
1] It is safe to put up your thumb, not the skirt in the British countryside for a ride in a car, especially if you speak the language of the country.
2] there are lots of places around the world that are not open 24/7. It is only necessary to adjust :-) and plan ahead a little bit. But on the other hand in UK like in most European countries there is bakeries where you get fresh stuff and there is butchers. Not an extint species as in most parts of the USA.
3] If you can get internet access look for offers from Easyjet and Ryanair. They sometimes offer flights for a pound or two [early booking required of course if you know when you want to travel]
4] For foodintake try pubs first. Good food most of the times and people to talk to. In Europe or a lot of other places around the world you do NOT need to wait to be seated and it is perfectly alright to join people at their tables after they ok it.
5] But not last. Don’t let them scare you too much. Not every english person is a criminal. Only in big cities as valid all around the world you need to be careful.
Since The UK is NOT in Asia or other remote places people still are very much “European”.
forgot something important.
GO HOSTEL !!!
low price for putting your head overnight and great communication with people from around the world; not comparable to shutting yourself into a hotel room.
Most European countries offer hostel experience and you can go internet for that:
Thank you very much Sarah for your help on transportation. The trip I have planned is also for England as well as Ireland. How was it hitchhiking in rural Ireland? Had you gone alone or with someone?
Thanks also to everyone else for the tips. I was wondering about the bus fares and I know that it’s cheap to book ahead, but I’m worried that once the day comes, if I get lost or fall behind, what will happen to the reserved ticket?
I also have the same concern for hostels because I have been told to book hostels in advance, but what if something arises and I can’t make it on time? Is a deposit required, or do I pay when I get there? Is there a great difference in price when I book ahead and when I pay for a room/ticket on the spot?
And Aus1, what do you mean by avoiding going out after 10pm?
Also, I was wondering if I bring the whole shower kit, such as shampoo, body wash, conditioner and so on? It’ll take up space in my backpack but I don’t know if I could toss it?
I think that a Eurorail pass is much cheaper if purchased outside of the UK or Europe for that matter. I was told that this type of student rail pass is a lot less expensive. Check with a travel agency. I lived in France and just took my car over by Ferry, which as a great experience as well but all of the travelling I did in Europe was by car.
oh wow! that is going to be such a great experience for you :) have you ever been to england before?
that’s so crazy because this is exactly what i’m planning on doing this summer :) my boyfriend is coming over from australia and we are taking a random trip around the UK for a bit! how exciting to find someone else doing it as well =D
have you decided where you want to go yet? or are you just going to wing it and go where you feel like on the day? after looking around it looks like megabuses are the cheapest but if you have a student card then you should be able to get other forms of travel, like rail, etc, pretty cheaply! i think us english respond to students pretty well.
also, are you travelling alone? i only ask because it is normally a lot safer to hitchhike when you’re with others, but it should be okay in the small towns! most people are pretty friendly and wanting to help :)
good luck! let me know what you are planning to do, its always great to share ideas!
When are you going? My two good guy friends and I want to go next summer in Aug. because that’s when it’s cheaper. But so far I found that the cheapest rail is Rail Europe. It covers the entire UK not just England. You get can passes based on periods of time A pass for a month cost $140USD but that’s cheap considering BritRail cost around 300 I think and that is just for the pass that covers England. Also with that, Hostels do look sweet but the average price I find in smaller towns is $30 a bed on weeknights and 35 to 40 for weekends. But along with the Rail Europe they have a pass called the Great British Heritage Pass and it gives you
“Free entry to nearly 600 of Britain’s public and privately owned historic properties.
Choice of 4, 7 or 15 consecutive days, or 1 month passes. The Great British Heritage Pass Gazetteer, a free planning guide listing the properties with colorful maps and essential information.”
along with many trains all over…
but I only know all this because I’ve been nonstop researching since the idea popped in my head. So this is nothing compared to actually being there. BUT I thought I’d throw those ideas out there.
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