Friday, December 3, 2010

Getting Around the UK

I am by no means an expert on this topic, but I have been working very hard to try and understand transportation in the UK. And I still don't. It is obscenely more expensive than transportation throughout the EU, and you reaaaally have to dig deep to find cheap results. For example, today I spent my afternoon on the hunt for cheap transportation to London from Witham. I thought it would be very cheap, it's literally two hours away. WRONG. Not only that, but prices were changing drastically by the minute! I would type in the same search criteria every half hour and be presented with different results. It was frustrating and confusing, and I still don't really understand how I went from having a 48£ ticket to a $69£ one in half an hour.

Therefore, I am going to provide you with a serious of links that will hopefully be of assistance. I generally open every one of these in different tabs and search them all at once. This is helpful especially if you are not picky about the mode of transportation and/or the amount of time it takes you to travel.

This has been a lifesaver, really. Instead of having to go to every single cheap-airline website (e.g. ryanair, bmibaby, jet2, easyjet, thomascook) you can type your information into this website and it will search them ALL at once. You can even be as vague as saying "United Kingdom to Anywhere" if you are really just looking for the cheapest flight out. I have seen results for as low as 2£ doing this.

National Express
There are a lot of special parts of the National Express website where you can get cheap deals, but you need to look for them. Fun Fares are very cheap (they say some are as low as 3£ but I generally find them for about 7.50£ ) but you need to book in advance.

Berry's Coaches
I don't know very much about this website, because I literally only discovered it today. As I said, I spent most of the afternoon researching my own transportation and would not have come across this one had it not been for Seona. I haven't discovered it's in's and out's yet, but I'm sure they have some.

There is a special place in my heart set aside for my loathing of megabus. Not for any particular reason, really, except that I never have any luck with it. They require specific routes, and sometimes they are not even very affordable. I feel like it would be nonsense if I didn't include them, however, just know they aren't my number one recommendation. Along with them, you can also check Megatrain and Megaplus for other "great deals."


I absolutely BEG that you ignore my advice to use It is the largest rip-off ever, only second to the official Eurail website. Of course different websites are better for different countries, but these are some of the best for the UK.

National Rail
While prices are still usually in the hundreds, they are not nearly as obscene as the others.

This is the website that I used to book my tickets to London. While I was incredibly frustrated by the drastically fluctuating prices, the fact that the registration page is annoying as hell, and the stupid 3.50£ charge for using a credit card (even though it won't let you use the free debit card option when you ARE using a debit card!) it was worth the hassle for the price of the tickets. I wasn't able to find my journey for any less than 70£ on the other websites (not without additional fees, anyways) but was able to on this one. I was also very happy to have the option of buying my railcard for the Tube in the same purchase- very handy and time saving in the long run!

I hope these links are helpful to you when planning your journey around the UK. My biggest piece of advice is book your tickets early! WEEKS EARLY! if you really want to save money. If you have done some traveling through the UK and have some links you'd like to share, please leave a comment and I will include them in the post! As I said, I am far from an expert, and I would love to hear about more transportation options within the UK.

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