How to make the best of British public transport for your holidays

National express coach
Photo: Flickr/Didbygraham

Using British public transport for your holiday doesn’t have to limit the number of places you can visit and will knock off quite a few costs from your holiday which you would accumulate if you were to take your car with you. So leave the car in the garage and hop on the bus to your nearest train station and head off on holiday.

The UK has many options when it comes to public transport, and you can make your travels incredibly cheap with some forward planning and flexibility. Only last year, I managed to travel from Lancaster, to Swansea, to Aberystwyth and back again for under £50, using a mixture of coach and rail travel. I should probably mention the several hour wait in the early hours of the morning in Birmingham city centre’s Macdonald’s joint (it’s the only place that is guaranteed to be open 24 hours a day!), however as I was on a budget, it was necessary!

Obviously rail travel is the fastest option in the UK, but not always the cheapest or the most direct, yet with advanced booking and discount cards such as the senior rail cards, and young person rail cards, those most in need can find suitable discounts. On one or two occasions I have managed to strike gold and get first class rail tickets cheaper than standard class, and I have to say, I felt really privileged by my complimentary coffee and sausage sandwich, not to mention the quieter carriage and free luggage rack space!

For the more tolerant traveler, coach travel is an incredibly cheap option. Megabus and National Express, the leading UK coach companies offer some exciting “fun fares” which can see you travelling from Edinburgh to London for £17 one way with Megabus. Although not as cheap as Megabus, National Express travels to more destinations and is much more accessible, but still offers discounts to certain discount card holders. Be prepared with coach travel however that you can’t choose your neighbours, and it’s nowhere near as comfortable as rail transport but if your wallet overrides your comfort needs, it will place you in a convenient city centre location at a low price!