London Travel Hacks: The Cheapest Way To Travel in London 2023
The buzzing capital city of London is home to some of the most popular attractions, including Tower Bridge, Big Ben and St Paul’s Cathedral.
Understandably when moving to a big city like London, you might be a little overwhelmed, especially with the aspect of travel.
Rest assured, there are plenty of options to travel around the city, whether it’s the tube, bus, walking or cycling, the variety of options make it super easy if you’re studying here.
We know that when you’re staying at your student accommodation in London you want to save as much cash as possible, so you’ve got more for the essentials and going “out out”!
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the cheapest ways to travel in London to give you a head start, check it out below.
*Please remember it is now compulsory to wear a mask on public transport and in shops to protect you and others from COVID-19*
1. 18+ Student Oyster Card
These nifty little cards offer far better value than buying a paper ticket and can save you up to a whopping 30% on travel.
It costs £25 and expires when your course ends, and you can apply online after you’ve completed the enrolment process with your uni, simple!
All you have to have to do is tap on and tap off from every journey by placing it over the yellow circular reader.
Paper tickets on a single tube journey can cost an eye watering £4.90, whilst a single trip on an Oyster card in zone 1 is only £2.40, that’s money saved for a pint!
If you have contactless or Apple Pay, this works the same way too, although some would argue that the Oyster Card is slightly better value for money as they offer student discount.
2. 16-25 Rail Card
The National Railcard offers a 1/3 off rail fairs for anyone aged between 16-25, although it costs £30 per person, trust us when we say, it’s well worth it.
When you combine your Railcard with your 18+ student oyster card you can get up to 33% discount off any off-peak travel on the TfL network.
So instead of paying the original £2.40 with your 18+ student oyster card, the fare will be reduced to £1.59, almost the same as a single ride on a bus!
3. Plan Your Day In Advance
This may sound a little boring and “adult” but if you plan your day in advance, and you know exactly where you need to go and how, you’re bound to save money in the process!
We know what you’re thinking…*yawn* organisation!? But trust us, in a booming city like London, organisation for travel is absolutely key.
Getting your head around the tube can be super tricky at first, especially if you’re new to the city.
We’d recommend downloading the popular “Tube Map” app, which lets you plan your route, and know status and departures as well as handy information and facilities.
Because let’s be honest, you don’t want to end up going the wrong way and having to spend a fortune on the tube when you don’t have to!
Ready to shop til’ you drop? You’ll actually find it much easier to walk to the key shopping areas in London, as opposed to swapping lines at South Kensington.
Areas such as Bond Street, Oxford Street, Carnaby and Regent Street are simple to walk to, just get Google Maps open and you’ll be on your way.
It’s best not to take the Piccadilly line between Covent Garden and Leicester Square because it’ll be filled with queues, so get your walking boots on instead!
5. Santander Cycles
Why not hop on a bike for just £2 and cycle round the city?
The best news is, the first half an hour is free each time you pop onto a new bike, so you can take several trips in one day and it’ll only cost you £2.
Alternatively, if you have your own bike and want to put it to good use, now’s your time!
All you need to do is download the Santander Cycles app, or go to any docking station terminal with your bank card and touch the screen to get started.
You don’t need to book or plan in advance either, just hire it, ride it, and get saving!
6. Stick To Off-Peak Travel
Did you know? If you choose to travel at off-peak times, you can save up to 50%.
For example, going from zone 5 to zone 1 is £4.70 at peak time, but off-peak is only £3.10, because every little helps right?
The peak hours are between 6:30am and 9:30am, or between 4pm and 7pm, so maybe jot that down so you don’t forget.
Some other benefits of off-peak travel include less tourists, and the chance to take more Insta-worthy selfies!
7. Take The Bus
Travelling around London is much cheaper by bus than taking the Underground, or any other form of transport!
You even get to soak up the sights of London when travelling on the iconic double decker buses, which is a bonus in itself.
Take some time to chill, get lost in a book or listen to some music, and your bus journey can actually end up being rather pleasant, good vibes all round!
At times, the tube can get a little stuffy and cramped, all the more reason to hop on the bus and get to your destination.
We understand that sometimes it may be smarter and quicker to take the tube depending on where you’re heading, but the bus is definitely the best value for money in this case!
With an 18+ Student Oyster photocard, you can even get 30% off 7 day, monthly, and longer period bus & tram passes.
8. Get The Citymapper App
This handy little app can immediately find out your location and calculate the easiest less complex route to get anywhere in the city!
It has the ability to show you real-time information like when the next bus or train is arriving at any given stop, and reminds you when you need to get on or off.
The app will give you an estimated ETA that will change depending on traffic and any other delays, which is a great feature especially when you’re heading to lectures.
You can share your location with friends and save “home” addresses (in this case, your fabulous student accommodation!)
Now, it’s hooked up to other apps such as Uber, making it an all-round nifty app you need to download when studying in the city.