Published: 08 August 2017

Student budgeting: travelling on a budget

Near or far, you’ll need to get around while you’re at university, and with these tips you’ll be able to make the most of your time without breaking the bank.

Whether it’s travelling overseas or just getting around the UK to visit friends or family, you’ll inevitably want to travel during your time at university. Follow these top tips to make the most of your travel budget and get where you need to be. 

Get a 16-25 Railcard

A 16-25 Railcard costs £30 a year upfront, and then gets you a third off most rail tickets in the UK. The railcard will usually pay for itself in savings after a few train journeys, or even after just one big journey (if you’re about to buy a £100 train ticket to Scotland, for example).  You can find out more and apply online on the 16-25 Railcard website

Get a bike!

A bike makes getting around town much quicker and easier, and can save you time and money over walking or taking the bus. The University of Surrey has its own bicycle shop on campus – Bike Bros – who sell second hand bikes and servicing, and has lots of handy facilities for cyclists. Find out more on our cycling pages.

Get to know your new town

Guildford is an easy town to get around, whether on foot, on a bike, or by bus. Town is just ten minutes’ walk away from the University, and there’s a handy bus service that runs between all our campuses and into town.

This all means you probably don’t need a car, which could save you a lot of money. Aside from the big upfront cost of buying a car, drivers also have to pay for petrol, maintenance, insurance, vehicle tax, and (maybe!) fines and tickets. Save time, money and hassle by getting around under your own power instead.

Study abroad

Studying abroad for a year as an exchange student as part of your University of Surrey programme can be very financially efficient, as you pay reduced fees at Surrey for the year and no tuition fees for your host university in another country. If you study in Europe you could also be eligible for an Erasmus+ grant while you study too. It’s a great way to see the world and immerse yourself in another culture, and could broaden your horizons at a low cost.

During the summer, I took part in an Erasmus exchange and went to Stavanger, Norway. I felt that it was a perfect opportunity to discover how another country’s health system works, and offered me the chance to explore a different culture - learning some of the language was definitely one of the highlights.

Hayley Dyos, BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing 


If you decide to take time out and travel around Europe, you could push your holiday a lot further with an Interrail Pass. Interrail lets you buy days of unlimited rail travel across countries in Europe, meaning you pay just one fee for potentially thousands of miles of travel.

Flying on a budget

Seeing the world is a great way to spend vacation time at university, and you don’t need to spend a fortune to see some incredible places. There are lots of great guides online to getting the most out of airlines, but the most important points are to shop around, book early if you can, and don’t be afraid of budget airlines (but do watch out for costly extras you don’t need!).

Find out more

Find out more about saving money with our feature on how to create a student budget and how to have fun on a budget, and read more about other students’ experiences at the University of Surrey.

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