You’ve been accepted, you’ve got accommodation and you’re eagerly awaiting September with glee and fear in equal measure, but how are you going to get around? This totally depends on where you’re based, but judging by the fact that most Universities are situated in built up towns and cities, I’m going to go ahead and say there are plenty of ways to get around on your tight student budget. The easiest way to get to Uni or shops is to drive, right? But keeping a car at Uni can be an expense that you just can’t afford. Anyway, the smaller Universities tend to have a limited supply of parking spaces, especially ones situated right in the middle of town.
Walking is your first port of call, but for that you need to do your research. If your University is about a 30-minute walk or less, there is no good reason why you can’t walk it. Not only will it keep you moderately fit, but the only expenses you’ll pay out will be for a good waterproof coat and a sturdy umbrella. Sturdy is the word here, because the last thing you need is your umbrella blowing inside out in the middle of a rainstorm. If you buy one that is large and rounded to create a dome around you, the wind won’t be able to get under your umbrella nearly as easily as a bog-standard flat umbrella.
Some Universities also provide bus services for their students from their halls or popular housing places, like Southampton University, but again most small universities can only provide smaller shuttles designed for late nights studying or drinking, not for every day use. Some don’t even have that, so it’s best to do your research! Don’t forget, many cities also have tram or underground public transport that you can use. Just make sure you get your travel-cards for them.
You may want to go home every weekend when you first start, but trust me when I say, hold on a while! You’ll only make your homesickness worse, and it’ll cost you way too much money! I’ve seen too many homesick people go back home and drop out of Uni, don’t let that be you. However, when you’ve deemed it long enough, there are plenty of money-saving initiatives out there. There are plenty of coaches available to you from companies like National Express and Greyhound for long journeys, and if you don’t live too far away, a bus season ticket may be your answer. This is also useful for getting around the town, especially if your local supermarket is a bit too far away for you. Failing bus links, a railcard may be the answer. When I began University, Natwest was offering 16-25 railcard with its student account, and though I am unsure if they still do that, it’s worth rooting around and seeing what you can get, or you can just get hold of one on the website or at your local train station.
Transport will cost you money, but doing the right research and looking in the right places for help is a great way of saving what you can. Not seeing your mum every weekend so she can do your washing always helps too; it’s way cheaper to just do it yourself.