A Bison Abroad | Taking Cheap Weekend Trips


Although England may seem small when compared to the U.S., a great deal of history and culture is packed into this island country. Different regions are marked not only by changes in dialect, but in food, attitude and manner. With Wales and Scotland both sharing the same isle, and Ireland a short trip across Saint George’s Channel, interesting places are only a few hours journey from each other.

For my study abroad, I am living in Preston, Lancashire, a city just a bit bigger than Fargo (but a lot more metropolitan). Lancashire is in the northwestern part of England and is located on the main railway system, meaning it is very easy to travel.

In Europe in general, traveling by rail is often the quickest option, though it may be more expensive. Buses, citywide and regional, also offer excellent means of getting travelers to-and-fro on the cheap. Lastly, because everything is fairly close, flights in England and to other countries tend to be more reasonable.

This means weekend trips can be quite affordable, as long as you do not go every weekend. Here are several more tips to help make traveling in the U.K. less expensive:

LINDA NORLAND | THE SPECTRUM Trips to the Lake District can be more affordable if booked early.
Trips to the Lake District can be more affordable if booked early.

Stay in hostels. These are common features in most cities and towns across the U.K. Often imposing age restrictions, these dorm-like accommodations are perfect low-cost digs for students. Watch out, however, because they may either be geared more toward partying or a quiet night’s rest. So if you are looking to party hard until 4 a.m. like the Brits do, make sure you find a hostel with no curfew.

Book early. Train tickets can be anywhere from £15 to £80 round trip, so make sure you book as early as possible! This is the same with flights and buses, as well.

Find the free attractions. Many museums and art galleries in the U.K. have free entry. Try to research ahead of time and find the ones you would like to visit.

Get a student discount card. Cards like NUS Extra or the International Student Identity Card (ISIC) can get students a discount at some stores and websites. Check before you purchase one, however, because you do not want to spend money on a card you will never use. And if you do get one, do not forget to ask for the discount.

These tips will work for both short and long trips. But just remember: If you stay in a hostel, do not forget earplugs and an eye-mask, unless you really like being sleep deprived.

Linda is studying at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, England. Visit her blog lindagoestoengland.tumblr.com for more photos and advice or to ask a question.

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