International students: How to budget in Britain

Student jumping in the air

Along with many of the world’s top countries Britain has an expensive reputation. This could be an off-putting prospect for students who may want to explore the wonderful variety of Britain – but it shouldn’t! There are loads of money-saving ideas available to International Students on the British travel front; from travel tickets to theatre


TrainDid you know: the Queen’s favourite method of transport is the train?

A large part of anyone’s vacation budget is allocated to travel. In Britain by far and away the easiest form of transportation is the train. It’s the oldest rail-network in the world and one of the busiest – you can get just about anywhere on it. However, if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can be expensive.

Tips for cheap train tickets:

  • 16-25 railcard

  • Try to buy as far in advance as possible

  • Travel off-peak (the least popular time)

  • If you’re buying from the ticket clerk – ask for the cheapest!

Top tip: BritRail – an absolute-must for International Students. Available exclusively to overseas visitors, Britrail tickets are some of the most affordable and flexible in the UK.

How it works
There are numerous types of Britrail tickets available to suit varying needs. Essentially, a one-off payment entitles you to unlimited train travel across Britain within the specified time frame (consecutive or flexible tickets are available).

- Fixed price – so you won’t get stung by escalating prices on popular journeys
- Unlimited travel
- Further discount available for students
- First class ticket available


NUS Extra is the ultimate money-saving card. You can use it just about anywhere: high street fashion retailers, bars and restaurants - even mobile phone contracts and Spotify accounts!

Save even more: some stores don't advertise a student discount but it's always worth asking. You'll be suprised at how many give discounts on th quiet!


Package tours are a great way to explore Britain and meeting new people. They are hassle-free, (everything is booked for you) and often so much cheaper that organising it alone, (again, all the best deals are found for you!).

Students surfing

Haggis Adventure Tours - backpack Britain on a budget
Haggis tours are specialist budget tour operators focusing on high thrill, low-price.

For example: Fancy a 5 day adventure-tour of Britain’s West Country for only £179?
This tour takes you to the edge of Britain in some of the most popular places to visit in the UK including Dartmoor, Newquay, Cornwall and Bath.

Price includes:
    Free surf lesson in Newquay
    Five days of excursions in a comfortable Mercedes midi-coach
    Local guide
    Return journey from London

Though the price does not include accommodation, Haggis tours book beds in hostels dorms, (so they’re always guaranteed). This means that just pay as you go and the price is always £17 - £20.


If you’re in a city for a short amount of time, sightseeing passes are a great and affordable way of visiting popular tourist attractions. For a one off payment you can see as many attractions as you like and often receive additional perks such as priority access, special offers and exclusive tours.

Sightseeing passes are usually location based allowing you to make the most out of them in the allotted time period. London, Edinburgh and York are just some if the regions which offer a Pass, covering popular attractions like Westminster Abbey, Edinburgh Castle, London Zoo and the York Dungeon.

Example saving: London Sightseeing Pass   

  Standard Student Price
 Tower of London £17.05
 Westminster Abbey £13
 London Bridge Experience & Tombs £22.50
 St Paul's Cathedral £9.50
 Churchill War Rooms £10.50
 Shakespeare's Globe Theatre & Exhibition Tour £11
 Total £83.55
 London Sightseeing Pass (1 Day) £45

You save £42.55 – over 50% off the entrance price if bought on the day


ChicagoA trip to London isn’t complete without a visit to the vibrant West End. However theatre tickets to some of the biggest London shows can be expensive. The Theatre Passport is a great way to see some of the best shows the West End has to offer for just £21.90

How it works
The Theatre Passport entitles you to the best seats available in a selection of participating West End Shows. These include popular London musicals such as Chicago, and plays including The Woman in Black.


Maps and telephones – essential items for any traveller.

If you need to contact home it can be an expensive process, but there are a few cheaper options available.

Touchdown Ready – SIM pack £15.50

Find your way around the UK and stay in touch with your family – in one handy pack

What you get:
    O2 SIM card (compatible with most GSM mobile/cell phones)
    50 minutes of free international calls with each £10 you top up
    A UK telephone number so friends and family at home can contact you
    A guide listing 100 free places to visit in the UK including museums, galleries and markets
    A map of central London detailing all the top sightseeing attractions
    A map of Britain
    A book of £100 worth of discount vouchers to use at top UK attractions

Tep Mobile Wi-Fi Rental – wireless internet anywhere you go in Britain

With international roaming charges peaking at £11.50 per MB, accessing the internet could be an expensive process. With the Tep Mobile Wi-Fi device you can completely avoid international roaming charges, receive unlimited data downloads and connect to any device: smart phones, laptops and tablets. And it’s pocket-sized.

Simply rent the device for the desired amount of time and save money!