Travelling in LondonWatch
When I moved to London for uni from a small town in Kent, I was definitely apprehensive about how I was going to get around this huge city on my own. I thought I would share some of the things I learned from living here for 3 years now.
TLDR: get the city mapper app, it will make getting around so much easier
Tap in (and out)
All travel in London is contactless, either using an oyster that is pre-paid with credit or with your debit card/phone. When you get on a train or bus (or boat) there are points to tap in and out of. On busses you only have to tap in with the driver, but trains and tubes require you to tap out. I learned this the hard way as I used to forget to tap out of the train and would end up being fined for it (ouch).
Get a student oyster
I didn’t have a student oyster card for the first year of uni and although jumping on a bus here and there is very cheap, travelling around can easily add up! The student oyster costs £20 and will get you 30% off bus and tram services. I was basically getting a bus to uni/work every day during the week which was costing me over £700/year which was then reduced by over £200 with my student oyster. You can also add a rail card to get 34% off off-peak train travel.
What/when is off-peak?
You get cheaper travel in London if you travel at times that are less busy. Rush hour is considered to be any time between 6:30-9:30 and then from 17:00-19:00. If you can plan your travel around those times it will cost a bit less in general but if you only go to uni/work then it is not worth getting the rail card as you wouldn’t get any discounts during rush hours.
The hopper fare allows you to get on unlimited buses within an hour of tapping in, this is really useful but just make sure to take a mental note of the time you got on.
The river Thames is a staple of London life and you can use it to get around using the Thames clippers. This is a bit more expensive and definitely not for the everyday commute but it’s a fun way to get around. There is a stop right next to the maritime Greenwich campus. I remember using the boat to easily get from Uni to the O2 for a show. These boats even serve beer and wine, something you couldn’t say for the tube or the bus!
Finding your way around
Probably my biggest worry was whether I would be able to actually navigate the city and for the most part, I would say that I am pretty clueless still. The only reason I am not lost on the Piccadilly line is because of the app Citymapper. This app has helped me in my daily travel around London but is also useful in other cities around the world. When I went to Amsterdam, I was able to get around very easily with its live updates about travel.
I hope these tips are helpful to somebody and if you have any more tips or questions, leave them in the thread!
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