Commuting To University: Top Tips

You’ve been accepted on to your course, and you’re ready for the independence this new chapter will bring you. In fact, you’re probably already thinking about the friends you’ll make and the parties you’ll go to - but what are you going to do about living arrangements? Will you live on-campus or commute in?

While many people will say living at home poses risks of isolation, FOMO and aggravation with transport, there are some clear advantages of commuting to and from campus. And what’s more, we’ve got some top tips to help you maximise your daily journey if you do decide to commute to your uni.

Driving to university

This is probably an easier option, as it means you can plan your travel around your own schedule without relying on bus or train timetables. Plus, you’ll be able to give your new friends lifts – bonus points to you…

Driving also makes it easier for you to stay over at a friend’s halls or shared house, perhaps for a night out or late study session.

Here are our top tips for student drivers:

  • Make sure you identify the nearest campus parking and purchase a student parking permit. You may be able to get this from your Students’ Union or the local council. Trust us with this, the fines just aren’t worth it.

  • To cover the cost of petrol, consider carpooling with your friends for a contribution to the fuel. They’ll get a lift for significantly less money than other transport, at a time more convenient to them.

  • Weigh up the cost of petrol against a bus or train ticket. If you live too far out for driving to be cost effective, consider alternative means of transport

Parking on campus can be a challenge, especially if your university is situated in a busy town. Non-students may take up a lot of the spots, meaning you could end up driving around and missing your lecture. And then there’s the challenges that city driving can bring. So, make sure you’re 100% confident in driving around your campus before settling on driving to university.

Thinking of driving to and from campus? Make sure your car is insured, so you’re protected in the event of accidental damage, breakdown or personal accident. Check out student car insurance.

Catching the bus or train

If driving to university isn’t an option, you may want to consider catching the bus or train.

While this does mean you are restricted to timetables for these, there are some pros of commuting via public transport. Here are our tips for getting the most out of your bus or train commute to university:

  • Use the time to study – cram in some extra revision during your journey. Or if you’re working on a project with a group, use your commuting time to research new ideas and make some notes.

  • Catch up on sleep – providing you don’t miss your stop, why not use your commute to get some shuteye? Late nights studying can take their toll. Just remember to set an alarm so you don’t miss your stop!

  • Bond with fellow commuters – there may be other people on your course who commute via bus or train. Use this time to get to know them! This can help take away feelings of FOMO if most of your course mates live on campus.

Taking the bus or train can also prove to be a cheaper option. Student railcards can help you save on journey prices, while oyster cards are an ideal option for students commuting within London.

Cycling to university

Cycling to university is a great way to beat traffic, travel on your own schedule, and keep fit! There are many different bike types you could consider, such as a mountain bike, a road bike, or even an electric bike. Electric bikes are great for uphill cycling as they help make pedalling easier – ideal if your university campus is in a hilly setting.

Cycling to university is also incredibly cost-effective. In their Ultimate University Cycling Guide, Halfords show the cost of travelling on return journeys from Jesmond to Newcastle University and Northumbria University Campuses. Their graph indicates the following:

  • Cycling = 7 minutes (approx. 50p)

  • Bus = 18 minutes (approx. £1.25)

  • Car = 7 minutes (approx. £3.75)

  • Taxi = 7 minutes (approx. £8-10)

Another benefit of cycling to university is the “parking”. With a car, you face the challenge of squeezing into the last space somewhere far away. With a bike, you simply padlock it to the cycle stands – if you are unsure of where these are located on campus, speak to somebody on your course or a member of staff.

Here are some of our top tips for commuting to university via bicycle:

  • Park your bike in a well-lit area. If it has CCTV, even better

  • Add a tracker to your bike or speak with the university about registering your bike with them. This can help protect it from being stolen

  • Consider taking the front wheel with you to avoid potential theft

  • Take care when the weather is bad, making sure to signal clearly

  • Always wear bright, reflective clothing and a road-safe bicycle helmet

Work out what’s best for you

And if you’re walking to university? Some people are lucky enough to live close to campus, meaning walking may be a preferred option. In any case, take care when the weather is bad and make sure you try not to walk alone during the night. Student road safety doesn’t just apply to drivers!

Commuting to university may not have been your preferred situation, but there are ways you can get the most out of it. Fall into a routine that works best for you and your schedule and remember – if you decide on commuting to university you won’t have accommodation fees!

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