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Getting around the UK & Europe, what is really the best way?

How easy do you think it is getting around the UK?

There probably hasn't been many times where you have found yourself in a foreign city and country without your own transport before. Do you currently own your own car? How would you get around if you didn't have one now?

For those of you without your own vehicle, you can finally count yourselves lucky that you never became so dependant on it.

Getting around the UK – Private Transport

For those of you thinking about picking up your own car in the UK here are some important facts.

  • There are over 60million people driving over 30million cars across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – and you thought the traffic was bad at home?
  • Whilst the initial cost of buying a car can be quite affordable it's very expensive to own your own vehicle.
  • Insurance is compulsory – there are two kinds of insurance: expensive for over 25s and very expensive for under 25s
  • The roads can be very complicated even for a local experienced driver and especially if you have a GPS.
  • The price of petrol is among the most expensive in the world
  • Half a million vehicles are stolen in the UK every year.
  • Property is stolen from cars every 13 seconds in England and Wales
  • Cars most likely to be stolen are older cars – the ones you're more likely to be able to afford.

It's for these reasons and many more that buying a car may not be feasible. It doesn't take travellers long to realise this. In fact out of all the live-in working holiday makers I met, (excluding Europeans) the only person who decided to buy a car was me.

Motorway traffic

"The longest journey begins with a single step, not with a turn of the ignition key."

Edward Abbey



Once you buy a car and before you drive it anywhere you need insurance – typically 3rd party 'bomb' insurance will cost ₤600 - ₤1000 depending on driver and vehicle engine size.
The cost of being caught without insurance is a court appearance and ₤350 fine (sadly I know this from personal experience).
Of course to drive it anywhere it must be taxed (registered). Cost of vehicle tax varies depending on engine size.
It must also have a test of road worthiness (MOT) carried out every year.

You then have to park it, fuel it, tyres, service it, blah blah blah. Not to mention when something breaks or goes wrong, you wouldn't believe what mechanics charge for a seatbelt, let alone a new alternator!

Basically if you have lots of available money then you might consider getting around the UK in your own car, otherwise it's really not worth it.

-note- Hire / rental cars are a different story click below for more information.

So how do you get around the UK then?

Public Transport - Hip Hip Hooray!

The UK may appear small on a map, but they have managed to cram a huge amount of matter in to it. Getting anywhere takes twice as long and costs twice as much as you might think.

That being said, the UK travel transport system is pretty comprehensive - albeit rather expensive - so whether by bus, train, taxi or plane, if you have the money and the time you'll find getting around the UK isn't too difficult.

So what really is the best way- Budget travel, comfort, speed? Pick a mode of transport below and decide for yourself.

Cheap air travel UK
Train Travel UK
Coach Travel UK
Car hire in UK

One last thing on transport

Motorbikes, mopeds and scooters are a fantastic idea for short trips around town and for getting around the UK too. They're generally reliable, cheap to fuel, not too expensive to insure and tax, plus they can be a whole lot of fun. Not desirable for wet weather, but it sure beats walking.

I bought a tiny Suzuki AE50 moped shortly after I arrived in London. Probably not the ideal city for a foreigner with no clue on how to ride, but it was heaps of fun learning. Had I not left my 'Baby Suzy' unchained outside my pub in Earls Court 3 months after purchase for some low-life to steal, who knows how long I could have kept it for and where we would have ended up together...

That's about all I can tell you about getting around the UK and Europe. When not gallavanting around foreign countries, you're going to need a place to rest and earn some money. Where better to live and work than a good old British pub?

Want to know what living and working in a pub in the United Kingdom is really like? Click 'next' to learn the truths behind live-in pub work.