This is an installment in a series of posts about moving to the UK for a Ph.D, specifically at Durham University. To read more posts like this, see our list here.
Since we are on a majestic island, you’ll have to make some decisions about how to travel here for your move and your visits back to your home nation. You will also find the occasional need to travel for conferences and workshops. With a little work you can find some good deals on air travel. I have outlined some factors to consider. It would be great to hear pointers from others also.
- Airports of choice: Newcastle (NCL) is the nearest airport. Newcastle serves international hubs like London, Paris, Amsterdam. Trains from Durham run directly to Manchester (MHT) and Edinburgh (EDI). The Manchester train actually terminates at the airport. Depending upon the time of year, you can get a direct trans-Atlantic flight from these cities.
- Flying into/out of London: This can be a good option, but it does have a caveat. The train ride to London is three hours. The tube to London Kings Cross rail station to Heathrow will take another hour. If you have an international flight, you need to be at Heathrow, say, three hours before your flight. That means you will need to leave Durham seven hours before your flight. Any cost savings offered by flying out of London may quickly be lost in time and overground travel. However, if you get a couple of nights in London, it may be worth a the effort.
- Paying for travel: All the required travel can get expensive. Scour the travel website, blogs, and social media feeds for travel deals. Build up frequent flyer miles and loyalty points as early and as often as you can. Weigh the costs/benefits of building loyalty to a particular airline. You may find it helpful to gain the perks of traveling with a particular airline.
- Building those loyalty points: Many people find it helpful to build rewards points through one of the credit card offers. With so many cards, it is hard to know which one to choose. One great resource is LowCards.com. Find one that will build points for programs that will help your travel. Pay off your cards each month to avoid the interest charges. But use that card to pay for EVERYTHING that you can. Think of ways that you can pay for your rent, utilities, tuition, groceries, etc. on the card. Utilize the bonus point offers. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your points will build up. Weigh the different ways you can use your points to maximize them. It isn’t necessary to spend a great deal of money to travel to places you want and need to go. Travel can be affordable. A little work and creativity can go a long way.
Okay, so now it’s your turn. What are some tips for travel that have worked for you?