Travel in Europe

Last modified: 07 February 2020

This section gives you advice about travelling in Europe. 

For students outside of the EU and EEA, the first thing that you need to check is if you need a visa to travel or not.  A number of European countries are part of an agreement called 'Schengen'. This means that you can obtain a single visa to travel in those countries.  Countries outside the Schengen agreement may have their own visa requirements.  

The visa rules will also determine when and how you can apply.

Where and when to travel

Last modified: 11 July 2019


If you have come to the UK from outside Europe, you have a fantastic opportunity to travel around during breaks from your studies. There are many online guides to help you choose where to go and which offer lots of advice about travelling. For example:

Rough Guide 
Lonely Planet


It's a good idea to plan as far as possible in advance.  You will need to plan travel around your studies, you may need to obtain a travel visa and if you book travel in advance by rail or by air, prices tend to be cheaper.  We strongly advise you not to take time out of your studies to travel.  Your institution may have regulations against this and UK Border Force Officers may also question you on your return if you are travelling during term time (and not at the weekend). 

If you need a visa to travel, embassies may require you to have three to six months left on your UK study visa so although you may have time at the end of your studies, it may be more difficult to travel outside the UK at that time.  If you have a Tier 4 Student visa, you should be allowed to enter the UK if you return after the end date of your course and before your Tier 4 permission expires. This will depend on whether Border Force officials are satisfied when you enter the UK that you will either complete the activity you intend to carry out and leave the UK before your permission expires, or that you will submit an in-time application to extend your leave in the UK. You should carry any documentation relevant with you when you travel to show to the Border Force officer if required.

You may be able to obtain a letter from your institution confirming your graduation date if you travel between the end of your course and before your graduation.  


Discount travel

Last modified: 25 January 2016

Some bus companies travel very cheaply to Europe, for example Megabus.

Train travel tends to be more expensive although you can obtain discount as a student on a number of travel tickets.

Bus? Train? Plane? This Australian website has a useful summary and advice for travel on a budget

If you use a budget airline check where the airport is, as it can sometimes be quite far from where you'd like to go.  You can compare costs of flights online with price comparison sites such as Skyscanner. 

If you live in London, you may want to join the International Student House Travel Club which organises discounted trips inside and outside the UK.  Your institution does not need to be a member for you to join.

Your Students' Union may also run discounted or cheap trips or be able to advise you how to save money on travel. And ask other students.

Before you travel in Europe, you may want to buy an International Student Identity Card which can give you benefits and discounts across Europe and beyond.

The Budget Traveller website has 75 tips for budget travel in Europe




Travel insurance

Last modified: 21 March 2017

If you require a visa to travel in Europe you will need to obtain travel insurance. Even if you don't need a visa, it is strongly advisable to obtain travel insurance before you travel. 

Schengen visas

Last modified: 08 August 2016

What's a Schengen visa?

How to choose your Schengen visa

Where to apply

How and when to apply

How long will the application take?

Documents to apply

Safe travel

Last modified: 22 March 2018

Be aware of things to avoid to stay safe.  There are tips on staying safe at:

Go Europe

Before you travel, make a paper copy and photograph of your passport, your student visa and/or your student Biometric Residence Permit  (BRP) and keep them separate to your travel documents.  If your hostel or hotel has a safe, it is a good idea to leave your passport and BRP and spare money there.  If you lose your Tier 4 documentation while outside the UK, you won't be able to return until you apply for new permission. This is costly and takes a long time. 

Lost passport or BRP while outside UK

Last modified: 22 March 2018

Before you travel, make a paper copy and photograph of your passport, your student visa and/or your student Biometric Residence Permit  (BRP) and keep them separate to your travel documents.  If your hostel or hotel has a safe, it is a good idea to leave your passport and BRP and spare money there.

If you lose your passport or BRP or these are stolen you will not be able to re-enter the UK and will have to apply for new permission to enter the UK.  This can take several weeks.  Contact your institution to inform them (and you will need to update your institution with your new documentation when you return to the UK).  How you apply to re-enter the UK depends on the kind of permission and documentation you had:

If you had an entry clearance sticker in your passport

If you had a BRP