There are lots of tasks you do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. From your weekly grocery shop to booking a haircut to paying your bills. But did you know you can do most of these tasks online?

In this series of lessons, we’ll give you a brief introduction to using common services online. We’ve split it into three main areas: household tasks, local services and travel. We’ll then go into more detail on shopping, bills and utilities, healthcare, and accessing Universal Credit online.


  • Know what tasks you can do online
  • Understand the basics of doing your to-do list online
  • Learn to do household tasks online

Read time:

13 mins

Chapter 1

Managing your household

Read time:

1 min

Saving time on your household tasks

There are lots of tasks involved in looking after your household. And these can be time-consuming. In this lesson we’ll help you identify the ways you can use the web to save time on these tasks. Don’t worry if you don’t know everything right away, this is just an introduction to the most popular online services. Let’s look at household tasks first.


Household tasks you can do online:

  • Using Government services – By going online, you can look after things like your taxes, and any benefits and pension details
  • Looking after your money – For example, you can use your bank account and access universal credit online
  • Doing some shopping – Whether you’re looking for groceries, furniture or essentials, shopping online can be a real time-saver
  • Paying your bills and utilities – With instant access to your accounts, you can pay bills, check your usage, and even look for better deals online
  • Paying for insurance cover – Using online services, you can compare and apply for insurance policies, or check on your existing cover

Could you save time and effort on household tasks by using online tools?

Chapter 2

 Accessing local services

Read time:

2 mins

Supporting local businesses online

From getting a haircut to ordering a takeaway, there are lots of services you may be using in your local area. Going online to access these services doesn’t mean you’re replacing your high street shops. Online services can actually be a way of supporting them.


How can you continue to support your local shops online?

How does this help local businesses:

  • They can reach more people – Many local shops use online services to reach more people and make things easier for their customers
  • It saves them time – Booking an appointment online means the business can save time answering the phone. And with time saved on calls, they can put it towards improving the shop
  • They can provide more details – Local services can provide details and advice online. So there’s more information at your fingertips


What local services can I use online?



You can’t get an online haircut, but you can book a haircut through your local salon’s website. Use their system to book with your favourite hairdressers and pick the service you want. You can also look for salons online using a search engine.


Food services

Many restaurants and takeaways let you order online for collection and delivery. Some have their own website where you can order. Others use food delivery services like Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat. Why not download the apps from your device’s app store?


Doctors surgery

Most doctors now have a website. Some will use it to give you advice and resources. Others have systems to let you book an appointment or register online – no need to phone! We cover this in more detail in our lesson, ‘Managing your healthcare online’.

To find your local GP online, the NHS have a search tool you can use.



Just like doctors’ surgeries, how much you can see or do on a dentist’s website will vary. Some only give you advice and information. Others let you book, register and look up the prices of treatments.


Council services

There are different levels of councils. County councils usually look after things like education and transport. District, borough, city, town, parish and community councils look after things like council tax and rubbish collections.

The government website has a helpful tool to help you find your local council. Once you type in your postcode, it will direct you to their website. Depending on what you want to do, you should be able to find help or advice. Some councils also have online systems for you to create an account and carry out your tasks.


Most councils will offer online guides to help with:

  • Bins and recycling
  • Admin around births, marriages and deaths
  • Business help
  • Community concerns
  • Council tax
  • Environment and health issues
  • Housing benefits
  • Parking
  • Penalty notices
  • Planning and building
  • Roads
  • Schools and learning
  • Social care

Chapter 3

Arranging travel online

Read time:

10 mins

Why arrange travel online?


You can book and change travel on the move

There’s no need to go to a ticket booth or a travel agent. Everything you need is on your device. So when plans change, you can amend or cancel your travel plans – at home or on the move. Plus, you can keep all your documents in one place on a mobile device.


You can save money by comparing prices

Price comparison sites let you see lots of travel options and prices all in one place. This means you don’t need to waste time going from provider to provider, to find the best deal. We’ll tell you more about these comparison sites a bit later.


Booking transport online

The easiest way to start most travel bookings online is using a search engine. There are lots of options for most trips you’ll do. By heading straight for one company, you might end up paying more than you need to. Whatever you’re looking for, from accommodation to travel, the search engine can narrow down your options.

At the same time, you need to make sure you’re safe. By using websites and companies you trust, you can reduce your chance of getting scammed. Always check the reviews for the sites and sellers you’re using. Ask around, to see if anyone you know has used them. Online criminals can sell fake bookings online, so take the time to stop and check. We’ll go into more detail in our lesson ‘Ten tips for staying safe online’.


Always ask yourself:


Does this offer or product seem too good to be true?


Does the site or seller have trusted, positive reviews?


Do you feel confident to continue with your booking?

There are also tools and websites that can help you compare sellers and stay safe. These are different for each type of travel, so let’s look at a few of your options now.

  • There are different companies that work on different railway lines and in different regions.


    To find the right option for you, you can:

    1. Go direct to a company website – If you know the train company’s name (for example, Merseyrail) you can go directly to their website
    2. Use a search engine – If you don’t know the web address, you can find your local provider by using a search engine
    3. Use Trainline – Trainline is a website and/or app that shows you options from lots of different train providers, all in one place


    What are the benefits of using Trainline?

    • Book and keep your tickets in their app
    • Save money by booking a journey with several changes/different providers and pay in one place
    • Buy and manage your railcard online


    With the Railcard app or website, you can buy railcards that can save you money on each journey you take. It’s now possible to buy and use Railcards directly from the Trainline app too. This makes it easy to keep everything in one place.

    You can download the Railcard app and the Trainline app from your device’s app store.

  • Like trains, there are many companies that provide flights. You can go directly to their websites using a web address, or through a search engine. If you want to compare the cheapest options, you can use comparison websites/apps like Skyscanner or Kayak to help.


    Why use comparison sites?

    Both Skyscanner and Kayak work in a similar way to Trainline. They show you all the flights or the combination of flights available to reach your destination. You can sort and filter the results to fit your needs. They'll then direct you to the airlines' website to book. Both Skyscanner and Kayak also let you book flights and hotels together. This can be a useful way to get everything done at once and see your total spend.

    It's worth noting, there are lots of ways to compare flights. Do you own research and get recommendations from people you know and trust.

    Why book directly?

    Going directly to one provider every time has some benefits. Some airlines have loyalty or ‘frequent flyer’ programmes. These may help you get better deals or flight upgrades over time. Be aware though, the cost of flights from just one airline might not always be the cheapest.


    Once you’ve booked your flight

    Whether you book directly or through a comparison site, you can use the airline’s app to manage your flight. You can check in online and access your boarding pass in the app. This means you have easy access to everything you need, at home or on the move.

  • There are many taxi and ride services you can use to book online. Search engines help you find the details and numbers of local taxi services. You can then call them to book. Sometimes, the taxi or ride website lets you book directly.

    Your other option is using apps. Some taxi services may have their own apps, but most often in the UK, they will work through the 'FreeNow' app. Ride services like Uber or Bolt mainly work through their own apps.

    Finally, some map services like Google Maps and Citymapper have ride/taxi booking built in. So, when you search how to get from one place to another, it will show you taxi and rides as one of the options. It will then link you through to book. You may need to have the app for the ride service downloaded to your device.

  • The easiest way to start booking buses and trams online is to use a search engine to find your options. From there, you can find out who’s the best provider and book through their website – or find out how to book. As always, make sure the website and company you’re visiting are real and well-reviewed.

  • You can manage your travel on the Underground in many ways online. It depends which Underground it is you are using, but all UK underground services have a website: LondonNewcastleLiverpool and Glasgow. You can find details of the underground routes, buy tickets and find other useful information.

  • Booking a ferry online will depend on where you're travelling. It's good to start with an online search. Most ferry services let you book online and, once you've booked, will send you a confirmation email with your tickets.


Think about a recent trip you had. How do you think your trip could've been better, easier or cheaper using online services? Try using some of the services we have covered in this lesson to explore some ideas.

Booking hotels

There are lots of ways to book and compare hotels online, e.g. search engines, directly with the hotel or via comparison sites. Just like other services, using comparison sites can help you find the best place, at the best price.


Popular comparison sites include:

However you book, remember to be safe. Some online criminals will try to book you into hotels that don’t exist. If the price seems too good to be true – it probably is!

Using online maps

On the move? Accessing maps online can be really useful. Most search engines have maps built into them. When you search, select the ‘maps’ tab at the top to see and access these.

Using these map services, you can set a start and end location, and even extra stops in between. You’ll see an estimate of how long your journey is likely to take, depending on how you plan to get there, for example walking, driving, cycling etc.

Once you’ve selected your mode of transport, maps will show you the preferred route. Some may show you other routes too, for example, if you wanted to avoid motorways. Once you select your route, you’ll get a set of directions to look at before you set off, or just follow as you go. If you’re in a car or can’t use your phone safely, maps can usually speak the directions out loud to you.


How to use maps

Set start and end location

Pick how you want to travel

Start navigation

Sometimes it can be easier to use maps through an app, especially if you are on a mobile device. Two of the most popular apps are Google Maps and OS Maps (for Apple devices only). You can search for these in your device’s app store.

Can online maps help you get from A to B in the moment?

Using language services

Another handy tool when you’re travelling abroad is using translation tools. These can help you speak to people you meet or navigate language barriers in other countries. The most popular free tool is Google Translate, but there are other tools like Bing TranslatorLinguee you can use too.

Some apps and tools also use Word Lens. This lets you use your camera to translate text on posters, signs and boards. You just have to open the tool and point your camera at the text.


Getting travel insurance

If you go abroad, you need to make sure you protect yourself. This is where insurance comes in handy. You can buy travel insurance online using a search engine or by using comparison sites. We’ll give you more details on how to do this in our lesson, 'Managing your bills and utilities'.

Comparing and buying travel insurance online can save you time and money. It shows you what options are cheaper and what they’ll cover you for – all in one place. And if you need to look at your policy in detail, you can easily access your insurance online.


Lesson complete!

Well done on completing this lesson. You should now have an idea of the online services you can use. We covered some of these topics to just a basic level, so the next step is to help you in more detail. Why not look at our lesson on ‘Shopping online’? It will help you to feel more comfortable shopping safely online. You’ll understand the ten general steps to buying online and learn some tips on how to save money on your online shop.


Up next for you:

Next lesson: Shopping online
Back to: Get started online


Bank of Scotland Academy is committed to providing information in a way that is accessible and useful for our users. This information, however, is not in any way intended to amount to authority or advice on which reliance should be placed. You should seek professional advice as appropriate and required. Any sites, products or services named in this module are just examples of what's available. Bank of Scotland does not endorse the services they provide. The information in this module was last updated on 8th November 2023.