With the seemingly constant increases in petrol these days more people are turning to public transport in an effort to save money. Public transport fares however, especially train tickets have also been raised so it’s more important now than ever to try and save money on your travel by purchasing cheap tickets.
There are the obvious benefits of booking your train fares early;
- Never again will you miss your morning train because of the large queues at the station,
- You’ll still have a ticket even at the end of the month when money might be tight
- You’ll experience complete peace of mind
- Save up to a massive 80% off regular tickets
How to save
Be an early bird
The first tip to saving money on your rail fare is to book as early as you can, ideally as soon as you know where and when you are travelling. Advance train tickets are usually the most cost-effective fares and may be available up to 12 weeks in advance but are limited in numbers. If your local ticket office or usual train website has sold out, investigate other outlets and websites as they may still have advance tickets left.
NOTE: Advance tickets cannot be bought on the day of travel. Nearly all tickets are singles, tie you to that one train (you will not be able to stop-off en route) and are non-refundable but often amendable.
If it’s possible, try to be as flexible as you can with your journey as flexibility means financial savings. This can be in the form of travelling at different times of the day (off-peak/super off-peak) and altering the route slightly (travelling via a different/ indirect route, stopping at more stations etc). Start researching the details of your trip well in advance as this will be helpful when altering your journey to be flexible.
Two singles over a return
In some journeys, two singles may be cheaper than a return. This is a common misconception by a lot of people so always compare two singles with the price of a return.
If you are travelling the same journey more than two or three times a week it pays to have a season ticket/travel card (available weekly, monthly and annually). Annual season tickets will usually cost the equivalent of forty week’s travel giving you another three months free travel.
Currently there are many different railcards available to all types of people. Most railcards cost between £15-28, are valid for one year and can be bought from your local station (some can also be bought online). Some examples and their savings are:
- 16-25 (1/3 off fares)
- Family & Friends (1/3 off adults and 60% off kids fares)
- Senior (1/3 off fares)
- Disabled Persons (1/3 off fares for you and a friend)
- Network (1/3 off adult and 60% off child fares in London & South East)
- HM Forces (1/3 off)
Groupsave tickets are discounted fares for multiple passengers. These fares are available for groups of three or four and will give passengers a 50% discount (4 for the price of 2 offers).
There can sometimes be a lot of jargon on train/ticket websites so be careful and alert when booking. Selecting or deselecting a number of boxes and changing given options can all affect the cost of your train ticket. These include: class, slower trains, indirect routes etc.