Opting for public transport can sometimes be expensive, particularly when travelling by train. With regulated rail fares in England and Wales rising by 5.9% this year, it’s more important now than ever to find ways to cut costs where possible.
Our guide covers some useful tips to help you save money on your train tickets while still being able to travel in style.
Buy your tickets ahead of time
It’s common knowledge that booking your tickets early will save you money. If there are plenty of empty seats then the cost is likely going to be lower, yet we often see these seats disappear quicker than for a peak-time journey. The trick? Start looking for your tickets 12 weeks in advance.
This doesn’t just work for shorter journeys but longer ones too. For example, you can easily purchase cheap train tickets to London by looking online three months before your departure date. It’s important to note that while booking apps are more convenient, you’ll often be charged additional fees, so try to buy your tickets directly if you can.
Consider getting a railcard
Depending on how often you plan to travel, a railcard could be a wise investment. With the majority of railcards usually costing £30 each year and saving you a third on the bill, it’s worth getting one if you anticipate spending more than £90 on trains in the year.
There are various types of railcard available depending on your situation. For instance, there are railcards for those between the age of 16-17, 16-25, and 26-30. What’s better is that you can buy a three-year railcard, meaning if you buy one the day before your birthday, you can enjoy cheaper fares even after you’ve surpassed the age restrictions.
You can also get railcards if you are disabled, part of the regular forces, a veteran, or over the age of 60. These of course require you to prove that you are eligible.
Long gone are the days of carrying a physical railcard as you can now get a digital one, which is stored on your phone or tablet. However, if your device runs out of battery, you may be required to purchase a new ticket.
Split your tickets for longer journeys
Normally, when organising your journey you only get the one ticket. However, you can buy tickets for different parts of the trip and still remain on the same train, reducing the price without compromising on convenience.
This is completely legal and won’t get you in any bother. You just need to make all the stops that you purchase the tickets for. Some tickets may also have conditions where you need to pass by a specific station or be on a certain line.
On average, splitting your tickets can save you around £21.60, which is a considerable sum. In some instances, savings of over £70 are possible, like trips from Cardiff to Newcastle and Birmingham to Inverness.