Now there is no need to tell you that traveling by train in the UK is never the cheapest way to move from one place to another. Prices of train tickets start off pretty high and they continue to rise depending on the schedule. Naturally, the most expensive tickets are those in the peak hours of the day and week. There are however several ways to beat the system, e.g. get your train fare ticket and do so on a price that will not lead to you filing for bankruptcy. Let’s have a look at several tips:
- The first thing to do is check out if you are eligible for some kind of a discount. Discount cards are available to anyone under 26 or over 60, families with kids, provided that they are traveling with at least one child and so on. There is also the option to purchase a Two-Together railway card in order to travel on discounted prices along with a friend. The so called Railcards can be used for all UK Standard and First Class Anytime, Off-Peak and Advanced faresell UK Standard and First Class Anytime, Off-Peak and Advanced fares, usually at a price of around £30 per year.
- You can also split your ticket. Paradoxically, it is usually cheaper to buy a ticket from your starting point to a station along the line and then from this station to your final destination, rather than purchasing a ticket from Point A to Point B. For example it will be cheaper for you to buy a ticket from Liverpool to Crewe and then from Crewe to London, instead of the direct Liverpool-London ticket. From a legal point of view, there is no problem to split up your ticket, provided that the train you are on stops at the station you do the split up to.
- Sign up for newsletters by major ticket retailers. Thus you will stay in touch with variable possible discounts you can make use of for your next trip. Furthermore, companies such as London Midlands often send their club-members vouchers for 25 % discounts, so there is a lot of sense into signing up with the retailers, especially if you are travelling often and would make use of the discounted prices.
- If you can plan ahead your travel down to the exact date and time of the fair, you can get pretty discounted prices. For example, the buy-in-advance option at Virgin Trains starts from £7.50 for a one-way fare from London to Manchester. The only problem is that those tickets sell-out pretty fast, so you should be on the watch at all times.
- The National Rail has a pretty useful tool – Cheapest Fare Finder tool. If you can really plan ahead your journey (like, 12 weeks in advance) you will be able to come down with some pretty attractive bargains by using this simple to operate with online tool.
- If you can use a discount card, do not buy tickets from automated machines at the railway stations, because most of those do not allow for the use of the family and friends discounts.
- As you may already have guessed, the way the price for train tickets is calculated is probably even more complex than the way the Universe was created. For some reason, in most cases it is much cheaper to buy two one-way tickets than a return ticket. If you split your tickets and buy them in advance, you can get an even better price – just you should be able to plan your journey in advance.