Finding Cheap Train Tickets
UK train travel can be incredibly expensive, particularly if booking last-minute. However, with a little prior-planning, along with some potential flexibility, it can also be fairly cheap. If you follow the following six tips, you will find your train fares falling more on the latter side.
This is where the prior-planning plays a major role, book your train journey early, well in-advance of the trip, to ensure the best deal on price. Prices will likely steadily increase for the journey as time goes on, so keep a lookout for the release of dates (normally around 3-months-in-advance). Purchase your train tickets through a website such as TrainGenius.com, where you can save up to 80% by booking in advance. From the moment you know when you will be travelling, book the seat, delaying will generally mean you will pay more!
Mentioned at the beginning of the article, the second most important point is to be flexible. Whilst not always feasible, if you have a little wriggle-room with your dates, then you may find having a search for the same journey on a different date can alter the price (for better or worse!)
Again, not always feasible, but if journey and arrival time is not an issue, there may be the option of choosing an alternative route. Different train operators may well charge different prices, with onboard services potentially differentiating the price.
Peak vs. off-peak travel is always something to watch. During peak travel times (generally speaking 0630-0930 in the morning, and 1530-1830 in the evening) the train fares are likely to be more, generally because there is a decreased number of cheap tickets allocated. Alongside this, travelling off-peak offers a much more enjoyable train journey, as there is less crowding, meaning more space!
It is likely that weekend travellers can push the cost of a ticket up, particularly on the busy travel days of Friday and Sunday, when travellers are travelling to, and then back from, their destination at the end of the week.
Touched upon at the end of our UK Staycation Guide (link here), railcards can offer decent savings on the cost of a rail fare. You just need to ensure that you reach the required criteria, found on the National Rail website, here, if you are using one of these.