Want to get away this summer without breaking the bank?
Taking the train to a sunny seaside town used to be a great recipe for a cheaper summer hol – but as ticket prices continue to climb you might find yourself spending as much on travel as accommodation! Be savvy with your spending, though, and there are still some bargains to be had!
Traveling between two big cities? Sometimes the cost of buying a direct ticket to your destination is more expensive than buying multiple tickets that split your journey into chunks. You don’t need to change train, just use different tickets for different portions of your trip.
If this all sounds a bit too much like hard work, don’t worry – some companies will do it for you when you book, including Trainline, whose simple online platform offers one of the easiest ways to book train travel. It can be a little harder to get refunds in case of delays or cancellations, but often people stick with it for the convenience.
Booking ahead is another simple way to save, as long as you know your plans with plenty of time to spare. The perfect time to book would be two – three months before you travel, as the train lines should have set their timetables but the cheaper tickets won’t have sold out. In some cases you can still transfer your ticket later if needed, so you won’t necessarily lose out if your plans change.
On the flip side, if you can be flexible about when you travel then you may get a cheaper tickets by choosing an open return. Recently we’ve seen anytime returns (tickets with a fixed outbound date and then, usually, a return ticket that can be used any time within the next month) that have been much cheaper than the cost of two single tickets.
With the advanced single tickets you are paying extra to make sure you get a seat reservation, so if guaranteed comfort matters you might prefer to pay the extra. For those happy to scramble for a seat, though, discounts from buying an open return can run into the hundreds?
Got your railcard? They’re not just for students any more: there are now nine different varieties of rail card available, usually offering a third off travel. Aside from the classic 16-25 year old railcard, you can now get:
- A senior railcard for people over 60
- The two together card which offers two named people discounts if they travel at the same time
- A railcard for people who have a disability that makes traveling by train difficult
- A 26-30 railcard
- The 16-17 year old saver card, offering as much as 50% off depending on which you of ticket you buy
- The network railcard, specifically for people travelling in the South East where prices tend to be higher
- Family and friends railcard, offering discounts for children when families travel together
- A veterans card for those who have served in the UK armed forces
Find out more about your various options at railcard.co.uk
Combine just a couple of these ideas and you could get a significant discount on your travel – leaving more money in the pot to upgrade your hotel room or get a fancier Air BnB!