If you’re touring the UK and don’t have or want to rent a car, traveling by train is one of the best ways to get around.
Not only is it fun to see the countryside and cities pass by, but it’s also pretty easy to book a ticket and go anywhere you want.
Although it’s certainly cheaper than flying, train tickets can take away a lot of your money, especially if you’re planning to use the train several times.
Here are a few tips to get you cheaper train tickets so you can save and spend more while exploring.
Always Book in Advance
While it’s pretty obvious that booking in advance for a seat will likely get you a cheaper ticket, most people forget to consider it. Booking a week or two earlier for shorter train paths is usually a good idea.
For long journeys, however, booking at least a month early can save a significant amount. In some cases, it can be the difference between a £100 ticket to a £20 ticket. The train route and traveling time are also big factors.
Check Alternate Routes
If you can’t find any cheap train tickets, it might be time to look at a different route. For instance, if you’re traveling directly to the center of a city where all the tourist attractions are, the train ticket will be more expensive than if you choose a route that’s a bit further away or leaves you in a separate part of the city.
Since train ticket prices largely depend on demand, you can find cheaper train tickets easily in less popular destinations. You can easily find cheap London to Edinburgh train tickets.
Don’t Travel at Peak Hours
If you don’t have time to book a ticket in advance, then it’s best to keep track of when you travel. Traveling off-peak when there’s not a lot of traffic is significantly cheaper than traveling at peak times.
Off-peak times are usually around 10 am to 4 pm or after 8 pm. Some train stations charge even lower for super off-peak times so be on the lookout for that.
Be Flexible When You Travel
Although open return tickets allow you to be flexible on the train you decide to travel back on, they can be very expensive. If you can decide on a set time and place to travel, you can save a lot of money buying one-way tickets that are only valid on specific trains.
The only disadvantage here is that if you’re late or somehow miss the train, you’ll have to buy another ticket. But if you’re careful and have a defined travel plan, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Buy a Railcard
If you need to take several trips by train or your regular commute involves traveling on a train, then buying a railcard can save you some significant funds.
Railcards typically cost £20 if you’re buying them for a year, or £70 for three years. They can save you around ⅓ of the price of regular train tickets.