Top Travel Tips

How To Save Money On UK Train Travel

For places that are just too far to drive to, but too near to fly to, most of us opt to travel there by train. They’re quick and easy and connect you to pretty much anywhere in the UK. In recent years, train fares have been increasing, and sometimes they can be downright extortionate! That’s why I’ve put together some tips on how you can save money on your train fares so that travelling by train won’t cost you a fortune.


Get A Railcard

I have a 16-25 railcard. I have done for years and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever bought! It gives you 1/3 off any train fares you buy and believe me, it adds up. I’ve gained back the cost of the railcard a few times over with the money I’ve saved. When I was at university, I didn’t have a car, so the train was my main mode of transport for going home. As a stereotypical poor student, this can be expensive so my railcard was my saving grace. There’s loads of different types of railcards and you could easily be eligible for one of them, so check them out and get yourself one!


Buy In Advance

I seem to say this all the time, but I can’t stress it enough! Buying in advance can be the difference of £40 and that’s a lot of money when you’re on a budget. Plan your trip in advance, and start looking into your train travel options. If you get your tickets early, it’s done and off your to-do list. You could also have saved yourself a fortune!


Shop Around

Often, train travel website fares can be either identical or very similar, but sometimes there can be quite a big difference in prices so it’s worth shopping around a little bit. Often people go to The Train Line straight away, but that can be one of the more expensive sites, and you’ll be charged a booking fee. If you check out sites such as Virgin Trains or Transpennine Express, you might find yourself a better deal.


Travel Off-Peak

Off-peak train fares are so much cheaper – and we’re not just talking a few quid here. The difference can be massive. If you can, try and avoid travelling at peak times because travelling off-peak will be a much better option. Off-peak tickets can sell out quite fast though,  so make sure you’re on the ball when organizing your train travel.


Be Specific

An open return could be £70, but if you buy two single tickets at a set time there and back, it could be £45. With an open return ticket, you’re paying for the flexibility of returning whenever you want, so try and be specific. It can be annoying being tied to a set return time, but it’ll be much cheaper if you do.


Split Fares

There’s plenty of websites that allow you to split fares. What this means is you type in your origin station, and your destination, and it gives you a breakdown of the cheapest way to get there. For example, rather than buying a ticket from Newcastle to London, it may be cheaper to travel from Newcastle to York, then York to London. This probably isn’t ideal if you’re weighed down with luggage, or short on time. But where possible, it’s a really good money-saving solution!


Train travel is a fantastic transport option as long as you do it right! Remember these little tips and they’ll make the whole process a lot easier and save you some cash as well.


    • Laura

      I was just about to comment suggesting this. I can’t believe my boyfriend and I went into London from Reading for 18 months and never knew this card existed! Saves a fortune.

    • budgettravelbugs

      Yeah they can be – it’s really annoying! I think few companies have fare guarantees though so if it’s over an hour late, for example, you can claim some of your money back 🙂

  • Andy

    Fantastic advice and very important when costs are rising! Hopefully, I’ll be able to save more money when I need to use trains.

  • Emma

    Handy post- UK fares are so expensive. My railcard is coming to an end but hoping to look into the new 25+ card. I will definitely look into splitting fares!

  • Josh B

    Rail card is the way to go. I just got back from the UK and I ended up having to help other tourists at the rail station because they didn’t know what option was best for them. I guess that goes along with your “Buy in Advance” heading as so many people wait until they get to the UK to buy tickets and they could have saved a lot of money if they purchased in advance or got like an Oyster Card online.

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