How to save money on train tickets

Esther Shaw / 28 January 2015

Some hints and tips to reduce the costs of travelling by train.



Many people are looking to find ways to keep travel costs down, especially as  travellers nationwide have had to endure yet another hike in train ticket costs, with an average increase of 2.2% taking effect at the start of January this year.

So how can you save money on your train tickets?

 

Save money by booking in advance

When it comes to booking train journeys, the cheapest tickets on offer are 'Advance Fares', and these are released 12 weeks ahead of travel

The sooner you take action, the better, as there are limited numbers of advance tickets available, and these can get snapped up very quickly.

Read our tips for getting cheap deals on train and coach fares. 

 

How much can you save?

New figures from online booking service, thetrainline.com, show that last year, travellers who booked in advance saved themselves more than £3.5 million on Easter train travel.

 

What savings are available now?

According to thetrainline.com, on some routes, savings of more than 80% can be made by booking early.

For example, if you book an advance ticket now for travel at Easter from London Euston to Glasgow Central, you could pay just £20. This compares to £135.80 for an off-peak fare – a saving of 85%.

Buy an advance ticket today from Cardiff Central to Leeds, and you could do so for as little as £22. This compares to £118.20 for an off-peak fare – a saving of 81%.

Find out about discounts for the over-50s.

 

Other tips to cut the cost of train travel

As well as buying tickets in advance, there are several other simple steps you can take to reduce costs.

  • Whatever you do, don’t put off buying your ticket until the day of travel, as even if you leave it until the last minute, there are still savings up for grabs right up until midnight the day before.
  • Look into buying two single tickets, as this can sometimes work out cheaper than a return.
  • Make use of railcards, such as the Senior card. This costs just £30 a year and gives annual savings of £106 per year, according to National Rail.
  • As well as thetrainline.com, other useful sites that can help you keep costs down include redspottedhanky.com and takethetrain.co.uk. Also check out Megatrain, as the site advertises journeys with prices starting from as little as £1 (plus 50p booking fee.)
The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.