Travelling by train can be a great option. It's quick, no traffic jams, no having to book in at airports with all the security hassles and it can be cheap. So how can you travel by train as cheaply as possible?
If you are planning to travel by train in the UK for either work, a business meeting or even for a short break, you will need to know where to buy cheap train tickets. A number of cheap train tickets can be purchased if you book early – however, you may need to get in there very quickly as cheap train tickets are highly sought after. This is even more so in a harsh financial climate when people are looking for cheaper travel deals.
You may find that cheap train tickets sell out within weeks of being advertised, so don’t leave it too late!
In fact, it is recommended that you if you are planning a journey, you should start looking for cheap train tickets at least 12 weeks before your departure date. If you leave it any later, not only will you face higher fares, but you may find that train tickets are not available if you are planning to travel on a very popular route or at a busy time of the day.
Your local rail company will usually offer a timetable showing fares 12 weeks in advance, although some will only offer a 10-11 week advanced fare chart, so call into your local train office to enquire about a timetable.
On the other hand, you can also get a number of cheap train ticket deals if you are able to get last-minute early booking discounts. This means that rather than paying at the train station or on the train itself, you purchase your tickets the night before or even when you are on the way to the station (for example; by accessing the relevant website via your laptop/mobile phone & ‘pre-booking’).
Pre-booking can be a great way to reduce the cost of your train tickets, even if it is done literally minutes before you get on the train!
Another option is to consider getting a railcard. Railcards can work out to be very cost-effective if you tend to travel by train frequently, for example; if you use the train to commute to and from work every day. By getting a railcard, you could reduce your fares by up to a third of their usual cost.
However, if you are thinking about purchasing a railcard, always check that the journey that you make is eligible for a railcard discount, as this will differ depending on your location and the train services running to your destination.