How to save money when you travel by train
Looking for cheap train tickets? Here are our top tips!
Looking for cheap train tickets? Here are our top tips!
If you’re making a long-distance journey – such as London to Manchester or Bristol to Newcastle – then it can really pay to book train tickets online, in advance.
If you can book as far ahead as 12 weeks, you may be able to get cheap Advance rail tickets there and back for as little as £30 in total for the London – Leeds return journey (£14.60 Standard Class Advance Single in each direction) – a saving of £82.40 (85%!) on the cheapest fare available on the day (an Off-Peak Standard Class Return).
You’ll need to know exactly which day and train you want to travel on though, as Advance tickets are restricted to a specific train and date. You can change when you want to travel (for a fee), but Advance tickest are not refundable. There is of course limited availability on each train, and they tend to sell out fast too – but the restrictions are worth it, given the great value offered – £29 for a return journey of almost 400 miles is pretty hard to beat!
Railcards typically give you 33% off most train fares (First Class fares are not always included) and the Family & Friends Railcard gives 60% off Child fares (already half price) as well as 34% off Adult fares.
Use your Railcard at MyTrainTicket to save even more money on your cheap train tickets!
The 16-25 Railcard is ideal for Students – the cost of the Railcard is often covered with just one big journey to or from University, and every journey after that you’ll be making savings of over a third on every train ticket you purchase. Senior Railcards are available for the over 60s and can make going out for the day or visiting friends a really cheap and relaxing way to travel.
You can buy Family & Friends, 16-25 and Senior Railcards for £30 per year and the Disabled Persons Railcard is now available at £20 per year.
To can find full details of the different Railcards available at the Railcard website.
Remember, if you want to use more than one Railcard, please enter your journeys as multiple transactions.
Carnets are excellent value – but aren’t that well-known.
They’re available on many British rail routes and can give you, for example, 10 train journeys for the price of 9, or 6 for the price of 5, or 25% or more off the standard ticket price.
Find out more about Carnets and the train operators you can buy them from.
Season tickets offer great value. If you travel more than two or three times a week then it usually pays to get a seven day season ticket.
Annual season tickets cost the equivalent of 40 weeks’ travel on weekly season tickets – giving you a further three months’ travel entirely free.
You can buy season tickets from your train operator.
Travelcards are a really cost-effective way of getting round London by train, underground, bus, DLR and Tramlink.
If you’re travelling to London for the day, you can add a Travelcard when you book your train ticket (on many journeys you’ll be given the option of buying a combined rail ticket and Travelcard, which is even better value).
Visit our Travelcard page to find out more about Travelcard coverage, pricing and discounts for children.
Not a lot of people have heard of PLUSBUS, but it offers a fantastic way to get around town!
Nearly 360 towns and cities on the National Rail network in Britain are covered by PLUSBUS, enabling you to add a PLUSBUS ticket to your train ticket booking – allowing unlimited bus travel on almost every bus service in that town or city (as well as tram services in Sheffield, Nottingham and the West Midlands).
It’s a great way to get to your final destination and save on taxi fares, as well as reducing pollution.
PLUSBUS fares start from just £2.00 for unlimited travel all day – find out more about PLUSBUS on our PLUSBUS page.
MyTrainTicket displays the cheapest combinations of fares at a glance – no more searching around for the cheapest singles in each direction.
It also shows which operator each fare is with, so you can choose who to travel with where there’s a choice of operator, as there often is with longer-distance journeys. Some operators provide added travel benefits such as free WiFi, power sockets and at-seat catering.
Groupsave is available on many routes and provides great savings for three or four people travelling together.
Groupsave will be available through MyTrainTicket shortly.
There are plenty of special offers available throughout the National Rail network, including:
Kids Go Free on many routes in Scotland through Scotrail, as well as many other operators throughout the UK
Family Travelcards from many stations in East Anglia to London – where children pay a flat fare of typically just £2 for travel from the station to London, and all day around London (so long as they are accompanied by an adult). Absolutely great value for family days out in London!
Weekender tickets on National Express East Coast – offering discounted travel for journeys that start on either a Friday or Saturday and return within four days
Being flexible about when you can travel can often result in really great savings – and often for travelling just a short time later.
You’ll find that Off-Peak tickets are much cheaper than fully flexible Anytime tickets, and they’re usually valid on trains after around 0900 (although this will vary significantly by route. Fortunately, MyTrainTicket does all the hard work for you, by finding out which tickets are valid at which times).
Super Off-Peak tickets offer even better value, though they’re not usually available until a little later in the day.
London to Edinburgh – 11 weeks in advance – £19.10 for a Standard Class Advance Single ticket (Adult) – saving £106.60 (that’s 86%)*
London to Aberdeen – 11 weeks in advance – £24.00 for a Standard Class Advance Single ticket (Adult) – saving £122.00 (that’s 84%)*
Leeds to Bristol – 11 weeks in advance – £23.00 for a Standard Class Advance Single ticket (Adult) – saving £131.00 (that’s 86%)*
* Savings are based on the cheapest available Advance fare compared with buying a ticket at the station for the same train on the day of travel. Advance tickets have limited availability and are not available on all journeys. Book early to avoid disappointment. Price based on cheapest available one way Standard Class Advance ticket, excluding £1.50 booking fee per transaction. Based on payment with a debit card and ticket collection from a self-service ticket machine at the station (free of charge).