Above-inflation hikes in UK train fares may just be coming to an end, but ticket prices are already making a dent in wallets up and down the country. So here are some ideas for making your pennies go further on train journeys with our tips for cheap train travel.
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Tips for cheap train travel at home
- Split-ticketing: Splitting your journey each way and buying two tickets instead of one could save you a considerable amount of cash. This is in line with train companies’ terms and conditions, and you can usually stay on the same train and even in the same seat. Here’s an example by the Money Saving Expert: if you’re travelling from London to Manchester, buying a ticket from London to Stoke-On-Trent and another from Stoke-On-Trent to Manchester is likely to cost less than the actual London–Manchester fare. Both Money Saving Expert and Split Ticketing have great tools to help you find cheap train travel.
- Scout out special offers: National Rail publishes a list of available concessions. Keep an eye on those as they’re updated regularly.
- Anyone for £1 fares? Yep, we thought you might be. Check out Megabus’s cheap train travel on regular services by established rail companies. Remember to select the ‘Train’ option – unless you’d rather go by bus, of course.
- Tesco customer? Double up on Clubcard points: Exchange your cash vouchers on the Red Spotted Hanky website and make them work twice as hard for you as they do in the shop.
- Get a railcard: No, these are not just for students and the over-60s. Get a third off rail journeys in the south-east of England and further afield with a Network Railcard, or use one of a range of other railcards for cheap train travel.
And finally a quick nod to overnight sleeper buses. We know – it’s a bit of a departure from trains, but a great alternative for longer journeys, and easier on the wallet. Check out Megabus Gold and their comfortable, inexpensive beds. WiFi, power sockets and refreshments are included. Daytime services also available.
Cheap train travel abroad
Try Deutsche Bahn’s English-language site for quick access to timetables of services across the continent and often cheap train fares. And check out Seat 61’s handy guide to booking cheap train tickets online, with answers to frequently asked questions about European rail travel.
And there’s now a bus service offered by Flixbus with comfortable new buses and incredibly cheap fares, e.g. London to Paris from only £14.50, or London to Amsterdam from £19.00. We’ve tried the service and were very happy.
We hope you found our little guide to cheap train travel useful – bon voyage!