With motoring costs soaring, more and more people are turning to public transport to get around. These top tips for travelling by rail will get you where you need to go and cost you less.
If you are a regular train user and are eligible, a rail card can save you a small fortune. The Friends and Family railcard saves you a third of the price of adult tickets and sixty percent on children’s fares. Up to four children (children for the purpose of train travel are classed as being between five and fifteen years old) and four adults can travel on one card.
As a Friends and Family railcard holder you can travel on any day including bank holidays and as long as one child is travelling the discounts will apply. Additional benefits to having this railcard include partner offers such as money off attractions.
This railcard costs just £28 for a year (or £65 for three years) and will make travelling by rail a lot easier on your pocket.
For more information on the Friends and Family railcard and other cards and discounts available visit Railcard.co.uk.
Book tickets in advance
Tickets bought in advance are considerably cheaper that those bought on the day of travel.
According to National Rail Enquiries it would cost £262.50 for two adults and two children to travel from York to London (Standard Class) in November 2011. Booking the same journey a month in advance would cost £132.50. The saving here is clear.
It is worth mentioning that this journey booked in advance, with a Friends and Family Railcard would cost just £74.80.
Avoid booking charges
Some train lines and booking agents charge an admin fee and well as an additional fee for the use of a credit or debit card. As with any purchase, shop around to see where you can get the best price and lowest – or better still – no fees.
Different rail networks and ticket providers have different policies when it comes to charging booking and admin fees. By and large, the best way to ensure you aren’t paying through the nose for these extras is to shop around and check the FAQ of the sites that give you the best ticket price.
You can reduce the costs by picking your tickets up at the station you are departing from where this function exists, saving on any postage fees you may be charged for having your tickets sent to you in advance. Some sites are clear that there are no booking fees but some charge approximately fifty pence for a debit card transaction and two pounds and fifty pence for a credit card. Bear this is mind when choosing where to buy from to make sure you really are getting the right price.
Get cash-back on your train tickets
Some sites offer discounts or even cash-back when you purchase rail tickets through them. If you can get your best deal through one of the companies who offer this cash-back you will not only save money but make some.
One example of how to get cashback is to visit Quidco. By searching for “Train” in their search bar I can see straight away that they are currently offering 1.5% back on all ticket sales over £25 with TheTrainLine.com. If I visit TopCashback.co.uk and do a similar search I can see that Trans-Pennine Express are currently offering cashback from 1-4.6% dependant on what tickets you order. By taking a couple of minutes to search sites such as this you can make some good savings.
If you haven’t used a cashback site before, have a read of their FAQ sections for a full explanation of how it works and to read any terms and conditions.
Take your own food
The food and drinks offered on trains is much more expensive than almost identical snacks and meals in a supermarket. Instead of paying over the odds when travelling and falling into the trap of picking up a few extras at a railway station shop, remember to take your food and drinks with you!
Make sandwiches and take food and drink with you that can be carried in a plastic bag or backpacks rather that in bulky lunchboxes. That way any rubbish can be discarded and no-one is left carrying empty sandwich boxes and flasks.