Train travel is one of the best ways of exploring the United Kingdom. From touring vibrant cities such as London to idyllic islands such as The Shetland and Mersea Islands and historic towns such as Oxford, the UK has so much to offer its local and international tourists. However, most travellers quickly dismiss the idea of exploring the UK by train as they think it is too complicated and expensive. Sure, the United Kingdom is known for its pricey train fairs compared to the other parts of Europe. Fortunately, we have gathered some valuable tips to help you get cheap tickets and save more on your next trip.
Consider Traveling At Off-Peak Times
Generally, train ticket prices in the UK will hike during the weekends and rush hours. You might therefore want to travel off-peak if you want to save more on train tickets. On-peak times are usually before 9:00 am and just past 4:00 am, while the off-peak times are between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm and after 7:00 pm, depending on your exact route. Typically, ticket prices during on-peak times are significantly higher than at other times. Even worse, the trains are usually crowded at these times, and you might have to stand throughout the journey. Even without the official busy times at the station, remember that an increased demand translates to higher ticket prices and general seat shortage.
Book In Advance
Of the various ticket types available, advance tickets are generally the cheapest and go on sale up to 12 weeks before the travel date. These tickets are perfect for travellers who are comfortable travelling during fixed times. We recommend purchasing your tickets early as they are usually in demand and tend to sell out fast. If you are unable to buy in advance, you might be lucky to find advance fares from various train companies up to one hour before the exact departure time based on their availability. You might want to combine your advance tickets with the cost-saving rail cards to save more. Even better, you can rely on Omio to notify you when tickets from various train companies go on sale and the furthest dates when you can make your purchase to tour your idyllic island.
Save Money Through Group Booking
If you are exploring the United Kingdom with friends or family, you can save more on your journey through Groupsave tickets. Generally, a group of three to nine adults can land a great deal and save up to 1/3 off various routes without paying an extra fee, like when using a rail card. However, keep in mind that you can only use your Groupsave tickets during off-peak, and not every train operator provides them. Usually, these tickets cover Southern England. Additionally, all tickets must be purchased in one booking, and all group members must be on the same train.
Invest In A Railcard
If you regularly travel across the UK by train or take several train journeys every year, having and using a rail card can help you save more, usually 1/3 off most train fares. Sometimes, travellers can get the railcards free of charge, say after opening a bank account. Alternatively, you can purchase the cards at €20 yearly or € 70for three years. Railcards come in various types, so you will, without a doubt, be eligible for at least one type. Some of the railcards provided by most train providers in the UK include:
- 16-25 Railcards: For travellers between 16 and 25 years and full-time students above 26 years.
- 26-30 Railcards: Popularly known as the “Millenial railcards”, they are available for travellers aged 26 to 30.
- Two Together Railcards: These are reserved for two named traveller adults who frequently travel together.
- Senior Railcard: These railcards are available for travellers over 6o years.
- Disabled Persons Railcards: They are reserved for disabled travellers plus one accompanying adult.
- Network Railcards: Designated for travellers touring London and the Southeast.
- Family And Friends Railcards: They are for four children and four adults.
Be Flexible On Your Travel Times
Sometimes, you do not have to stick to a specific travel schedule. In this case, you can compare the different ticket prices across various times and dates. You can then plan your journey when the tickets are the cheapest. We recommend travelling during the quieter, less busy times and outside the holiday seasons.
From splitting your journey, considering first-class tickets and demanding refunds, when necessary, there are numerous ways of saving on your train travel in the UK. Even better, numerous online booking websites such as Omio help you find cheap fares and make the booking process pure bliss.