Tips for Saving Money on Train Journeys

The cost of living in the UK has risen considerably in the last few months, as energy prices have shot up alongside growing costs attributed to weekly supermarket shops. In amongst the significant – and unavoidable – increases in costs to the average family, transport costs have quietly continued to rise. The inflation of fuel prices has affected public transport just as much as motorists, causing transport networks to offset some of the costs onto the commuter in the form of raised fares.

Raised fares have been a point of particular contention with regard to rail travel. Thankfully, though, there are ways in which rail users can minimise the impact of increased fares on their travel. With the adoption of a few cost-saving measures, commuters and casual users alike can shave a significant amount off the cost of travel. Here are three of the chief ways in which you can do just that.

Travel Off-Peak

Perhaps the most effective way to save money on rail travel in both the short and long term is to travel off-peak. Peak times are dictated by commuter patterns, with times of high demand resulting in premium-priced tickets – such as the morning and evening ‘rush hours’ as workers travel to and from their place of work.

By consulting off-peak train times and planning your travel around the busiest parts of the day, you can cut costs by exclusively buying cheaper off-peak train tickets. Some lines even support ‘super off-peak’ tickets, allowing you to save even more by travelling during unsociable hours.

Book Tickets in Advance

If travelling during peak rail times is unfortunately unavoidable for you, another way you can bring down costs is by buying rail tickets well in advance of your journey. This is especially useful for longer, cross-country journeys which can represent a significant outlay in cost. The cost of a ticket gets significantly inflated on the day before, or the day of travel, where buying in advance can help you get the ticket before it’s in high demand.

Of course, there is a limit to just how early you can buy a ticket. Typically, train tickets go on sale around three months before the service runs – though buying season tickets can guarantee you travel for up to a year from the date of issue.

Invest in a Railcard

Lastly, for regular rail travellers a railcard is nothing short of a godsend. There are numerous kinds of railcard to suit different situations; the 16-25 and 26-30 railcards are particularly popular, enabling travel at a reduced price for those within that age range. There are also railcards for families, couples, OAPs and those with disabilities, each of which represent a relatively significant subsidy in the cost of a rail ticket and make travel more accessible.

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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