The Best Train Travel Hacks Revealed
A report by the Trade Union Congress in 2018 discovered that Brits are spending almost five times more on train travel than their European counterparts.
The study, which analysed the average monthly season ticket cost for commuters travelling into major European cities, found that Chelmsford to London would set you back £381 a month. This would take up around 13 per cent of the average person’s earnings. A similar journey in France would cost £66, (two per cent of earnings), while a German alternative would set you back £118 (four per cent of earnings).
With this in mind, ‘every little’ really does help! Cutting the costs of your travel can have a major impact on your day-to-day life. Therefore, we’ve decided to collate a variety of ways in which you can drive down the cost of your journeys.
Book in advance
It should come as no surprise that being organised and booking your trains early will prevent a major dent in your bank balance. However, did you know that pre-booked trains can be 61 per cent cheaper?
A report by digital rail and coach platform, Trainline, suggests that regardless of the destination, booking online will help reduce costs, with the machine being considerably more expensive. Also, if you book online, you don’t have to queue, gliding through with your e-ticket.
We are fairly confident that everyone out there will be able to find a rail card that suits their particular needs. For students, the 16-25 railcard is the prime example of a money-saver, free with banking brands such as Santander, and saving up to 1/3 on every journey.
For those not eligible for a complimentary rail card, a standard issue alternative is priced at £30, offering the same benefits.
If you are embarking on one journey that costs £100, using your rail card is going to save you approximately £33 — so you’ve already made your money back after one journey.
No, unfortunately we aren’t talking about Back to the Future and Marty McFly. Rather, we’re talking about the time of day in which you decide to commute.
Travel between 7am and 10am in the morning and 4pm and 8pm in the evening and you are likely to brunt the effect of a heftier ticket price.
Travelling off-peak not only reduces the cost of your journey, it also means you aren’t wrestling for seats when you alight the train.
Tech savvy travellers across the country in recent years have been cutting their overall outgoings thanks to the concept of split-ticketing.
If you are travelling on a train from Edinburgh to London, on many occasions it actually works out cheaper to buy a ticket from Edinburgh to Newcastle, or York, and from there, a ticket, on the same train, on to London.
How does it work we hear you ask? Because of pricing regulations certain areas across the UK have a minimum ticket fare meaning you’ll be paying a set price regardless of the length of your journey.
Although Plymouth to Penzance is a 100-mile journey each way, an off-peak return ticket will only cost £11.10. Alternatively, a similar ticket from London to Reading will set you back £20.70 for a journey one-third of the distance.
Split-ticketing will help you break up pricing regulation zones or alternatively rush hour and on–peak pricing structures.
From nectar points, cash back rewards if you pay with your credit card, and discounted entry to some of the UK’s biggest tourist attractions, look out for a wide range of things you can grab for free with your ticket — helping you save further, even once you’ve disembarked.
Don’t forget, most trains now offer free WiFi with enhanced network rail cyber security, so don’t use up that all important data allowance!
The next time your travelling, whether it be for work or for pleasure, make sure to employ these simple steps to cut the cost of your journey!