Most train tickets are released for sale around 3 months before the date of travel and they are significantly cheaper when they first go on sale. If you know exactly when you’re travelling it is a great idea to put a reminder in your phone or diary 3 months in advance or sign up to Trainline’s advance ticket alert emails and they’ll let you know when the the journey you require is ready for sale. Don’t forget advance tickets for most train lines are available until the day before. They may not be the cheapest they were ever on sale for however they will be significantly very cheaper than booking on the day of travel.
Single + Single = good deal
It doesn’t make sense but sometimes two single tickets work out cheaper than a return. Always make sure you investigate both options. Recently a return from Stockport to Preston would have cost me around 25% more than buying a single from Stockport to Preston and another Preston to Stockport. I don’t think I’ve bought a return ticket for travel from Manchester to London in years because buying singles saves me quite literally hundreds of pounds.
Check and check again
As with everything I part cash for I always check to see if I’m getting the best deal, so I crank open the laptop and search, search, search. There are lots of different options out there for buying and searching out train fare deals and they seem to each turn up different savings, so it is well worth checking at least a couple. For instance for ease of use I really like to use the Trainline website but I rarely, if ever book through them as they charge a booking fee. I always check Take The Train which is great at pointing out deals you could easily miss but I nearly always tend to book through the company I’ll be travelling with. They tend to offer regular discounts and if you sign up to their newsletters they tend to let you know when they have a ticket sale.
Spend your Points
Do you have Tesco Clubcard? Our favourite way to spend our Clubcard points is by booking our tickets through Red Spotted Hanky using our Clubcard vouchers.
First Class Rocks
Get this, I picked up a first class weekend ticket from Manchester to London for 65p less than the standard class seats on the same train. 65p less. I got a free breakfast and free wifi too, all for paying less than standard class passengers. This is often the case on weekend inter-city journeys so make sure you check both classes. Oh and an emailed pinged into my inbox earlier letting me know Virgin Trains currently have a 1st class train fare sale which ends today, so get in there quick if you fancy a bargain!
If you’re entitled to one make sure you get a rail card (but only if you use the train enough to make it worth while!) as they knock 1/3 off the price of your ticket. There a 4 railcards which cost £30 and give you 1/3 off fares and another called Disabled Persons Railcard which costs £20 and also gives 1/3 off fares. You can find more info about each of the cards here.
Make like a banana (and split!)
Instead of buying a ticket for your whole journey, break it down into smaller parts and don’t worry you don’t have to get off the train! So, for example off the top of my head, instead of buying a train ticket from London to Liverpool check out if it is cheaper to get a ticket to Crewe and another from Crewe to Liverpool. You don’t need to budge from your seat, it’s the same train and as long as it calls at the ‘splitty station’ you won’t have a problem. Check out Split Your Ticket to have your mind blown away by the savings you could make.