What can I do to avoid paying more for my train ticket?
Anyone who books single or return tickets now for travel next year will pay the revised rates, though season tickets don’t go up until the beginning of January.
We’ve a full round-up of all the tips and tricks to save money in Cheap Train Tickets, but in brief…
- Buy in advance. Most firms put tickets on sale about 12 weeks ahead. So the earlier you book, the more chance you have of getting a cheap advance tickets, plus you can get a free alert when they go on sale.
- Spend over £90/year? Consider a railcard. Those aged 16-25, the over-60s, those with disabilities and adults who travel with kids may all qualify. Most railcards cost £30 a year (£20 for disabled persons) and get the holder a third off many fares. Plus a 26-30 Railcard will be available nationwide from 2 January.
- Split your ticket. Imagine you’re travelling from London to Sheffield. If the train stops at Derby, check whether it’s cheaper to buy a ticket from London to Derby and a second ticket from Derby to Sheffield. It’s perfectly legal as long as the train stops at the intermediate station. Use a free split ticketing tool to find out if you can get a cheaper walk-on single fare by breaking down your journey.
- Singles can beat returns. If you’re booking a return journey, check if two singles are cheaper. It may not always be the case, but it’s worth a try.
- Look for hidden promos. Lots of train companies have hidden promotions buried on their websites – which you won’t find if you’re going through a ticket booking website. For a full list of hidden promos, see our Cheap Train Tickets page.
Season ticket holders could renew early to save
If you’re a season ticket holder, check if you can still pay 2017 fares if you buy before 2 January – only a small proportion of season tickets will be up for renewal during this period, but for some it could even be worth renewing a few days early.
If renewing a season ticket in the next few weeks isn’t an option for you, there are other options you could try. See our Cheaper Train Season Tickets guide for more info.