Top 11 Savings Tips for Train Travelers This Year (2023)

Top 11 Savings Tips for Train Travelers This Year (1)

With the cost of train tickets skyrocketing, financial experts, industry insiders and savvy rail travelers share their best tricks for getting back on track while saving valuable money.

On 5 March, the cost of train tickets in England and Wales increased by an average of 5.9% - the most significant price increase in over a decade. As fares skyrocket elsewhere in Europe and the cost-of-living crisis squeezes pennies both at home and on the go, we've got several cash-saving masters for their niftiest tricks when it comes to spending less as a rail traveler in 2023 .

1. Timing is everything

It pays to be prepared as a train traveler, as pre-sale tickets charge much lower fees than pre-travel tickets. According to Euronews, the UK is the most expensive country in Europe when it comes to buying single tickets on the day of travel. But Nick Drewe, a trend expert atWethrift, says pre-sale tickets are often the cheapest, are typically released around 12 weeks before the train's departure date, and save customers up to 80% (according toeasy rail) if you book in advance.train line, along with booking engines for service providers such as CrossCountry and Avanti West Coast, allow you to set up notifications to let you know in advance of ticket availability.

Avoid traveling during morning and evening peak hours to further reduce ticket costs. Off-peak fares and sometimes even off-peak fares are available from most train operators, offering discounted ticket prices for those traveling during quieter periods. A slower route may also be a cheaper option.

Top 11 Savings Tips for Train Travelers This Year (2)Keith Gentry/Shutterstock

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2. Consider ticket splitting

Finding split-fare tickets can bring big rewards. Split ticketing means you buy several separate tickets to cover different sections of your trip, rather than just buying one ticket for an entire trip. So, for example, if you are traveling from Bristol to Birmingham, you will buy separate tickets from Bristol to Cheltenham Spa and from Cheltenham Spa to Birmingham, rather than one ticket between the two stations. But don't worry, that doesn't mean you have to change trains.

Savings solution providerocean financerecommends using a site likeshare my rate, where rail travelers can save up to 90% on their tickets. The Trainline app also has asave divisionFeature that can help you find the cheapest split tickets. Alternatively, buying two single tickets instead of a round trip can often result in decent savings. Most booking platforms will flag the cheapest option if you use the trip planner.

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3. Invest in a season pass

If you often travel by train for business or pleasure, season tickets can be around a third cheaper than day tickets. According to National Rail, a weekly pass is likely to save you money if you take the same trip three or more days a week, while a monthly savings option can help cut costs significantly for those traveling every day of the week. There's also the Flexi Season Pass, which gives you eight days of unlimited travel between two defined seasons within a 28-day period.

While season tickets are associated with considerable acquisition costs, they are worth it in the long run for frequent railroaders. Check the season ticket calculatortrain lineornational railwayto assess how much you can save on your regular route with a weekly, monthly or annual pass.

Top 11 Savings Tips for Train Travelers This Year (3)Natee Meepian/Shutterstock

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4. Get a train ticket

There isvarious types of train ticketsavailable in the UK, it costs £30 ($37) for a year, with guaranteed savings of up to a third at any time and off-peak fares, so you can recoup your spending in just a few trips. The Rail 16-25 card is one of the most popular, and young people can save an extra £20 ($25) on the price of three separate annual cards by buying a three-year card for £70 ($86). Those who buy senior train tickets, veteran train tickets or family and friends train tickets can also benefit from this three-year contract.

From the so-called "Millennial Railcard" for 26- to 30-year-olds to the Two Together Railcard, which you can buy with someone you travel with regularly, there are plenty of ways to save. And if you're traveling around London, Laura Turner fromthrifty londonhas a great tip for you: add your Bahncard to youraustereCard account (Transport for London prepaid contactless travel card) to save a third on off-peak tube journeys.

It's also worth researching what other discounts you could take advantage of as a train traveller. Those applying for unemployment benefits or Universal Credit, for example, may be eligible for a JobCentre Plus Travel Discount Card, which offers 50% off train tickets.

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Top 11 Savings Tips for Train Travelers This Year (4)4 p.m. Production/Shutterstock

5. Be aware of where and how to buy tickets

There are all kinds of hidden costs when booking train travel unless you know how to shop smarter. Booking direct with individual train operators can help you avoid these pesky booking fees – and there are often other incentives too. WithVirgin Trains-Ticketing, for example, you can buy e-tickets with no booking fees while earning Virgin Red Rewards points, which can be redeemed for everything from free Greggs sausage rolls to scented candles and wine. Southeastern Railway, LNER (London North Eastern Railway) and Avanti West Coast also all have their own rewards programs, which, even if they don't include savings on the tickets themselves, can result in discounts on hotels, food and your phone bill.

But there are also dedicated apps to find the best train routes at the best prices, such as:sitting toad. With no booking fees, Seatfrog's aim is to give all passengers the opportunity to get "the best trip for their money" by bidding on empty first class seats and getting cheap upgrades, as well as being able to buy tickets and change their trains . Since its launch in 2018, Seatfrog claims to have saved Britons over £43m ($53m) on rail travel.

It is always worth keeping an eye on the offers and news that are emerging at all times. Avanti West Coast is currently testing a 'Superdo' Scheme allowing passengers to buy tickets from Manchester to London for £20 ($25) as long as you have travel flexibility when you travel. The initiative matches customers with available seats on essential services when they select morning, afternoon or evening departures on a travel day of their choice. You need to book one to three weeks in advance of your desired travel date, and the exact departure time is only given the day before, so it's helpful if you can plan your trip down to the last minute.

Top 11 Savings Tips for Train Travelers This Year (5)Robi Jaffrey/Shutterstock

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6. Make the most of cashback programs

personal finance bloggerSimiSharesswears by this little-known tip: cashback programs give you a small amount of cash back with every purchase, and popular sites likeTopCashbackEquidcocan help rail travelers save a few dollars when booking through Trainline.


Halifax Bank also offers account holders 5% cashback when booking with LNER, while cashback credit cards are another possible option;Sparexperterecommends setting up a monthly direct debit to pay off the card in full and avoid paying interest, which can wipe out your repayment savings.

7. Take the night train

For true fans of the railroad, traveling on the night train is something of a rite of passage. And while there aren't many places to visit in the UK (only the Night Riviera from London to Penzance and London to Inverness on the Caledonian Sleeper), they can help you save money on accommodation and maximize exploration time wherever you go. . Whether on the Nightjet from Germany to Croatia, the Reunification Express in Vietnam or the Ghan at the Red Center in Australia, night train travel is an epic experience in itself.

As Anita Naik, a savings expert, points out that bed services tend to be more expensive than traveling during the day, but are unique in their benefits, allowing you to deduct an overnight stay from your total travel expense and get from A to B while resting.

Top 11 Savings Tips for Train Travelers This Year (6)evantravels/Shutterstock

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8. Support budget rail operators

Lumo, dubbed the easyJet of railroads, could spark a new movement towards budget-friendly rail travel. It operates an all-electric service from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh that rivals that of the LNER, but at a fraction of the cost. According to the online savings platformuk raisins, LumoFixed fares start at £19.90 (US$24) and cut LNER Standard Class tickets by more than a third to £31.80 (US$39). The problem is that Lumo currently doesn't stop at all stations on the line and only offers four trips a day (compared to the LNER's half-hour service), but is expected to increase to 10 during the year, according to the demand.

9. Bring your friends and spend less

The next weekend with your friends just got cheaper. Withsave group, Groups of three to nine adults traveling and booking together can save up to a third on off-peak train fares. Recommended by Lucinda O'Brien, Savings, this simple solution saves money and freshness; No problem for everyone in the group to organize their own tickets - it's all done with a few clicks. It is particularly useful for those who have not yet taken advantage of the Bahncard discounts, as these cannot be combined with Group Save.

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Top 11 Savings Tips for Train Travelers This Year (7)Lucia Romero/Shutterstock

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10. Traveling in Europe?

Train travel in mainland Europe is much cheaper than in the UK and is becoming increasingly popular.Interrail/EurailThe Pass facilitates train travel in 33 different countries and potentially saves thousands of passengers compared to purchasing individual point-to-point tickets.

Travel writer and veteran rail traveler Julia Hammond has another top tip to help you navigate Europe by train:savings railTickets. These are pre-sale rates that are available for a limited time and are offered by ÖBB via its app. For a trip from Vienna to Budapest later that year, Julia was able to get a ticket for less than €15 (£13/$16), compared to the standard price of €50.70 (£45/$55).

As of May 1, Germany will introduce theGermany ticketfor €49 (£43/$52), giving passengers a month's travel on the country's regional train and bus network. Along with France, Germany also issued thousands of free train tickets for those under 27. Free multi-trip travel on suburban and medium-haul routes in SpainRenfeTrains will be offered until the end of the year, whether resident or tourist.

In a recently announced initiative, the EU will also distribute 35,000 free rail passes in 2023 to 18-year-olds from across the European Union and other countries participating in the Erasmus study abroad programme. You have until March 29 at 12:00 CEST to apply with all the detailsHere.

Top 11 Savings Tips for Train Travelers This Year (8)Geza Kurka_Hungria/Shutterstock

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11. Traveling with luggage?

Giacomo Piva is a travel industry analyst and co-founder ofradical storage, which says that storing your luggage on a Radical Storage feature can cost as little as £5 ($6) a day per bag. This greatly reduces the exorbitant fees charged by many train station left luggage facilities, which can range from around £15 to £25 ($18 to $31) per bag. Radical Storage also offers a free audio guide for your travel destination, covering everything from Buenos Aires and Tokyo to Yerevan and Nairobi. For rail travelers across Europepack your bagsis another low-cost alternative that charges by closet size and has outposts in Paris, Barcelona, ​​Milan, and more.

Top 11 Savings Tips for Train Travelers This Year (9)Maurizio Milanesio/Shutterstock

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