With the summer holidays approaching fast, many people will be travelling to visit friends or family using public transport.
But as we all know, the idea is always good in theory until it comes to pricing. To combat extortionate travel prices, here are some tips and tricks for getting around the country for less.
16 to 25? Use a railcard!
A young person’s railcard is a great way to save money. A 1-year card costs £30 (which is available at discount prices if you shop around!) and gives you 1/3 off rail fares all across Great Britain. On average, people save nearly £200 when they use it regularly! Not only does it save on travel, in entitles you to lots of benefits and offers (all listed on their website). Railcards can be issued as plastic cards or accessed via the railcard app, making them super easy to use. Once you get yours, all you have to do is choose the 16-25 railcard option when paying for tickets!
Taking the train and bus often? Consider a season ticket.
Most train and major bus operators now offer month-long season tickets, which are ideal for the summer holidays. To help explain season ticket savings, consider this: a month-long season ticket from one of my local stations to a family member’s house costs me £215.10. If you break it all down and do the maths, the single journey price for each trip using my season ticket, if I used it every day of the month, would work out at around £7.70, which is a lot cheaper than the alternative: paying £20 every day for return tickets (around £600 for an average month!). The only downside to season tickets is that if you don’t use them most days, they become worthless, so think how often you’ll go to your chosen destination before buying. To find out much season tickets can cost, click here.
Going with friends? Add Groupsave.
Some train operators now offer a discount called Groupsave, which is a 1/3 discount off travelling for groups of 3 or more adults. This can get you enormous discounts on some routes and small discounts on others. To find out more, click here.
Exploring a new or unfamiliar train line? Use a rover ticket.
Rover tickets allow unlimited one-day travel on specific lines. They can be excellent value if you plan on exploring the different stops along a certain line. For example, The Bittern line, which links Norwich to North Norfolk, has a rover ticket you can use for £11, giving you unlimited travel between all the stops for that day. To see if your line has one, go to your train operator’s website and have a browse.
No discount available? Get your timings right.
Finally, the easiest method of saving money lies in timing. For example, rush hour is listed as ‘peak’ time, which is when trains and buses are the most expensive because more people are using them, driving up demand for tickets. However, ‘off-peak’ or ‘super off-peak’ are used to describe when the trains and buses are a lot cheaper to go on; being away from peak times means fewer people will be travelling, lowering the overall cost. Timing is my favourite way to save; despite all of the above discounts, this can help you to consistently keep costs down. If you don’t care when you’re going, or even when you’ll arrive, just wait until after ‘peak’ time; it can save you a lot of hassle, stress and money. Click here to see a guide on the different timings.