We travel on the trains quite alot and all the time we are asked how we manage to use the train all the time. So here are a few tips on getting the cheapest price on your train tickets. After all do we really want to give the train companies too much money?
Book in advance - this is always a cheaper way of buying a ticket. If you buy a ticket in advance (upto 12 weeks in advance until 6pm the night before) You can often get a train ticket for 70% off. This is mainly how I travel. The only problem with this is that you have to travel on a set train, and if you miss it then you will lose your money already spent.
Split ticketing - if your travelling on a long journey, you can split the journey Quite often if I am travelling to chippenham, I will buy a ticket to Swindon and then a further ticket to chippenham, this works out cheaper than buying a ticket for the whole journey. As long as you have tickets to cover the whole journey, you wont have to change train. If your travelling to Scotland, look at splitting the journey and book a ticket to somewhere like York, and then from York to your destination in Scotland.
Buy a ticket to a further destination -This works if your travelling from the south east into London on the high speed. If you book early enough you can buy a train ticket to somewhere like Birmingham, enabling you to use the Highspeed train in Kent and it will be half the price of booking a high speed ticket between the Kent coast and London St Pancras. This is perfect for travelling at stupid oclock in the morning and a train ticket to london can cost me about £60, I can get a single ticket to Birmingham and back for about £17 each
Group save - If there are more than 2 of you travelling and your staying together, then it will work out cheaper for you to buy a group save ticket. Quite often if I am travelling with girlfriends on a day out, we will buy a Groupsave ticket and if there are 3 of you travelling then you pay for the price of 2 people travelling, but if there are 4 of you travelling you will still pay for only 2 people and will save a little bit more.
Get a railcard - There are many train railcards out there, I personally have a family railcard, I dont have a child who is 5 yet, but I still use it as it works out cheaper for me to travel on the train as I get a good discount. Some railcards like a network card, do have a minimum spend of £15, so are better for a long distance travel. If you use a railcard with an advance booking you will save loads of money.
First class upgrade - Most train operators will offer a First Class upgrade for about £5, this is worth taking up because you get complimentary cookies and drinks (as much as you like), so it works out cheaper than buying food on the train. This is really only available on longer train journeys, but we have done it on the train to Swindon. You sometimes also get WiFi in first class. This is also only available at weekends and often bank holidays.
There are plenty of ways to cut down the cost of travelling and with prices rising again in the New year, its good to look for cost cutting ideas